A good book report should begin with a strong introductory paragraph that catches the reader’s interest, presents the book to be reviewed and introduces the writer’s basic argument or thesis. To accomplish all these goals in a few sentences, you might need to revise a draft of your introductory paragraph several times. You’ll want to indicate the direction of your book report without providing information that you’ll repeat later.

Brainstorming and Preparing to Write

Summarize the book you’ve chosen to write about. To help get yourself started, you might write a paragraph-long summary, but you’ll want to shorten it for inclusion in your introductory paragraph.

Select a thesis statement or general argument for your book report. Depending on your grade level, your thesis will be more or less complex. In some cases, your thesis could simply be that you liked or did not like the book. In other cases, you might want to make a more specific argument about the book’s characters, setting, plot or other elements and the effect they have on the reader.

Select several ideas or details that support your thesis statement. Each of your body paragraphs will focus on one of these ideas. You might want to focus on characters in the first paragraph, setting in the second and plot in the third, for example.

Writing the Introductory Paragraph

Write a strong first sentence that catches the reader’s interest and introduces the book. Give the book’s title and author, as well as an interesting fact about the book or a reason why you chose to read it.

Provide a short summary of the book, no longer than two sentences, based on the summary you came up with earlier.

Write your thesis statement in one clear sentence, and place it after the summary. Your thesis statement should include your argument, as well as the supporting reasons or details you will explore further in your paper. Thus, the thesis statement serves as an outline of your paper.

Conclude the introductory paragraph with a transitional hook that leads into the next paragraph.


Read a draft of your introductory paragraph aloud to yourself to see how it sounds. You might notice mistakes that you didn't catch when you were reading the paragraph on paper.

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