What is a Reader Response-

Discussion Posts Reader Responses
What is a Reader Response?
A Reader Response is not simply a summary of your reading. A Reader Response is a way of writing about your thinking about the reading, or your reaction(s) to a reading. A Reader Response is not a formal paper, but should be well thought-out, fully developed, and carefully written, nevertheless. It should demonstrate not only that you have carefully read the text, but also that you have thought carefully about the text and engaged with it in some way.
Think about not only the text overall, but also smaller sections of it. How does one incident or theme or phrase or symbol echo the larger meaning of the work? An effective Reader Response will demonstrate that you have thoroughly read and understood the reading. It might develop connections between the reading and the themes of the course to demonstrate that you have considered the implications of the readings.
What do I write about?
The reader responses can address some problematic or puzzling aspect of the text, argue for a particular interpretation or application of a concept in the reading, or relate the reading to previous thinkers or course readings. These responses are open-ended so that you can write about what you want or need to.
If you are struggling to come up with some ideas on what to address in your response, here are some broad prompts that might be able to help:

  • How does this author differ from another author we have read?
  • How does this author fit within their historical context?
  • Are there any discrepancies in the text?
  • Where do you disagree with an author’s interpretation of the text?

Who is the audience? Your audience is the class. While the audience knows the material, we do not know your take on it. So, one of your chief responsibilities is to explain your thinking to us clearly (i.e. use examples), concisely, and convincingly (i.e. you should draw on the reading using evidence to strengthen/clarify your position). You are in conversation with the reading and we should hear both voices (though yours should be slightly louder).
Reader Response Format
Summary Paragraph (1):

  1. Begin by stating the author’s name, the title of the reading (in quotation marks), and the reading’s main point.
  2. Continue summarizing the reading by paraphrasing details and points made by the author.
  3. In the middle of the paragraph, add a direct quotation from the reading that supports what you have just summarized. Remember to always introduce a direction quotation with author’s last name:
  4. Equiano writes, “add quote” (3).
  5. Phillips relates that “add quote” (4).


  1. After the quote, explain why the quote is important, interesting, and something that the reader should understand.
  2. Add a transition sentence to your next paragraph.

Response Paragraphs (2): You can write about anything that connects and relates to the summary paragraph. Remember these two paragraphs discuss the same subject, but in the response paragraph you’re presenting your own ideas, thoughts and opinions. You may try any of the following:

  1. Write about your emotional response while reading the article. Did you feel excited, angry, confused, upset, happy, like a light just went on in your head? Explain your emotional response while reading and be sure to analyze why you felt that way.
  2. Explain to the reader why the ideas presented in the summary paragraph are important. What do they need to know and understand?
  3. Connect the reading to your own personal experience. Does the text remind you of something in your own life?
  4. Argue with the text. Do you agree or disagree?
  5. Evaluate the text. Would you recommend this text to others? Why or why not?


  • MLA style, typed, 12 point, Times New Roman font (I attached a pdf with the format)
  • 400-500 words (double-spaced, pdf file).
  • Avoid outside sources.


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