Write a By-chapter Book Report

How to Write a By-chapter Book Report

Nov 25, 2012
Writing a by-chapter book report is not an easy task by any means. Since a chapter-by-chapter book report takes a lot of time and effort, the writer of the report needs to have a lot of patience and perseverance to come up with an inspiring piece of work. Since a detailed summary of the chapters of the book should form the basis of the book report, it is imperative that you read the book to understand the author's intent, the main idea of the book, characters and other important aspects. To be able to write an effective by-chapter book report, you have to focus on a single chapter at a time.

Thorough Reading and Good Organization Skills Play a Crucial Role

Read the chapters one at a time thoroughly, and note down the important points, main events, characters, or any important quotes mentioned in the chapter. After having noted the important points, listing or arranging those in a logical order will help you in outlining the summary of the chapter. Make sure that the points are not repeated. Remember that your main focus should be the central idea of the chapter and hence your opinions or conclusions should not be included. The summary of the chapter is usually a shorter version of the chapter with only the main points and examples in it, so remain impartial throughout the summary and it should help the reader to understand the main idea of the chapter. Try to keep the summary of the chapter as simple and short as possible. Check your summary against the original chapter by reading the chapter again, and improvise the summary if required. Once you get the summaries of all the chapters of the book, you can start writing the by-chapter book report.


Before starting the book report, be clear about the format that you intend to have the book report written in. A simple format will contain, the title of the book, author of the book, and a paragraph explaining the context or background information of the book, a paragraph describing the characters of the book, few paragraphs with the chapter summaries in order, and a final paragraph for conclusion. Another commonly used format is to have an introduction, body of the book report (paragraphs with summaries) and a conclusion paragraph. While choosing the format, consider the length of the book report to meet the specifications, if any.


Start with an introductory sentence that should contain the title of the book and its author. Some information about the author can be added here. Write about the main idea of the book and the author's intention with the help of few highlights of the book in your own words, but do not express your opinion or views on the book.

Context and Characters

Use the paragraph after the introduction to write a brief background of the plot and the thesis statement of the book, if you can identify one. While mentioning the background information about the plot, describe the main characters of the story. A short and crisp description of how the main characters of the plot are related and how the characters transform over the plot is recommended, especially if the book report is based on a book that is fictional in nature.

Body of the report

The most important part of the by-chapter book report is the body of the report; this is especially true, as one has to organize several summaries of chapters into one in the body of a chapter-by-chapter book report. Typically, two to four paragraphs are used to build the body of the report, however depending on the complexity of the book and the number of chapters, more paragraphs may be needed. You may wish to have one single paragraph for each chapter summary if the number of chapters is less. Or, you can club two or three chapter summaries in one paragraph. The paragraphs have to be organized and the transition from one paragraph to the other should have the flow of the story maintained in a consistent and logical manner. You can use the titles of the chapters if the titles contribute to the narration of the story. The body of the book report should be a shortened version of the story.
Last but not the least; keep your audience in mind while presenting the chapter summaries (especially the ending of the plot or story) as there could be audience who might not have read the book. If you are writing the book report for a non-fiction book, then discuss about the subject and the author's point of view on it. You need not present all the points made by the author in this case and only important and significant arguments can be highlighted.


Review and restate the main idea of the book in such a way that the reader understands that you have actually read the book thoroughly. Though a book report is different from a book review in terms of critical analysis, the concluding paragraph of the book report is quite often used to express your opinion on the book. You can talk about the points of the book that you liked and tell why you liked those. You can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book in brief. You may want to highlight any point of the book that has enhanced your knowledge. Try to be more balanced in expressing your opinion on the book. Be honest in mentioning whether or not you will recommend this book to others and why.

Edit and Revise

It is very important that you proofread the book report after writing it. However, it is recommended that you do the proof reading after some time and not immediately after writing the report as that will help you spot the mistakes and required corrections easily. Read the book report twice to check for grammatical and spellings errors, and correct them as required.
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