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   HomeArticles / Computers And Homework / Writing Your Book Report (5-8)

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Writing Your Book Report
by Hilda and Henrietta

Getting Started

Finished reading? It's time to look at your notes. They should give you some great ideas for your report. After all, you've already got lots of information waiting for you in your pre-outline.

The BIG Question

Here is the BIG question, Do you need to do this report in paragraphs (like a regular report) or can you try something different? You'll need to follow whatever format your teacher wants, but teachers often let you do reports in unique ways. You might do your report as a computer presentation, a radio advertisement, the front page of a newspaper, or even a movie. - But get your teacher's permission before you begin. After all, if your teacher expects a Standard Book Report, she won't be too happy if you hand in a videotape or a CD.

Sample Book Report Formats

The Standard Book Report: This is usually the type of book report most teachers expect. It's like an essay with the following sections: (1) Introduction (usually one paragraph), (2) Characters and Important Parts in the Story (three to five paragraphs), (3) The Conclusion (one or two paragraphs - you'll have to decide whether you're going to reveal the ending or not), and (4) Your Opinion of the Story (generally one paragraph.) Make sure you follow your teacher's guidelines about length and content.

To get you started, here's an idea for an opener for a Standard Book Report about Johnny Tremain.

Even if you don't like to read historical fiction, you'll enjoy Johnny Tremain. It's a story that tells about the lives of several young people during the time of the American Revolution. The book follows Johnny from when he is fourteen and has a promising future ahead of him to when he is sixteen and his dreams have been crushed.

You get the idea. Now look at your pre-outline and keep writing. Don't forget that you can cut and paste your sentences from your pre-outline directly into your report.

Here are some other ideas for how to present your report:

Front Page of a Newspaper:. Use a word processing program or a desktop publishing program to create a newspaper about your book. The articles and photos on the page will tell your readers everything they need to know. Make sure to include your notes from your pre-outline so that you won't forget any important parts. You can find clip art to insert on the page or create your own drawings. - Or you might take some pictures with a digital camera for your newspaper.

A Computer Movie or Video: Lights! Camera! Action! Think about making your book report into a movie. No, you won't recreate the entire book like a Hollywood producer; you'll tackle the main ideas from your pre-outline. This might include an introduction to the book by you, followed by some action scenes from the story by you and your friends. These scenes should introduce your audience to the main parts of the story and perhaps the conclusion. In between the scenes, you'll probably want to provide some narration. For the ending you'll give your evaluation of the book. Of course, you might come up with other ideas that tell about the book just as nicely.

A Computer Presentation: Use software such as PowerPoint, AppleWorks or HyperStudioto create interactive presentations that tell about the important parts of your book. Most presentation software includes templates (or styles) you can use. Just select a template and then add pictures, drawings, and writing, even digital movies - whatever you want- to the pages or slides in the presentation. - Or you might want to create your own page design.

For an example of what a book report computer presentation looks like, go to the Children's Software Press (http://www.childsoftpress.com) and look at the book report style section.

An eStory: To publish an eStory, you'll need to be able to add your ideas and pictures or movies to your school or home web site. Programs like AppleWorks and FrontPage make it easy to publish your work on a web site. Be sure to get your teacher's or your parent's permission to do this. When your work is done, edit it carefully and get your teacher's or parent's approval before putting it online. Once it's on the Internet, everyone on the web - millions of people - can see your work.

Other Ideas to Consider

  • A Comic Strip
  • A short play or musical based on the book. (Wouldn't you and your friends have a super time staging your own play?)
  • A scrapbook or journal kept by one of the characters.
  • A mini-book that you create on the computer or by hand.
  • Letters from book characters (What would they say to you or to your class or teacher?)
  • A board game featuring the information in the book. (Think of how many parts of the game you can make on the computer.)
  • An imaginary interview with the author or with one of the characters (might be in essay form, in a computer presentation or a movie style - or even an audiotape.)
  • Travel or real estate brochure on the setting of the book. (Be sure to include sites to see and important people to meet or highlights of the setting)
  • A time traveler's review of the book
  • A TV or radio commercial
  • A nightly news report (or one those Special Reports that interrupts regular shows)
  • A trunk (box) filled with memories of the book.
  • A quiz show.
  • A lesson featuring the book (You are the teacher, and you can create worksheets, handouts, and quizzes based on the book.)

What else can you come up with?

Completing the Report

No matter what type of format you chose, use your pre-outline to give you ideas. Then, if you're doing a Standard Book Report or any of the other styles that require typing, TYPE! If your style requires drawing or making slides, DRAW! Or MAKE SLIDES! Just get going! Don't put off your work until the night before the report is due.

Make Sure To:

  1. Include all the important details about your book - title, author, and other information your teacher asked for.
  2. Run your spelling checker if the report is on the computer.
  3. Read the report over carefully and correct any mistakes. HINT: Spelling Checkers don't catch all mistakes. Review your grammar and punctuation.
  4. Check to see if your report follows all your teacher's requirements. READ your teacher's instructions over. For example, if you are doing a Standard Book Report, your teacher might require that you use a certain font and size. Even if she doesn't, it's not wise to print your report in red ink, fancy fonts, and/or very large or small print. Most teachers like a traditional fonts such as Times, black ink, and size 12 print.
  5. See if your report makes sense and if others can understand it.
  6. Check for neatness and appearance. Adjust your margins and spacing so that your report is easy to read and for your teacher to grade.

Once you are finished, look your report over very carefully and then have someone else, like your parents or friends, look at it, too. They might find problems and mistakes that you didn't notice. Correct your mistakes and hand your report in on time.

Success! You're Finished!

Now you can sit back and be proud of your book report. You did your best. You followed all the steps, and you know what to do next time a report is assigned. In fact, you're probably thinking of another exciting way you can present your next book report. Maybe you'll ?.

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