Skip Nav

How to Write a Reading Response Essay with Sample Papers

Reading Response Essays

❶While reading, I was moved to think about how I need to confront and overcome my fears. I hope the pictures provided had more realistic images than seeing random curvy lines "written" on the paper.

Introduction

Prewriting for Your Reaction Paper
Organizing Your Reaction Paper

It is a popular academic assignment because it requires thoughtful reading, research, and writing. You can learn how to write a reaction paper by following these writing tips. To write a reaction paper, start by carefully analyzing the thing you're supposed to be reacting to. Then, write down your initial reactions and thoughts.

Try to come up with an angle for your paper, like that you disagree with the subject or that you think it has a deeper meaning. Once you've got an angle, summarize it in the introduction of your paper and use the body paragraphs to support it. Remember to use direct quotes and specific examples to back up what you're saying.

When you're finished, reread your paper to make sure your angle is clear. Featured Articles Essays Academic Writing.

Understand the purpose of a reaction paper. Reaction or response papers are assigned so that after reading a text, you will think carefully about what you feel or think about the text.

A reaction paper is not just a paper where you express your opinion. You must respond to implied ideas, and elaborate, evaluate, and analyze the author's purpose and main points. In many cases, you can use the first-person "I" while writing reaction papers. If you are asked to agree or disagree, you have to provide convincing evidence about why you feel this way. If responding to one text, you probably should connect the text to overarching concepts and themes you have discussed in the class.

The same assignment may also be given to films, lectures, field trips, labs, or even class discussions. It also does not state, "I liked this book because it was interesting" or "I hated this because it was boring.

Figure out what the assignment is asking. Before beginning your paper, you must figure out exactly what your teacher or professor is looking for. Some teachers want you to react by analyzing or evaluating the reading. Other teachers want a personal response. Make sure you understand which kind of reaction the assignment calls for. If you are unsure, ask the teacher to clarify what they expect from the assignment.

You may be asked to react to the text in light of another text. If this is the case, you will want to use quotations from both texts in your writing. You may be asked to react to the text in the light of the class themes. For example, if you read a book in a Sociology of Gender Roles class, you will want to read, annotate, and react based on how gender roles are described in the book.

You may be asked to react personally to the text. This is less common, but occasionally the teacher simply wants to know if you have read the text and thought about it. In this case, you should focus on your opinions of the book. Read the text you are assigned right after it is assigned.

To complete a reaction paper, you don't just read, give your opinion, and turn in the paper. A reaction paper synthesizes the texts, which means you take the information you read and bring it together so you can analyze and evaluate. You have to give yourself time to do the readings, but more importantly, to digest what you've read so you can put the ideas together. A reaction is a thoughtful consideration after reading and rereading several times. You may need to reread the text multiple times.

First, to read and familiarize yourself with the text, then again to start thinking about the assignment and your reactions. Write down your initial reactions. After you read through the first time, jot down your initial reactions to the text. Do the same thing on any subsequent readings. Try completing some of the following sentences after you read: Annotate the text as you read. As you read through the text again, annotate it.

Annotating in the margins of the text allows you to easily locate quotations, plot lines, character development, or reactions to the text. If you fail to annotate thoroughly, it will be more difficult to create a cohesive reaction paper. Question as you read. As you read the text, you have to start questioning the text. This is where your evaluation of the material and your reaction begins. Some questions to consider include: What issues or problems does the author address?

What is the author's main point? What points or assumptions does the author make, and how does she back that up? What are strengths and weaknesses? Where are problems with the argument? How do the texts relate? Start by freewriting your reactions and evaluations of the author's ideas. Try to put into words what you think the author is trying to do and whether you agree or disagree. Then ask yourself why, and explain why you think these things. Freewriting is a great way to start getting your ideas on paper and getting past that initial writer's block.

Determine what your strongest and most convincing reactions are. Decide on your angle. Reaction papers have to be critical and have some evaluation of the text. Otherwise, you are just summarizing what you read. After freewriting, decide what your angle is. Keep asking yourself the same questions as you craft a coherent reaction. Think about why the author has written the article or story as they have.

Why did he structure things in this particular way? How does this relate to the outside world? Now that you have completed your freewriting and found your angle, you can now shape this into an argument. What interesting thing do you have to say about what you just read? Start to state why what you said is interesting and important. This is the core of your reaction paper. Take all your points, opinions, and observations, and combine them into one claim that you will prove. This is your thesis. Your thesis will be one statement that explains what you will analyze, criticize, or try to prove about the text.

It will force your reaction paper to remain focused. Your paper should follow basic essay format. It needs an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each body paragraph should directly support your thesis. In each body paragraph, you should be reacting to a different portion of the text. Organize your reactions together into a few common topics so you can write them into paragraphs. For example, if you are reacting to a theme in a book, you can split the paragraphs into how the setting, antagonist, and figurative imagery communicate the themes successfully or unsuccessfully.

After you organize your ideas into paragraphs, you need to find quotations that will support your points. You must back up your claims with evidence from the text. Look at your annotations for quotations that support your thesis. Draft paragraphs that introduce quotations, analyze them, and comment on them. Your paragraphs should always start with a topic sentence. Then you have to decide how to structure your paragraph. You can start with what the author says and follow that with your reaction.

Or you can start with the author and then follow with how your reaction contrasts. Note that response papers are not reviews; the writer is not supposed to offer a value statement on the text that is being discussed. Instead, the response paper which is sometimes called 'reaction paper' is a kind of critical close reading of a specific aspect of one or several texts. As you read the text on which you are to base your response paper, mark sections that strike you as important and make notes.

One way of doing that is to keep a reading journal where you write down your reactions and ideas as you read. These notes will be helpful in deciding what to focus on in your response paper.

When deciding what to write about in your response paper, look at your notes, your underlinings, etc. To find a focus, try to establish what interested you in the text s. One way of defining a suitable topic is to ask questions about the text s you have read:.

When you have decided what to focus on, write an introductory passage where you introduce the text s. Here, you tell the reader which text s by which author s you will be discussing in your response paper.

In this paragraph you should also clearly state what you will focus on in your response paper. After the introductory paragraph comes the body of the text, which is the part of the essay where you will discuss the topic you have chosen.

Divide your essay into paragraphs. Remember to start a new paragraph when you begin to discuss something new. Since the response paper is such a short paper, there is usually no need for headings in the text. End your response paper with a concluding paragraph, where you sum up what you have said and draw some conclusion. Like the introduction, the conclusion should be brief — a few sentences will usually do. Although a response paper might be more personal than other kinds of academic essays, it must nonetheless follow the general rules of essay writing.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Most of the time when you are tasked with an essay about a book or article you've read for a class, you will be expected to write in a professional and impersonal voice. But the regular rules change a bit when you write a response paper. A response (or reaction) paper differs from the formal review primarily in that it is written in the first person.

Privacy FAQs

Writing a Reaction or Response Essay Reaction or response papers are usually requested by teachers so that you'll consider carefully what you think or feel about something you've read. The following guidelines are intended to be used for reacting to a reading although they could easily be used for reactions to films too.

About Our Ads

SAMPLE RESPONSE PAPERS. Below is a collection of strong (and exceptionally strong) response papers from students. All received high grades. They are . Aug 16,  · This is a sample reading response essay to an article titled “Cell Phones are Dangerous" by Mary Johnson, agreeing with the article and extending one of the ideas. Intro: Paragraph 1: Dramatic re-telling of a personal story of picking up my cell phone and then realizing that I am going to crash into another hlcss.mls:

Cookie Info

A response paper is a heartfelt letter to the author, a conversation, a dialogue with the work, a great idea, the man, the woman behind the artifact. It is a personal statement of one's epistemology, even of one's own spiritual experience. It is relaxed, clear, uncensored. Jul 24,  · For a response paper, you must read a text, understand the point of the text, and determine what your own response to that point is. The response paper is more analytical than argumentative. Moreover, even though you need to write about your personal response, that response must be credible and not 87%(20).