After being challenged on it, I sat down and made up this process for a book report. I wish I had put this together for my kids, but basically we did something similar as we homeschooled.
1. Keep the goal in mind: You want the child intelligently interacting with the book. It really isn’t a synopsis, as most seem to be. Instead, it is a summary with analysis / evaluation.
2. Try this simple process:
FIRST: Have your student make a written list of “6 Things I Liked About the Book” & “6 Things I Did Not Like About the Book.” [This is THE MOST IMPORTANT step]
SECOND: Use this ‘form’ to sketch out an outline (just use bullet points)
a. Open with “___________ (book title and author) is a ___________(summary adjective: good, bad, well-written, fantastic, engaging, awful, etc.) __________ (category like adventure, science fiction, historical novel, etc.) that is about ______________________ (summary basics).
Example: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is a delightful children’s fantasy novel that is about a girl who makes her way through the strange world of Oz to finally arrive back home in the loving world of her Kansas family and friends.
b. Give a short (few sentences) summary of the story. This can be done many ways, but the idea is to give someone who hasn’t read the book the basics
c. What I liked about the book and why (2 or 3 is fine).
d. What I didn’t like about the book and why (2 or 3 is fine).
e. Conclusion- Usually this will be a recommendation or warning about reading the book.
THIRD: Write it!
FOURTH: Get Help (somebody reads it and offers corrections / ideas)
FIFTH: Make it GREAT by re-writing the whole thing with the improvements from the 4th Step included.
ADDENDUM: Younger children could go through the steps above as a list to write, or as an oral exercise with mom or dad.
I know there are other approaches…use what works as long as it is helping your child really learn to
2) Write 🙂
Hope this helps,
© 2015 Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand
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This is very helpful. Thank you!!
Thanks Mary! I think most kids will catch on really quickly to this kind of approach…and they’ll benefit immensely as readers. -FRL
This worked like a charm! Both my 12 year old and 9 year old were able to follow the steps and write a great book report. The hardest part was coming up with the 6 things they disliked about the book.
Thanks Lydia! Working on the ‘6 Things’ is the hard part for sure, but it gets much easier with practice.
I like this format. Where can I get one about essays and outlining.
Our format (and forms) are in our Essay Writing Course.