Book Report Survival Guide for Busy Parents

Thanks to Random House for this great guest post!

It’s easy for kids to feel overwhelmed from time to time with their school responsibilities – sometimes the volume of work and deadlines are even overwhelming to parents! When the classic book report assignment arrives, it’s best for the whole family to feel prepared. Here are a few key steps to help you and your young reader knock out a strong (and stress-free) assignment!

Step 1: Help your child find the right book.

There are TONS of great books out there, but why not find one that addresses what’s currently going on in your child’s life right now? Not only will this motivate them to read (and read more), but a great book will get them excited about their assignment too. A must-read for kids ages 9-12 to learn about kindness and compassion is The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli. The book spins a thought-provoking coming-of-age tale with lessons on loss and redemption. You can buy it here from Random House Children’s Publishing.

Step 2: Give them tools to succeed.

This step is so simple, but as parents, we often to forget to give our kids the tools they need to make notating the book easy. If it’s a hard copy you have, then pass off a sticky notepad in their favorite color along with pens and markers. If it’s a digital copy, get them a special notebook to write down page numbers and thoughts to later incorporate into their assignment. Snacks never hurt either for a good reading session!

Step 3: Ask questions along the way.

Book reports are less about describing the plot of their chosen story, and more about a student’s critical approach to understanding the literary devices and message of a work. As a parent, support for a big assignment like a book report can be as simple as asking creative questions along your child’s reading journey.

  • What do you think the character will do next?
  • Do you think the character made the right decision?
  • What is the tone and narrative style the author is taking in the writing?
  • What symbolism and metaphors did you notice? What do you think they mean?

These questions will inevitably make your young reader think deeper about what they are reading, and will give them more to write about when the time comes.

Step 4: Offer to proof read it.

At this point, they have read the book and worked on their report. Show your interest by offering to proof it. Ensure that your child included their opinion of the book and their opinion on how the author wrote it. Ask yourself after proofing if you know what the book is about since you haven’t read it. Once it’s all there – approved, bravo!

Step 5: Ask what they’re reading next!

Regular reading is vital to a child’s development and continued success in school. Find the latest books from Penguin Random House here for kids of all ages. It’s never too early or too late to get hooked on reading!

Good luck to you and your child on your book report adventure – you’re headed in the right direction!

Looking for more great tips on reading for kids, check out 5 Great Ways to Motivate Kids to Read