How to write a Reading Response【Free PDF Templates】

A reading response summarizes a literary work, book, text, story, etc. In schools or universities, it is necessary to learn how to write a reading response since it is a way to understand a text and synthesize it in a couple of sentences, where the narrator gives a brief opinion about what has been read and analyzed previously.

The readers often do not know how to translate what they have read in a short text, so they will have to resort to a reading response if they are asked to summarize an original work.

What is a reading response?

The reading response is usually a summary, analysis, point of view, or interpretation of the original text. In short, this summarizing method gives a specific and personal focus on what you have finished reading.

Since this is a summary of a long text, several points must be taken into account, especially when making a reading response to prevent this short text from becoming a rehash of the original, that is, without a point of view of its own.

The reading response is mainly used by teachers who test the reading assignments given to their students. For example, a teacher gives them a book to read and, in return, will ask the students for a reading response in which they briefly explain what they liked about the reading and the conclusions they have drawn from the text.

In summary, the reading response should demonstrate that the reader has understood the text. In addition, it also shows the reactions that the reader experiences at the end of the book.

What is a reading response for?

In the reading response, the students must comment, in writing, their feelings, reflections, and opinions about the text they read. This learning method evaluates whether or not the students have read the book (if they have done the homework) and tests each student’s reading comprehension.

The reading response is one of the learning techniques most used by teachers since it is efficient when asking the student to explain and give his point of view about the text. That helps the students to improve their expression and reading skills. Also, it helps to read and follow the text, interpreting each paragraph.

Teachers promote reading by discussing the topic analyzed in the book so that students can exchange opinions, reflect on thoughts and nurture from their peers. On the other hand, teachers assess students’ comprehension skills, which helps detect some early maturational delays in children.

What should an essential reading response include?

A reading response will never be right or wrong, as it is an individual student’s opinion and, like any reflection, is valid. The students should not be concerned with their grades but with understanding (and reading) the text.

A reading response should explain the students’ liking or disliking of the text, explaining their response and defending their position. This response should include the following aspects:

  • Reasons why the students liked or disliked the text.
  • Explain why they agree or disagree with the author’s explanation.
  • Identify the purpose of the text.
  • Conclude and reflect on what was read.


How to write a reading response?

The readers can write their reading response as they wish, but it is recommended to follow a structure to organize the information. Each student processes information differently, so what each analysis will contain will depend on the reader.

However, the student can follow the following steps to write a reading response correctly and neatly.

  1. Introduction: Write 1 or 2 paragraphs that outline what the text is about. Possible conclusions and hypotheses that the reader had before reading the text are provided (which will be explained at the end of the response).
  2. Background: The book is introduced in a 2- or 3-paragraph summary. That contains arguments provided by the context in which the text was written. For example, mention the century or year in which the text was written or the date it is based. The reader can also note the relationship between the text read and other literary works.
  3. Analysis: In this section, the readers give their point of view on what has been read and understood in the text. That is, they share their opinion on the book’s subject matter. It is like the “thesis” of the essay. It can briefly develop the text’s main argument or, on the contrary, focus on a single theme designed in the book. In addition, it is crucial to quote fragments of the text to explain what you think about it or to provide examples and arguments that support your position on what is written.
  1. Conclusion: In this last paragraph, comment on the hypothesis written in the first point (introduction), and provide a close reflection on the reader’s thoughts before and after reading the text. In addition, you can add the different aspects and meanings that the book has had for the reader and what contributions it can bring to literature.

Frequent examples of reading responses

Examples of reader responses that are most commonly used are:

  • Opinion pieces.
  • Analysis.
  • Essays.
  • Critiques of a text, book, poem, novel, short story, etc.

Reading responses not only helps to summarize a text or explain the meaning and content of it, but it is also a way to teach the student to expose his point of view. The students learn to be subjective, developing their own opinions through discussions. They can show their position concerning the characters and explain the purpose of the book’s plot.