How to Write a Book Summary

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A book summary should contain the important elements and points of the book. It should be very concise and straight to the point. Sometimes, students see the task of writing a book summary as a difficult and complicated process but if you know the right approach, you will see that this is rather an easy task. Listed below are simple steps on how to write a book summary.

Step One: Read the book.

In order to write the summary, you obviously need to read the book. When I say read, I mean read with comprehension. You have to read the book carefully and grasp all the major ideas and elements. Trust me, if you do not fully understand the fundamental ideas presented in the book, it will cost you more time and energy because during the actual writing process, you will find yourself having the need to reread parts of the book that you did not comprehend.

Step Two: Practice note-taking.

I don’t expect you to have phographic memory and remember everything in the book, so I would advise you to write down notes. You can do this while reading or after you have read few chapters of the book. In taking notes, you do not need to write the exact words found on the book. You can write shortcuts that will help you remember that particular part of the book. Take note of the setting, the tone, the new characters, as well as their personalities.

Step Three: Write the introduction.

You can write a one paragraph introduction that contains the title and author of the book, the genre, the purpose of the book, and a very brief overview. Be objective in writing, and no matter how tempting, do not give your personal opinions.

Step Four: Write the body of your book summary.

In this step, you will have to gather and utilize all your notes. Organize your paragraphs according to the story of the book. Only include the significant points and skip the minor details. The body of your summary should consist of a minimum of three paragraphs depending on how complex the book is.

Step Five: Write the conclusion.

The conclusion can be one paragraph long and should include the key points of the book and also a reiteration of the ending of the book. Do not introduce new ideas because this is already the closing paragraph.

Step Six: Proofread your work.

Before submitting your book summary, read it again and do some editing to refine your work. Keep an eye for grammatical and typographical errors, spelling mistakes, and other errors in technicalities. Make sure that you have used the appropriate words and did not make any alterations on the meaning and implications of the story.

Final Words…

Writing a book summary may seem intimidating especially if the book is a complex one, but if you follow the simple steps found in this article on how to write a book summary, you will be able to accomplish this task in no time.


  1. Use your own words in writing the summary.
  2. Be accurate. Your summary should provide a clear picture on what the book is all about.
  3. Do not alter the meaning of the text.

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