Book Report Background Information for Teachers and Parents

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about book reports and book reviews.  The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Book Reports. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Writing book reports is a great way for children to develop and practice their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. It also helps them explore new genres, share books with other people, and become passionate about reading. Remind your children that a book report is a piece of writing that describes a book and shares thoughts and opinions about it. Book reports can vary, but most have three main parts: the introduction; the body, which includes a summary; and the conclusion.

Remind your children that before they can begin a book report, they have to choose a book! We recommend screening the Choosing a Book movie to help children find a book that is just right for them. The next step is to read the book carefully. Encourage active reading and suggest that they take notes as they read. You may want to review different graphic organizers they can employ, such as character trait charts, story maps, or cause-and-effect charts. As they read, they should pay attention to the setting, characters, and major events that happen in the plot. You may also want to come up with questions they can keep in mind as they read. Who is the main character? What problem does the main character face? How does the character change?

It is important that your children manage their time when they write a book report. If they choose a long book, they should set reading goals so that they finish the book in time to do their reports. They may want to use a calendar to establish how many pages or chapters they should read a day. If a book is short, they may want to read the book again so they make sure they do not miss anything. Encourage your children not to choose short books because they think it might be easier to do a book report. They should choose books that they are interested in and want to read.

After children finish reading, they should collect their notes and think about their book reports. They should make an outline of their book reports before they begin writing. Explain that while book reports can be different, most have the same main parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction is a sentence or paragraph at the beginning of a piece of writing that explains what you are writing about. The introduction should include the name of the book, which should always be capitalized and underlined, the author’s name, and the genre, or type of story. Examples of genres include mysteries, biographies, memoirs, science fiction, and fantasy. Some children may also want to explain why they chose the book. One child may like reading memoirs because they can connect their own experiences to them. Another child may enjoy science fiction because they are exciting and unpredictable.

The body, or middle section of the book report, should contain a summary. Review with your children that a summary is a short review of something. It is a recap of the book’s main characters, settings, and events. The summary should only contain the most important details from the book. It is helpful to discuss problems and solutions in storybooks so that children can include these in their summaries too. Children can use a story map to help them write and organize their summaries.

The conclusion is a sentence or paragraph that ends a piece of writing and sums up your thoughts. Children can include their opinions, or what they thought of the book, and their responses, or how the book made them feel. Did they like it? Why or why not? What did they like best? How did they feel as they were reading the book? Would they recommend it to a friend? What did they learn from the book? They can answer these questions in the conclusion and share their thoughts and feelings.

Your children should use book reports to learn about new books to read. Book reports give them an opportunity to explore new writers, styles, and genres. Instilling a sense of wonder and excitement about books will help them become avid readers and writers.