Writing a Response

A text response is a style of writing in which you are sharing your reaction to something.  It is an opportunity to let the world know how you feel about something.  

A text response by definition is specifically a response to a book you have read but it can also be  a response to a film you have just seen, a game you have been playing, or for more mature students it could be a response to decision the government is making that effects you or your community that you have read from a newspaper or website.

When writing a response it is important that you get the following points across to your audience.

  • How do you feel about what you are reading / saw / heard?
  • What do you agree or disagree with?
  • Can you identify with the situation?
  • What would be the best way to evaluate the story?

A response is not typically lengthy piece of writing and being succinct is a key skill within the response process.  A single page is generally ample length for this style of writing.

The Writing Process

In a response paper, you are writing a formal assessment of you have read or observing (this could be a film, a work of art, or a book), but you add your own personal reaction and impressions to the report.

The steps for completing a reaction or response paper are:

  • Observe or read the piece for an initial understanding
  • Record your thoughts and impressions in notes
  • Develop a collection of thoughts and insights from 
  • Write an outline
  • Construct your essay

Once you have established an outline for your paper, you'll need to respond using the basic elements of every strong essay, a strong introductory statement.

In the case of a reaction paper, the first senetence should contain the title of the object to which you are responding, and the name of the author / creator / publisher

The last sentence of your introductory papragraph should contain your stance or position on the subject you are writing about.

There's no need to feel shy about expressing your own opinion in a response, even though it may seem strange to write "I feel" or "I believe" in an essay.

How to write a text response

Useful statements to include in a response.

  • I felt that
  • In my opinion
  • The reader can conclude that
  • The author seems to
  • I did not like
  • The images seemed to
  • The author was [was not] successful in making me feel
  • I was especially moved by
  • I didn't get the connection between
  • It was clear that the artist was trying to
  • The sound track seemed too
  • My favorite part was...because
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Video Tutorials on writing a response