Book reports are essential to the critical reading process. They are used as a device for the reader to take a closer look at what she has read and gain a better understanding of its meaning. In the eighth grade, you may be required to write book reports for several of your classes, including language arts and social studies. To write the best book report you can, there are some simple guidelines you should follow.

Make notes in the margins of the book or on a separate sheet of paper as you read. If a certain quote or plot point seems important to you, underline it. If you don't understand a word, circle it and look up its definition in a dictionary. If you have any questions, make note as you go along. A few simple notes will help focus your book report.

Summarize the plot of the book. When writing your summary, it is important to know your audience. You may want to ask the assigning teacher if you should write to a reader who has never read the book or to someone who is familiar with the text. Either way, you should include a brief summary that introduces the setting and plot as well as a description of the main characters.

Create a thesis for your book report. This is essential to all successful essay writing. You may want to focus your report on an argument. For instance, if the report is on Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations," you may write about how setting is portrayed in the lives of the characters. Your book report does not have to be persuasive, however. It can be a thorough summary, a detailed character map or even a personal response to some aspect of the text.

Put yourself in the mind of the author. What would the author want you to take away from reading this book? Support your report with evidence that you have actively engaged with the text. Use quotes or descriptions from the text to prove your point or show your understanding.