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Book Report Timeline

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Have you wondered how much time should you give yourself to write a good book report? In fact, you should begin developing a plan as soon as you receive your writing assignment. A timeline is a great tool for getting any big assignment done.

There are many steps to writing a book report, and you'll need to divide your task into steps according to the complexity of your assignment (is this a handwritten paper or a lengthy college paper, for example?).

The list below contains the things you should consider as you create your own timeline. Your assignment might require all or just a few, so decide what's best for you and create a timeline as a first step.

Visit the library. If you don't already have a copy of the book on hand, you should go to the library to find one as soon as you can. Another student might be using the same book for a topic, and beat you to the punch! Don't let the library run out of copies before you get around to looking! That's a nightmare.

Buy some sticky flags. There is a trick to organizing your book report, and this trick makes the writing process so much easier! Get a supply of sticky flags in at least four different colors. As you read the book, you'll need to watch for certain elements:

  • major character names
  • character traits
  • mood
  • setting
  • conflict
  • symbolism
  • plot details
  • writing style

You will use the color-coded flags to mark elements as you notice them, like placing a yellow flag on the edge of a page when you see something that sets a mood, and a green flag when you notice character traits. Write any thoughts about the passage you're noting right on the flag.

Preview the book. Now that you've secured the book and the flags, you should preview the book to observe a few things. Read the author's bio to get to know a little about the writer and his/her authority.

Also observe the length and complexity of the book to decide how long it will take you to read it thoroughly. Plan a reading schedule according to the number of days you have to spend reading. You should finish reading the book a week before the paper is due.

Read and flag. Start reading the first segment according to your reading plan. Use the flags to note any elements you notice. You will most likely review this segment to add flags, because you will realize there are new elements to look for later in the book.

Revisit the library. Once you've read the book, you may need to find backup sources to use as you plan your paper. For example, you might need a book that talks about the genre of your book, or you could need to find a biography that provides interesting material about the author.

Write your first draft. Expect the first draft of your paper to be messy. Don't worry about getting all of the information down in the best order the first time around.

Use your sticky note topics to write about one element at a time. Gather all your note flags on mood, for example, and start writing about the passages you've marked to describe the mood of the book. Use the author's own words (in quotes) to back up your assertions.

Edit and rewrite. After you have used your notes to write about the various topics, it's time to get more organized. Arrange your paragraphs in the most logical order, and use transition statements to make your paper flow.

Be sure to proofread your paper to avoid common problems. Look for word mix-ups and make sure you use a variety of interesting sentence types.

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