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.

girl thinking with pencil

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

1) Think


2) Write 🙂

Hope this helps,

© 2015 Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand