Is it a Book Report or a Book Review?

Do you ever get confused between a book review and book report?  Or maybe you’ve done what many people do and used the terms interchangeably.  There is a difference between the two; here’s a simple explanation:

What is a book report?

A book report summarizes the book’s contents. It gives an account of the contents of the book and a summary of the story. It’s straightforward and can be tackled by younger children.

What is a book review?

A book review goes into more depth and is suitable for older children.  It is a critical analysis of a book. The reviewer gives opinions, says where he agrees or disagrees with the author, makes a judgment on the book and gives a recommendation.

Checklist for the review or report

When a book report or review is complete and before your child gives his review to you, let him work through this checklist:

 Check for correct spelling.

 Check for correct grammar

 Check for correct punctuation

 Does the review/report have between one and three quotations?

 Have you used a standard font?

 Have you used a standard size of font? (10 -12 point)

 Check the margins and spacing. (Double space, 1” (2.5cm) margins.)

 At the top of the first page, give the name of the author, full title of the book, the publisher and the place and date of publication.

 Put your own name, the date, and the page number in the footer.

 Put the document’s title in the header.



If you like practical help like this in your homeschooling, you might enjoy my Grammar Lessons Made Easy course.



Is it a Book Report or a Book Review? — 2 Comments

  1. Older kids need to have a knowledge of standard layout i.e. margins, font, font size, but why take away all the fun of producing a quirky looking document with word art and bright colours in the homeschool setting?

  2. Hi Rachel,

    The beauty of homeschooling is that each family can do what suits them, and there’s no ‘right’ way on most things, or on ‘curriculum content’ even. So keep on doing what is fun for you and your family. If you are enjoying things and people are learning, that’s good.

    Like you, I’m all for fun in homeschooling. Having said that, here’s some of my reasons for asking for a standard layout in a book review:

    1. A child who is old enough to produce a typed document is old enough to learn standard layout.

    2. Ideally, under-sixes are not doing any computer work at all. (This is pretty controversial, I know, but I do believe it’s best for a child to learn with active play, pencils, crayons, etc first, and then learn to use the computer as a tool, rather than use it to play. We did this in our house and I don’t know a more ‘techie’ family than ours, so I don’t believe it hinders a child’s technical skill to hold off.) And seven-to-nines are ideally using a touch typing program to learn to type. Then, when the child is fully literate and can type at speed, he will type his report and be old enough to use standard layout.

    2. It’s my experience that children will use large font size and pretty colours to make a poor report look better and longer than it is.

    3. A beautifully presented hand-written report with decorated borders and pictures is great from a younger child.

    4. Being able to produce a standard layout at, say, age 11 becomes second nature so doesn’t need to be learned later.

    5.Children get a great sense of satisfaction from producing a formal looking report. It helps them to feel they are being taken seriously and have something of worth to say.

    6. It’s great to use beautiful fonts, colours, clip art, borders, et cetera in a document like a story, a book, a project, an invitation. But my preference is for formal with reports and essays.


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