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How to Format a Book Report in Newspaper Article Format


Book reports help students synthesize what they’ve read and demonstrate their reading comprehension for teachers. To pep up this assignment, teachers can use real-world formats, such as newspaper articles. Students writing a newspaper-style book report should begin with the “H-W5” or “Journalist’s Questions,” suggests education author Graham Foster: that is, "who, what, when, where, why and how?" Focus on the most important part of the event first, filling in supporting details later.

Readers Writing Like Reporters

The H-W5 questions help newspaper reporters focus the article on the basic facts of the news event; this focus helps readers zero in on the facts of the book, as well. Who is involved? What happened? When and where did it happen? Why did things unfold in this way? How did it begin, develop and end? Don’t try to stuff an entire novel into a concise news article format, however; choose a specific episode, perhaps the story’s climax or a significant early event. Textbook author Susan Ludwig suggests choosing any exciting point in the story. Include all relevant details, but only those; like a real newspaper article, the book report should be concise. Add a headline that will grab attention and give some basic information about the “article.” Foster recommends using humor, alliteration or puns for eye-catching headlines.

About the Author

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.

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