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Not Just a Book Report: High School Writing #1

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Have you been thrust into homeschooling or struggle to teach high school analytical papers? I'm here to help!

Once your teen enters high school, most of the writing about literature will be focused on analysis rather than summary.

What does this mean?

A summary (book report) tells what happens in the book.

Analysis focuses on the why or the how of what happens.

Analysis includes summary, but it goes beyond summary to give the "so what."

Here are two examples:

Summary: The Lord of the Rings is an exciting epic that tells the adventures of four Hobbits attempting to save the world.

Analysis: Merry, Sam, and Frodo exemplify three ways people respond to extended trauma.


Summary: The Star Wars saga follows the stories of two families tempted by the dark side of the Force.

Analysis: Blasters and lightsabers serve as symbols that contrast materialistic and spiritual views of the universe*.

The big question to ask when reading your teen's paper: Does this only tell WHAT happens?

*I deny the existence of midichlorians as a source of the Force.

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