How to Start a Book Report

By: Angelina Grin

10 min



How to Start a Book Report

«Can someone write my book report for me?» Yes! But first, let's get a handle on what that is. Figuring out how to start a book report essay is one of the most challenging parts of writing a book report paper. You want something that’s going to immediately grab your reader’s attention whilst still being informative, letting them know some of the essential facts about the work.

A book report isn’t the same thing as a review or an analytical paper, so you don’t have to worry about presenting your analysis or opinion in the introduction. Just try to familiarize your reader with the book before moving on to your body paragraphs.

This article will explain how to begin a book report. So, if you have such a paper due and are looking for some top tips, read on!

How to Write an Introduction for a Book Report

So, you’ve chosen your book. You’ve read it thoroughly, annotating and taking notes as you go. You’re all ready to start your essay — except now you’re wondering how to write an introduction for a book report.

There are some key steps to follow when you’re writing an introduction for a book report. This section will explain how to write a good introduction for a book report, giving you an idea of some of the most important things to include in your introductory paragraph.

Brainstorming Ideas

Before you start writing, your first step should be to brainstorm ideas. Referring to your notes, think about the main points of the book. What are the most important moments in the narrative? What themes does the text cover? What is the setting and who are its main characters?

Once you have everything written down, go through your list and think about what you should write in your essay. You won’t have room to write about every last piece of the book, so you should focus on the most important points. Brainstorming and writing down all your thoughts can help you filter them more easily before you begin the writing process.

If you’re unsure of what type of information to include in your intro, perhaps consider looking at a book report introduction example to get a better idea.

Writing a Book Report Introduction

Once you’ve brainstormed ideas, it’s time to write your book report intro and outline. There are a few key points your introduction should tackle. If you’re wondering how to start a book report introduction, read on for some of our best advice!

✒️ Mention the title and author of the book

It’s important that you include the title and author of the book you’re writing about. After all, the book is the entire point of your report.

Mention the book’s title and author early in your introduction—in the first sentence, if possible. This means that your reader will know from the start what the focus of your report is.

Example 1: J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is arguably the most influential piece of modern fantasy literature to date.

Example 2: The battle between good and evil is the main theme of Robin Jenkins’ 1955 novel The Cone Gatherers, most clearly exemplified in the characters of Calum and Duror.

🔎 Explain why you chose to write about this particular book

Next, briefly explain why you chose to write on that particular text. What made it stand out to you compared to other works? Is it a particularly notable example of a work from a genre? Does it do an especially good job of laying out its theme? Is it a book you’ve read before, one that left a significant impression on you?

Whatever your reasons for choosing the book, spell them out clearly in your introduction.

Example 1: Frankenstein is one of the most important works to come out of the 19th century. Often referred to as the world’s first science fiction novel, many of its themes still resonate with a contemporary readership. Even two centuries later, it is still often central in conversations about bioethics.

Example 2: When asked to write about a feminist piece of literature, The Handmaid’s Tale makes for an obvious choice. With its dystopian portrayal of a patriarchal, totalitarian United States, Margaret Atwood’s masterfully written novel forces us to question the sexism deeply embedded within our own culture today.

📖 Introduce the book to your readers

Be sure to introduce your readers to the book as well. Include the date of publication, a summary, and any cultural context that might be relevant to your report. If you’re not sure what sort of information to include, try to find a good example of how to start a book report on which to base your introduction.

Example 1: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is considered by many to be the first novel in the English language. The book tells the tale of the titular Robinson Crusoe, a castaway who is left stranded on a tropical island for almost thirty years.

Example 2: Despite the author’s claims that the book is no more than a story about rabbits, Richard Adams’ Watership Down is interpreted by many as an allegory for communism. Published in 1972, the novel tells the tale of a colony of rabbits who must leave their warren to settle in a new location, miles away from home.

🎭 Describe the setting of the book

Give your readers an idea of when and where the book is set. These are essential pieces of information, especially if the book deals with real-life events.

Example 1: Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Dance Tree is set in Strasbourg during the dancing plague of 1518 — an epidemic which has a wide-reaching impact on the family life of our heroine, Lisbet.

Example 2: The Great Gatsby is set in the so-called Roaring Twenties — more specifically, in 1922, four years after the end of the Great War — in glamorous New York.

💡 Grab your reader’s attention with some interesting facts about the book

Finally, if you want to make sure that your report grabs your reader’s attention, it’s a good idea to include an interesting fact or two about the book. For example, you might mention whether it’s a bestseller, or whether it’s won any awards.

Example 1: Not only is And Then There Were None one of Agatha Christie’s most popular works, but it is also one of the most popular novels of all time. With more than one hundred million copies sold, the book has established itself as the world’s best selling mystery novel.

Example 2: Praised for its use of Black English Vernacular, as well as its portrayal of female characters, The Colour Purple is one of the most popular books of all time, even having won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize.

How Do You Start Off Writing a Book Report?

When you’re working on a college book report, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to make it as engaging as possible. Here are a few top tips to help you make your introduction as gripping as you can.

Draw Your Audience in with a Hook

Make sure to include a hook in your first paragraph. This could be an interesting piece of trivia about the book, a rhetorical question to get your reader thinking or a piece of interesting information about the cultural context of the book.

Summarize the Book

It’s also a good idea to include a summary of the book in your introduction. If not, then your reader is likely to get lost trying to follow your report. Don’t over-explain every plot point; just try to deliver the essential pieces of information and convey the important points of the book. If the book you’re working on is a piece of nonfiction, try to summarize the topic in one or two sentences.

Include a Thesis Statement

Doing assignments, though not all, will require you to include some of your own analysis. If your report is for a high school or university assignment, then your teacher or professor will make this clear to you in the report brief. Make sure that you include a thesis statement with a summary of your main argument if you do have to include an analysis.

Read Quality Book Reports for Ideas

Sometimes it can be easier to write an paper after reading a couple of good examples yourself. See if you can find some examples of introduction paragraphs for book reports to draw ideas from for your own work. Just make sure that when you do so, these examples come from a reliable source.


What is a good first sentence for a book report introduction?

A good first sentence for a book report is one that will draw your author in but also will convey a lot of information about the book you’re writing on. It should include the title and author of your book.

How long is a book report intro?

However, the average length of a book report for high school students is usually less than one thousand words. The length of a book report will depend on the grade level and the assignment itself. Your teacher should let you know how much you have to write.

How detailed should your book summary be?

Your introduction shouldn’t be too long—ideally, no longer than a paragraph. So, while you should make sure your summary contains all the necessary information, you shouldn’t make your book summary too detailed.

How do you start off an essay about a book?

When starting a book report, you want to make sure that you capture the reader’s attention from the very beginning. You also want to make sure that you include all the necessary information your reader will need to follow along with the rest of your paper.

What is a good intro sentence?

When thinking about how to start off a book report, you should think about how you can grab your reader’s attention in the first line. This might be with an interesting fact about the book, a rhetorical question, or—where appropriate—a thought-provoking piece of analysis.

What is a good way to start a paper?

If you’re wondering how to write a good introduction for a book report, first ask yourself how you would start any other paper. No matter what sort of essay you’re writing, you should always hook the reader, introduce your topic, and, if you’re including analysis, make your thesis statement.

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Angelina Grin

Creative Writer and Blog Editor

Despite my relatively young age, I am a professional writer with more than 14 years of experience. I studied journalism at the university, worked for media and digital agencies, and organized several events for ed-tech companies. Yet for the last 6 years, I've worked mainly in marketing. Here, at Studybay, my objective is to make sure all our texts are clear, informative, and engaging.

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