Write Book Report
Many students will be required to write book report assignments in their college classes. Such assignments are comprised of summaries, analyses, and opinions of a book. Unlike the novel critiques students may have written in high school, however, college book reports will usually be on scholarly texts and will typically require an advanced level of critical analysis on the student's part. Learning to write book reports in such a manner requires students to develop critical reading and writing skills. To write book report assignments at a college level is therefore as much about reading as it is about writing.
Careful reading is necessary in order to write book reports well. Careful reading entails reading in an engaged manner so that the reader is actively digesting, assimilating, and challenging the information presented in the text. Most of the reading students do in college should be careful reading; unfortunately, most students do not know the difference between regular and careful reading. Regular reading is the type of reading done when reading for pleasure or when casually reading the newspaper. In this type of reading, the primary objective is to glean the main point of the text. Careful reading, on the other hand, goes beyond regular reading to determine not only the main point of the text, but the way those points are being made, the style of the writing being used, and the quality of the arguments and examples being presented. Careful reading requires the reader to pay close attention to every sentence and to underline, highlight, and make notes as she proceeds through the text. These marks in the text will be referenced later when the student is assembling his thoughts for the document.
There are three primary components of a novel review: an introduction, a summary, and an analysis. The introduction of the story review identifies the book's title, author, and genre. The genre is the type of writing the book is—memoir, historical text, self-help book, etc. It is also appropriate, but not always necessary, to write book report introductions in such a way as to provide background information on the book's topic. For instance, if the novel critique were on a certain scientific theory, it would help the reader if the writer provided some explanation of that theory in the introduction.
A summary of the book comes next. The summary should be comprehensive, but as concise as possible. Many learners write projects that are mostly summary, but this should be avoided. The point of a novel review is to give an analysis and opinion of the book, not to inform the reader on the book's every detail.
After the summary, the document should present analysis on the book and the reader's opinions of the quality of the book. To write book report analyses that are appropriate for college will require the reader to go back to the notes he or she wrote in the text of the book and use those excerpts to develop text-centered examples that analyze how the book presented its ideas and how successful it was in doing so. Often, a book report will end with the writer's general recommendations on whether or not others should read the book.
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