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Your Thoughts on Book Reports

Today I would appreciate your comments on the following topic: Do you think it is important to have your child do a formal book report (of some kind) after reading a book? My two are in the third grade and are reading chapter books (finally!).

I would love to hear your thoughts and then I'll share mine in a few days.


  1. I really like the different ideas and templates that are included in the Write Shop Junior D. In September they just recorded one or two sentences daily about what they had read and the pages. Now they are just writing about their favorite part of the book when we finish. I always like the review style formats of book reports. What they liked about it, or didn't like about it. I tend to pour more energy into them writing their own stories. I do think that learning how to summarize is very important but waiting until I think they are ready for more direct instruction.

    I hope this helps. I'll will definitely be reading the comments left on this post, because I love reafing how others do it, and it gets me inspired.

  2. We do not do formal book reports. Instead, we discuss the books. I start this when the children are young and I am reading aloud to them. We talk about the setting, the plot, the main characters, etc. This has worked out well for us so far. My 12 year old son enjoys reading and can give a brief oral description of his books. He can tell me the plot, the setting, and all important aspects that a formal report would have.

    We started doing this because he was a VERY reluctant writer and I needed to pick my battles. Right now I am following the same path with my youngest two. Although I can see my 5 year old daughter WANTING to do written reports in a few years......right now she is the workbook QUEEN! (she even ask for them for Christmas).

    I look forwarding to reading responses from others.

  3. My son (8) is a reluctant writer so we go the narration route, but only very informally as a discussion about the books that he finds particularly interesting. I am taking writing VERY slowly with him because I don't want to turn him off of it. I still think being able to write well is very important, but I am willing to wait for a few more years before really pushing for it. Meanwhile, we are taking the gentle route to prepare him for writing.

  4. We don't do reports. My girls have blogged their book recommendations, which is very similar to a "report". They have shared favorite books with children and adults alike. They have compared the book to the movie adaptation. They have had many conversations about what they are reading. Often the three of us read the same book, like we are doing now with Wonder, and compare our opinions of plot lines and character development.

    If they asked to do a report I would gladly agree but my ultimate goal is reading for information and pleasure and so long as I can assess this is a multitude of ways, I don't have concern that they are not doing a formal report.

  5. Well, it all depends on your definition of "book report". Overall, I find too many book reports = busy work, not necessary work. For us a book report can be oral (tell me about your book), which is also great at the older ages as "speech". If your student (child) thinks outside the box, we might be better off letting them act out the story, or draw a comic book to reflect the story. Maybe your child is techie and a power point presentation would be fun instead. It's all about building up the childs' strengths while still allowing them to show us what they have learned through the process, right?
    We do a lot of writing (daily essays) but I personally do not put a lot of emphasis on book reports (cept my daughter who volunteers them, lol)
    Cant wait to hear your perspective...

  6. My few thoughts :) - As far as writing a report, I approach with caution. My book crazy daughter (now 29yo) started her freshman high school homeschool year in eager anticipation to read books from her history list. On about our third go around at the library to choose new books, she burst in to tears knowing that this meant yet another written book report. I realized then that I was totally killing her enthusiasm. We came up with some alternative ways of reporting- and I still remember the evening she sat down and told my husband and I about “Killer Angels”, a book she read for the civil war. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I am so thankful that I didn't kill it! Of course, when college hit, she did have to buck up and write the reports, but I wonder if she would have been totally burned out on it if I had pushed it.


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