Writing a Reading Response
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reading response
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The "recipe" for writing a reading response is an easy one. A reading response is nothing but an MLA heading, a title, a summary and a commentary. The following will show you exactly what I mean...

Reading Response

  • Start with an MLA heading. Starting at the left margin, write your full name on one line. Skip a line and write my name on the next line (Mrs. Munnier.) Skip a line and write the formal title of this class (Literature 8.) Skip another line and write the date, European-style (for example, 23 September 2003).  
  • After your MLA heading, you must write a title for your reading response. Skip a line. In the center of that line, write Reading Response: Skip another line. Write the title of whatever piece of literature you are writing about and that author of that literature. For example, "Stop the Sun" by Gary Paulsen. Center the title of the literature and the author's name as well.  
  • Skip another line. Now you are ready to begin writing your summary. At the left margin, write Summary: and then begin writing a summary of the piece of literature that is the focus of your reading response. A summary is nothing more than re-telling the story in your own words. You will want to focus on the main parts and leave out insignificant details. Remember to write on every other line if you are writing by hand. If you are typing, double-space.  
  • Skip another line, and on the left margin write Commentary: Here is where you will write your opinion of a piece of literature that you have read. It is perfectly acceptable if you do not enjoy a particular reading, but you must be able to effectively articulate your reasons for liking OR disliking what we have read.  
  • If you prefer not to voice an opinion with regard to a piece of literature, you may also choose to discuss one particular character which you've come to "know" through the reading. Tell what characteristics about him or her that you admire, or what qualities you find offensive. However, you may write about only ONE character per commentary if you choose this option.  
  • You may choose to write about the way a piece of literature makes you feel. Perhaps, for example, reading about the plight of Anne Frank makes you feel sad or angry. If you choose this option, your task will be, first of all, to identify your feelings. The bulk of your commentary then must explain what exists within the text to provoke the emotions you feel as a result of having read the literature.  
  • Perhaps the literature reminds you of someone you have known, or something that has taken place in your life. If you select this option, be specific when you are providing "flashbacks" from your own past. Remember also that there is a difference between writing something personal and sharing something that is exclusive or private.  
  • ONE FINAL INSTRUCTION--DON'T MAKE THIS ASSIGNMENT HARDER THAN WHAT IT HAS TO BE. IN A COMMENTARY, YOU ARE BASICALLY JUST "TALKING" TO ME ABOUT SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ! Also, it is not cheating to have someone proofread your paper for errors. Effective writers make a HABIT of doing this.  
  • In general, a summary must contain at least 10 sentences and a commentary must also contain at least 10 sentences.  
  • To see an EXAMPLE OF A READING RESPONSE, see the document list to the left.  

Make SURE you are writing on every other line. If you are typing, you must double-space EVERYTHING, including the title.