What is a Reading Report? Definition, Steps, Formats, Features and Examples

We explain what a reading report is and the steps to do it. An example of a report on The Little Prince and links to other examples.

What is a reading report?

A reading report or reading report is a type of school composition , consisting of an expository and / or argumentative text , which is written around the reading experience of a specific book . It is one of the most common assignments of the contemporary educational process, usually in the subjects of language, Spanish, English, and other similar subjects.

Must Read: What is a research report?

Broadly speaking, a reading report consists of an explanation – not necessarily a summary – of the content of the book, in which you can also explain which parts of it were the most interesting, which aspects were the most striking, what opinions produced us or even what we didn’t like so much and why.

It is not a task that has a unique answer. Often the specific information on the content of the book (such as its main and secondary characters ) is not as important as the thoughts of the person making the report, since the specific information can be obtained easily, without going through the experience of reading a complete book and formulate your own opinion.

This is due to the fact that a reading report is not only considered to verify that we read the book, but also to test our ability to understand the work , interpret it or simply give an opinion on it.

See Also: What is a report?

However, the specific information in the book must also be included. It is important to differentiate between:

  • Narrator : It’s who tells the story.
  • Characters : They are those who act in it, being primary and secondary.
  • Plot : These are the events that occur.

It is also important to manage the editorial data of the work: what is its editorial, in what year it was published, who is its author and where and when he was born (and died, if the case). This is the minimum information that cannot be missing in a reading report.

Reading reports are also the comments that professional readers make for publishing houses , in which they evaluate the content of a manuscript and recommend or not its publication.

It can Serve You: Definition And Types Of Reporting

Steps to prepare a reading report

The steps to prepare a reading report can be summarized in:

  • Read the book in its entirety, ideally marking or writing down in a notebook the parts that we liked the most or that most caught our attention.
  • Review the booklet, and think about why we liked what we wrote down or what things caught our attention. It is also useful to think about what other books remind us, what thoughts inspired us or if it has some kind of link with what we know about the author’s life.
  • In case we have not already done so, it is always useful to investigate a bit : did the book win prizes? At what time did it appear? How was the life of its author? What is usually said about the work?
  • Finally, we must organize our ideas in a coherent text , going from the most general to the most specific. For this, it is possible to choose a single theme from those that appeared in the previous stages, or we can take a tour of the parts that we liked most of the work, explaining why, or we can even say what we did not find so good , and because. It is essential to argue that kind of opinion.
  • Reading reports do not usually have an introduction or conclusions , or at least not formally, but we can use an initial paragraph to introduce the work (who wrote it, when, in what context) and a final paragraph to offer a conclusion (our opinion of the work, for example).

Format that you have to follow in a reading report

The parts of a reading report as a whole make up what is known as its format, therefore, in this section we are going to explain everything it contains.

  • First of all, a reading report includes the cover as its most important cover letter since it is through it that readers will be able to connect with said analysis.
  • After this cover has to be in the format of the introduction, it is super important and has to be a preamble that adds everything regarding the content of the report itself, it is an appetizer that must be written with great skill to make it look interesting.
  • Then in the structure of this report the methodology used in the reading must be included, to which you must write sequentially both the history of the reading or the content read as well as the own appreciation of who has written said report. .
  • But let’s separate by parts, in this structure you have to write first the review of the book itself and later your opinion of it, always taking into account the information you are providing about what you have already read.
  • Finally, you have to write the final conclusions about what was learned and based on the methodologies used to highlight that content of the book, essay or document in general.

Read report features

Critical appraisal

The object of a reading report is the critical evaluation of any kind of text. This includes literary works of all kinds, newspaper articles, and entire literary genres.

In the same way, specialized works belonging to the fields of architecture, art, fashion, politics, exhibitions, shows and various other fields may be the subject of this type of report.

Above all, this type of report has a broad discussion that includes various perspectives. The most important element is that this report is more than just a summary. This should be filled with comments from the author of the reading report.

Through these comments, he manages to communicate the creator of the writing with different audiences. Frequently, the editor also expresses his agreement or disagreement with the content of the text or the way it was written.


Reading reports are usually short. In academic newspapers and magazines, they rarely exceed 1,000 words. However, longer reports and longer comments may be found. In any case, all of them must be concise.

Regarding the subject of the reading report, this is the same as the text that is analyzed. The report writer locates the main ideas of said text.

This idea and its interpretation will be indicative of the quality of the report. Now, the ideas can be from concepts or events to the ideas of other authors.

Explanatory-expository text

The reading report is, above all, an explanatory-expository text. Due to its explanatory condition, it generates a wealth of information, while due to its expository nature it makes them known. As for the language used, it is objective and written in the third person.

Although the predominant structure is the enunciative, an argumentative structure may also be present. The descriptive structure also appears in them, since facts are often described.

In the cases of analytical-descriptive reviews, both the content and the structure of the text are analyzed in the most objective way possible.

Commonly, data on the purpose of the text and its influence with readers is incorporated into the report. Sometimes, verbatim quotes from the writing are incorporated into the report to highlight its key elements.

When the report focuses on the argumentative-expository side, the evaluation is made in comparison with universally accepted standards. The evaluation and criticism of the text is confronted with literary, technical and historical parameters for the subject matter.

Structure / parts of the reading report

The parts of the reading report are:

Cover page

This part includes general data of the work that will be the object of the analysis. Among these most important data are the title of the book, the author, the year of publication and the publisher.


In this section, it will be mentioned what the text is about and a recount of the main ideas extracted from it will be carried out. These will be the object of study to be developed next.


In this part the methodology applied for reading is explained. That is, the objectives, critical gaze, support tools and intention of the author of the report when reading the text.


The review is an evaluative comment on the analyzed text, making a judgment about the work and the author. For this, parts of the text are chosen or even textual quotations are used to make the synthesis of the text clear.

Personal assessment

It is the most subjective part, it could be similar to the review, but with the difference that the author of the report can express his most sincere and personal opinion. You can explain the reasons why you liked it or not, feelings, how it could have influenced your conception or even if you intend to delve more about that type of literature or author.


In the conclusions, we return to what was previously said, synthesizing it and trying to put a good clasp at the final closure.

Types of reading report

General reading report

The general reading report or informational reading report represents a high proportion of these types of reports. In fact, it is also called a traditional report.

It is considered the easiest to carry out because it does not require great depth in the subject. This is addressed without delving into any specific aspect.

Analysis report

The analysis report consists of a description of the topic followed by a personal evaluation by the editor. In the reading reports, the subject is treated in depth and at the end there are conclusions that guide the readers.

In this type of reading report, the analysis and conclusions make up its most important part.

Comment report

In the comment reports, greater importance is given to the synthesis of the topic. The arguments are presented with the aim of presenting a simplified version of the text.

Although the creativity of the writer still exists, it does not extend into any type of thematic analysis.

How do you make a reading report?

To prepare a reading report, you will have to understand the text, make the report and present it. Let’s look at each step:

Understanding the text

Understanding the text represents the first step in preparing the reading report. In this step, the reader approaches the writing trying to understand the ideas expressed by the author.

In the same way, try to understand their motivations and prepare a summary where the content can be presented with fewer words.

The goal in this section is to be able to present the author’s ideas in the reader’s words. For this purpose, there are techniques that help in the preparation of the report. Among these, we can mention:

  • Global reading or pre-reading. This tool makes it possible to obtain a quick knowledge of the subject. In the same way, the possible main idea is located identifying the one that is repeated the most throughout the writing.
  • Reading. After the quick reading, the reader should do a more careful reading, detecting the secondary ideas and the way in which they relate to the main idea. If there are words that are unknown to the reader, they must consult them in dictionaries.
  • Post-reading. A third reading should be done, this time a little faster than the previous one. The ideas that the reader identifies as the keys to all the work are reviewed again to ensure that they are fully understood. In this phase, note-taking helps the process.
  • Context. Once the fundamental ideas of the writing have been identified and fixed, the reader must locate the context in which they have their scope of existence. This phase of understanding the text helps to put ideas and facts in proper perspective.

Preparation of the reading report

Once the text has been fully understood, the next step is to prepare the reading report. For this task, the reader has a series of tools, among which the following stand out:

  • Synthesis. Thanks to this tool, the objective of communicating the content of the text through the reader’s vocabulary is met.
  • Glossary of terms. The glossary of terms is the list of words that the reader did not know at the time of reading and which they had to consult. At the time of writing the reading report, this glossary must be included. In this way it will serve as an aid to readers of the report.
  • Synoptic table. This is an outline used as a support to represent all the ideas in the text. It can be used as a guide to remember what you have read.
  • Mind map. The mind map is another of the tools that allow you to have all the ideas of the text in a few pages. It has the advantage over the synoptic table that the relationships between ideas can be represented more visibly.

Presentation of the reading report

There is no single format for submitting a reading report. However, there are certain elements common to most of these.

Thus, the most used font is Arial or Times New Roman in size 12. Generally, the alignment of the text must be justified and the line spacing (space between lines) is 1.5.

In addition, the minimum length of the reading report is usually about three-quarters of the text read. The use of indentation at the beginning of each paragraph and the inclusion of an identification sheet along with the report is also common. This sheet has the data of the work and the author of the report.

Examples reading report

Report cover

Title : Socialism: an economic and sociological analysis. Author : Ludwig von Mises Foreword : Friedrich August von Hayek Translator : J. Kahane

Note : This work was first published in the German language in 1922. It was then published by Liberty Fund in 1981. Later, the Jonathan Cape, Ltd. edition was published in 1969 with correction and expansion of the footnotes in page.


The main objective of Ludwig von Mises’s work is to definitively refute almost all forms of socialism that have been devised. This analysis is carried out from an economic and sociological perspective.

Ludwig von Mises presents a fairly comprehensive and comprehensive analysis of society. In this analysis, he compares the results of socialist planning with those of free market capitalism in all areas of life.


In this reading report on the work Socialism: an economic and sociological analysis , a very brief review of the text will be made. Then, some key ideas of the production based on a deep reflection of the contents expressed there will be analyzed.

Summary or synthesis of the text

The author of this work shows the impossibility of socialism, defending capitalism against the main arguments against that socialists and other critics have raised.

A central planning system cannot substitute some other form of economic calculation for market prices, because there is no such alternative.

In this way, he considers capitalism to be true economic democracy. This book  addresses contemporary problems of economic inequality and argues that wealth can exist for long periods only to the extent that wealthy producers satisfy consumers.

Furthermore, Mises shows that there is no tendency to monopoly in a free market system. And it looks at reform measures, such as social security and labor law, that actually serve to impede the capitalist system’s efforts to serve the masses.

Personal assessment of reading

The work Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis is a veritable compendium of fundamental themes in the social sciences. His analysis is a particular combination of deep knowledge and insight into history.

This work is characterized by the continued relevance of this great work. Many of your readers will surely find the book to have even more immediate application to current events than when it was first published.

In this sense, Ludwig von Mises’s text is one of the most relevant critical examinations ever written on socialism. It is most famous for the penetrating argument of economic calculation put forward by its author.

Reading conclusions

The book is the product of scientific research , it does not seek to generate political controversy. The author analyzes the basic problems, making a description of all the economic and political struggles of the moment and the political adjustments of the governments and parties.

With this, Ludwig von Mises intends to prepare the foundations for an understanding of the politics of the last decades. But it will also help to understand the politics of tomorrow.

This complete critical study of the ideas of socialism allows us to understand what is happening in the world today.

  1. How to make a reading report of The Little Prince

As an example, we will review how a reading report could be made of the short novel The Little Prince (1943) by the French author and also aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), guiding us through the steps detailed above.

  • The indispensable first step would be to read The Little Prince . It is a short novel , and is usually accompanied by beautiful illustrations by the author, so it is not difficult to take some notes while we read it, even to mark the chapters that we were most excited about , or at least ask what characters we liked the most . Suppose that in this case we choose to talk about the fox.
  • The fox appears in several of the chapters of the final part of The Little Prince, when just the little prince steps on Earth. So we can ask ourselves: What interested us most about that episode? Which of the phrases said by the fox, for example, did we like best? What other episode of the book reminded us of the arrival of the fox, either by similarity or by difference? Do we notice any special features in the way of writing this episode? And the rest of the book?
  • Once the notes and even the textual quotes of the episode of the fox and any other that interest us are taken, we can begin to organize our ideas . A first introductory paragraph is always a good idea, telling about the interesting life of Saint-Exupéry and when he wrote his work, especially if what has been said has any relation to the theme of the fox, which will be our central theme of the report.
  • Once the introductory paragraph is written, we will look for a way to go straight to talk about the fox episode. How to do it? We can list the characters that appear and then say that the fox was the most interesting and why, or we can go straight to the point and explain that, of the whole book, the episodes of the fox seemed the most beautiful, or the most important philosophically, or perhaps the most difficult to understand. The important thing is that, whatever we say, always explain why, and if possible give examples of it (there we will use the textual quotes).
  • Finally, after talking about the book in general and the episode of the fox in particular, we will be able to elaborate the closing paragraph or conclusions, where we will go back to what was said a bit and round off our reading of The Little Prince . Here we will say what the work seemed to us in general, we will say with what other works we relate it or what we learned after reading it, or even after finding out about the author and seeing ourselves in the obligation to think about the connections between his life and the novel. Everything is valid, as long as we can explain our feelings to the reader and proceed one step at a time, in a coherent and cohesive manner.

Other examples of reading report

Below we offer other reading reports to serve as an example, but not before reminding you that plagiarism is always easy to verify and that you miss a lot if you don’t read the work and if you don’t allow yourself to think about what made you feel and think , whatever it is.

  • Reading report of the story “The feather cushion” by Horacio Quiroga.
  • Reading report of the book “The world of Sofia” by Jostein Gaardner.
  • Reading report of the book “The Psychoanalyst” by John Katzenbach.

How to make a Book Reading Report?

Although there are different methods to develop a reading report, all or the vast majority have in common that they address the following points:

  • The name of the author or authors is mentioned.
  • The title and year of publication of the document read are stated.
  • The author’s objective, what is the main message you want to convey to the reader.
  • The central theme: the theme or themes in which the content is framed and the main objective.
  • The central ideas: they do not always coincide with the main objective of the author, sometimes they refer to different things but they are always related. In addition, the author can express them explicitly or implicitly. So the reader should be able to paraphrase them at the time of making the reading report if they are not indicated with the naked eye. At this point we can show how much was understood about reading and our ability to develop a new knowledge of what was read, furthermore; here we are free to express our critical thinking, creativity and style of thinking to demonstrate the handling of the subject.
  • Special considerations: this point implies going beyond the simple analysis of the reading, it consists of taking a position, developing it and defending it. Here we can reflect with greater weight our position in contrast to what the author said. It is usually full of arguments for or against.

At the end of the day, the person requesting the report will be the person who dictates the criteria and characteristics that the report must meet, in this way each report will be completely different given the situation and the ability of the writer who carries out the task. For all this, it is difficult to make a good reading report the first time, on the contrary, it is a teaching process, since to the extent that we know how to read and how well we can write, the task will be more or less difficult for each person.

Example of a reading report with its main parts and how to do them

Making a good reading report is not achieved overnight, just as learning to read and write takes time and practice. So you should not feel frustrated if in your first attempts you are not satisfied with the final result. To help make things easier, the following are the most frequent elements in the structure of a reading report, each one is important to shape the writing that you want to do, so you understand what they are and what functions they have:

Introductory paragraph

At the beginning of the first paragraph of the report, it should be indicated to whom it is addressed, then it is necessary to mention which was the reading carried out, the author who wrote it and in what year. Next, the length of the book or document read as well as the publisher that made the publication must be placed.

After having established the above, you have to say what is the purpose of reading the book or reading. The main reasons are usually: because you like the author, because they recommended it, because it corresponds to an assignment or job, simply because you liked that title, etc. You do not have to give a complex or extensive explanation, just mention what your motivation was to do the reading.

Character introduction paragraphs

Depending on the type of material you consulted, you could have characters or people involved in the text, so, if it is the case, you can dedicate a paragraph to its description, it is recommended that this recommendation be aimed at explaining why these are important characters and the type of relationship they have between them and / or with the central theme of the text, and, obviously, with the objective of your reading report.

You can use a paragraph to describe the most important characters of the reading and then develop the secondary or less important ones for the plot in another, you may also need more than one paragraph for this in case there are many characters in the story.

Paragraph to Summarize the Plot

This is one of the fundamental points of the report, since it seeks to encompass the main ideas that the previously read text presented, but of course, removing all unnecessary details. To make this summary the best thing to do is write 5 sentences that cover the most important details according to the criteria that the writer must adhere to, these can be questions or sentences, there is no problem if more or less are written, but their development and congruent integration among themselves and with the rest of the text will give the report everything necessary to meet the criteria, the objective, and be a good reading report.

There is no problem if you must extend a little more but you should always answer the following questions when talking about the plot:

  • Space-time location where the book takes place (in what place and in what instance of time)?
  • Important sites for the plot.
  • Relevant characteristics that allow the book to be described: if it is scary, romantic, etc.
  • What is the goal of the main character (s)?
  • How does the book end?

On many occasions you will realize that with a single reading you will not be able to give answers to all these questions, so if you consider it necessary, redo the reading to increase your level of understanding and clarify any doubts there are about it.

Your Personal Opinion

As has already been said, part of the freedoms offered by the reading report is to provide the writer with greater freedoms, in addition to the commitment to contribute something else, in this section is where the writer must develop his personal point of view, take sides and argue , defend or even attack the positions developed in the text, of course, all depending on the criteria and objective under which it is governed for the writing of the reading report

Conclusion Paragraph

Finally, the best way to close the text is with a conclusion, this should reaffirm the ideas presented with which you agree, or to make clear the disagreements and disagreements that have been mentioned when providing personal opinion. The best way to make this closing is by specifying that the text is about to come to an end, for this it is best to use a phrase that makes it explicit, and thus, mention it in writing (for example: use the phrase “to end” )

The approximate length of a reading report is usually two to two and a half pages long.


How to use the Reading Report as a study technique?

Reading reports are primarily used as assignments for students to read a required title or book of their choice. But this tool can be used as a study strategy.

To better understand how this strategy can be used, it is necessary to understand the processes we use to study and how it differs from any reading we do. Generally speaking, when we read there is an important distinction between what we like and what we don’t like. You may have already realized that when you read something that you like, you quickly grasp the information and even feel motivated to read about it again. On the other hand, when you have to read a topic that is not to your liking, it becomes heavy, it is difficult to advance and you feel that it is endless. The latter usually happens when we must study a topic or subject that we do not like so much.

On the other hand, there are the processes we use to learn new information, which are usually mainly two. The first and most used is the study through memory, the assumption is simple, repeat the desired information so many times until it is stored in long-term memory. The problem is that the moment we stop using that information, the chances of us forgetting what we are studying are very high (this phenomenon is known as the forgetting curve).

The other method of learning is to analyze the information that is read so that it is not stored in memory as a simple repetition, but rather as the conclusions resulting from a process of elaboration and analysis. This second strategy is much more effective for understanding information and its long-term memory.

A reading report implies that the subject carries out this second process, that he reads and analyzes the information and then generates a knowledge product of the reading. Which will be easier to understand and remember in time. In addition, it is an excellent organizational strategy to classify what you should study by author, subject, year, etc.

Tips for Writing a Reading Report

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to write a reading report. Above all, when you must do it for the academic field.

  • Choose Something You Like : Depending on the case or the teacher, you can choose the reading that you should do, where most of it involves reading a complete book, which requires a large investment of time. For this reason, select a title that is to your liking. Especially if you are one of those people who find it difficult to read or maintain attention for long periods. We know how complicated it can be to read a book that does not inspire motivation, but if you select something that interests you, you will forget that reading the book is a chore and you will do it as a mere hobby. Which will favor the understanding of the book and the writing of the report.
  • Write Notes on What You Read : This strategy is very useful for increasing reading comprehension and keeping memories of the book’s plot fresh. In turn, it allows you to write down words that you do not understand or facts that you consider relevant.
  • Read the whole book: an erroneous preconception that is had when reading, is to believe that knowing the beginning and the end of the book is understood in its entirety or worse, that just by reading the first chapters you can already know how the end will be. This is one of the worst mistakes a reader can make since many authors leave crumbs throughout the book so that at the end you can make connections about the different events that occurred and reveal unknowns that they propose to you at the beginning of the book. In addition to the above, avoid looking for summaries because the essence of the book is lost, you kill the motivation to continue reading and you use the understanding that a third person had to make the report. Lastly, not reading the book prevents you from developing the reading, writing, and reading skills that you are expected to gain from that assignment.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help : If the reading you are doing is a challenge because it has a confusing wording, words that you do not know and a complex and complicated plot, ask for help from your tutor, teacher, parents or another person who can help you understand what what are you reading. In addition, they can assist you by correcting possible problems in writing or spelling.
  • Do not leave the report until the last minute : sometimes the problem is not reading the book or understanding the reading, but writing the report. This happens mainly because it is left to the last minute and when you do this, you run out of time. Our advice is that you avoid postponing the completion of the report and that you start doing it as soon as possible. If you consider that you still do not have enough information to do it completely, you can edit it in parts, perhaps summarizing by chapters. In this way, you lighten the load for when you finish reading and have to make the final version of the report.
  • Nor should we forget to  structure the ideas or main points in an outline , this will allow to have everything more organized and in order, speeding up everything so that you can make the reading report, and do not pressure yourself if everything could not be addressed, with which the main elements being clear is more than enough.
  • Finally, never trust the summaries of internet pages or third parties , it will always be better if what you write comes from your own ideas and conclusions from the original text.

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