High School Book Report: Template, Format, & Tips

This article will explain how to write a book report in the most effective way. You will learn the correct high school book report format and get some free writing tips. Besides, we have included a downloadable template to simplify the writing process.
  1. 📒 The Basics
  2. 🔰 Book Report Format
  3. 📑 Book Report Template
  4. ✍️ Writing Tips
  5. 📖 Book Report Examples
  6. ❓ FAQ
  7. 🔗 References

How can a teacher check if students have read the book? They ask to write a book report. The assignment is an extended summary of the book. However, high school book reports are usually more complicated. They require you to evaluate the piece of writing, reflect on it, or answer some questions.

The picture lists the three types of a book report.

📒 High School Book Report: The Key Features

  • A high school book report is a standard high school assignment. Unfortunately, it is not a real-world writing task because you will never write anything similar outside your school.
  • There are three types of writing, depending on the book genre: nonfiction, biography, and fiction book reports.
  • It is a combination of facts and your feelings about them.
  • It is NOT a research paper, as it deals with one book individually, not a specific genre or author’s legacy. Neither should you dig into the author’s personality or lifeline.
  • It is NOT a book review, as it does not compare the writing with other books. Moreover, you are not supposed to recommend it expressly to other people.
  • It is NOT a critical essay because its purpose is not to evaluate but to report the key features (although you may include some evaluation).

🔰 High School Book Report Format


If you write a high school book report on a work of fiction, choose one of the following summarizing strategies:

  1. In an action summary, list the most critical events in their sequence. This approach is the simplest. You can choose the events that you consider the most important.
  2. To write a story pyramid, use the central plotline elements as a plan: exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action. You will require some knowledge of these literary elements.

To accelerate the writing of this section, you can use our Summarizer Tool. It will condense any lengthy text into a summary in a couple of seconds.

Theme and Character Analysis

A theme of a fictional book is its central topic or message. To know if you understood the theme correctly, check if it fits into one or two words: love, freedom, betrayal, social stereotypes, etc. A book can have several themes, but one is usually central. Highlight it, also mentioning the secondary themes.

The picture lists structural components of a book report.

A character analysis focuses on the principal traits of the main characters. Get the clues from what they say and do to other protagonists.

Tone & Setting

The tone of a book is the author’s feelings about something. Is it sarcastic, depressive, or optimistic? Try not to mix it with the mood, which means the book’s atmosphere.

To differentiate, here is the rule.

The tone equals how the author feels about the events. The mood equals how the reader feels about the same.

Time and place setting are the easiest things to define if you were attentive while reading the book. When did the events happen (a year or historical period), and where did they occur? Note that sometimes the time and setting can be fictional, i.e., not existing in reality.

Author & Publication Date

Specify the author’s full name and the book’s first publication date here. You can add the first publisher’s name.


The best strategy in this section is to select the quotes supporting the central theme you specified above. They will explain and illustrate the author’s key message. If you need to add some indirect quotes to your text, you might want to use our paraphrase generator.

📑 High School Book Report Template

To illustrate the slightly tricky format described above, we have prepared a high school book report template in PDF format. Feel free to download it and use it as a reference.

✍️ Book Report Writing Tips

1. Sit down and read the book.It can be easily seen when you compile information from web sources for a high school book report. Take your time to make bookmarks and highlight some quotes. In such a way, the piece will be authentic and informative.
2. Take notes in the course of reading.It is critical, especially when the assignment requires evaluating the book. While reading, many thoughts will come to you, but you will forget them by the time you’ll sit to write the report.
3. Stick to your assignment.As mentioned in the Key Features section, a book report is not a critical essay or a research paper. Do what you are asked.
4. Make an outline.The best way is to use our high school book report template. You can download it above.
5. Interlay general statements with quotations.Intermix your ideas about the theme and characters with brief quotes if the assignment allows.
6. Don’t try to embrace everything.Most books offered at high school were written by prominent thinkers. They are so multifaceted that it is impossible to cover all the themes and events in a single book report. Choose the information that impressed you the most.

📖 High School Book Report Examples

Below you’ll find the links to a number of high school book report examples.

  1. “Comfort Women” by Nora Keller
  2. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. “Black Like Me”: book by John Griffin
  4. “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
  5. “Careless Lovers” by Edward Ravenscroft
  6. “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway
  7. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  8. “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright
  9. “The Making of a Quagmire” by David Halberstam
  10. “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens
  11. “The Tale of Kieu” by Nguyen Du
  12. Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”
  13. ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift
  14. “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles
  15. “A Rose for Emily” Short Story by William Faulkner
  16. The Play “Hamlet” by Shakespeare
  17. “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath
  18. “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver

We hope that with the help of this article, your book report will take much less time. If you have already written the text and would like to listen to how it sounds, use our Text-to-Speech tool. It is always easier to “hear” your mistakes being read by another person.

❓ High School Book Report: FAQ

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Report?

  1. Skip secondary details and irrelevant information.
  2. Write all the book’s ideas in your own words.
  3. Do not repeat yourself.
  4. Structure your report according to the chronological order or the order of importance.
  5. What would the author like you to remember after reading the book? It is exactly what you should include in the book report.

How to Write a Book Report on a Biography?

  1. Are you supposed to focus on the protagonist’s character traits or their life story? Choose either option, depending on the assignment.
  2. Divide the life of the protagonist into periods.
  3. Characterize each period and mention the critical events.
  4. Explain how the biography explains the actual person’s worldview and accurately depicts the past.

How to Write a Book Report Without Reading the Book?

  1. You’ll have to read the book’s beginning and end to get the central message.
  2. Flip through the pages in search of some quotes evidencing the idea.
  3. Keep your tone general, but include some specific details.
  4. Use a summarizing tool.
  5. Request academic assistance.

What are the 5 Parts of a Book Report?

Any book report should comprise:

  • summary;
  • theme and character analysis;
  • tone, time, and setting;
  • author’s full name and publication date;
  • best quotes.

Some assignments will require you to make a deeper analysis of the text, but this is a compulsory minimum.

🔗 References

  1. Book reports | Purdue Online Writing Lab
  2. How to write a book review and a book report · Help & how-to
  3. How to Write a Book Report: Lesson for Kids – Study.com
  4. Book Reviews – UNC Writing Center
  5. Foolproof Guide to Writing a Book Review
  6. What is a Book Review? – Definition & Examples – Study.com
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