How to Respond a Text
There are several main approaches you can implement in a reading responsive essay:
- If you have the same opinion, you are to support it in your essay giving at least three reasons why you agree with the author’ ideas.
- If the author’s opinion doesn’t match yours, you are to give your reasons for your disagreement.
- Often, you may be of the same opinion with the author on some points, but contradict him or her on others. Ground all your arguments.
- Think about why the text has been written. What was the author’s ultimate goal? Was the author objective in his or her judgments? Has there been any personal experience that has made the author draw these particular conclusions.
- Examine a separate part of the text under your consideration and provide your readers with its analysis.
- Mind that a reading response essay doesn't require you to be 100% objective. So, you can describe the emotions you had when you were reading the text. It is vital to remember, however, that you have to explain it. Was it connected with the context or the topic? Author's tone or style? The manner of presenting the information?
NB: Any essay has to consist of the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. There is no way you can exclude any of those. Although many successful students develop their own system of writing an excellent paper, the general guidelines are the same for everybody.
The Body Paragraphs
The main body is the core of your essay in which you are going to prove your point step by step. In the body paragraphs, you are to support your thesis statement giving a particular number of arguments (usually, one per paragraph) based on your research and experience. You can borrow some points from the primary source. But it is essential to see the difference between duplicating them and citing them for your own purpose.
Here are the principal rules for writing the main body:
- It includes at least three paragraphs. Therefore, if you are assigned to write a five paragraph essay, you can’t write a two-paragraph introduction, as the number of body paragraphs will be insufficient.
- A body paragraph contains a single idea. It starts with a topic sentence in which you express this idea. If you think that a transition sentence is necessary in this case, write it at the end of the previous paragraph.
- Each topic sentence is followed by evidence. This is the part where you prove a separate point. Summarizing of all evidence will bring you to your conclusion. In a reading responsive essay, it is possible to combine the evidence based on your research with those based on your personal observations.
- You must mention the author each time you use the ideas from the primary source. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with these ideas, such tags will allow you to make a distinction between your thoughts and those of the author. Therefore, it helps you escape plagiarism in your work.
- You are to make it clear why you have chosen this piece of writing for your essay. Are there ideas that can improve the current situation? Are there any that threaten the progress in this field? How does it concern you as a reader?
How to Separate Your Ideas from the Ones of the Author
When you first present the work under consideration, you should provide your reader with the full information about it, including the author's name, some background information about the author you find relevant, the type of paper, its title, and its summary.
Whenever you turn to your primary source, you are to distinguish what the author says from your own ideas. Thus, you use an author tag each time you mention any of his or her ideas. Besides the author’s name, a tag also includes a reporting verb.
Here are some examples of author tags:
- Johnson analyzes
- Johnson claims
- Johnson clarifies
- Johnson criticizes
- Johnson finds
- Johnson highlights
- Johnson insists
- Johnson states.
The Ways to Diversify the Author’s Tags
Here are the alternatives to the most common reporting verbs:
- Writes - asserts, believes, concludes, discusses, finds, notes, says, shows, suggests, thinks
- Agrees - acknowledges, admits, cites, comments(positively), comes to terms, concedes, consents, recognizes, esponds (positively), supports
- Disagrees - argues, confronts, contradicts, counters, criticizes, denies, disproves, insists (on the opposite), negates, rejects
Writing the Conclusion Of a Reading Response Essay
Your conclusion should contain a thesis statement, rephrased and enlarged using the evidence you've used in your essay. You are to make some final remarks on the topic, but never should you include any new information in this part. There are also some creative ways to make your conclusion interesting to your readers:
- demonstrate the possibilities of researching your topic
- inspire them to some action
- use the ‘framing’ to make your paper integral.
An Example of a Reading Response Essay Outline
Using Cell Phones While Driving: How Dangerous Is It?
Introduction Paragraph #1:
Present the article you are going to respond to in your work. Write the first part of a scenario featuring a person who answers the phone while driving.
Introduction Paragraph #2:
Summarize the author’s points relevant to your topic. Make a thesis statement: Driving requires you to be completely focused, or Today’s drivers should be allowed to talk on the phone while driving because they are used to it, unlike drivers 20 years ago.
Body Paragraph #1:
There is legislation controlling speaking on the phone while driving.
Body Paragraph #2:
Sometimes, answering the phone is essential. If you agree with the author: However, you can always halt to do so or call back as soon as possible. If you disagree: And there is not always a chance to halt.
Body Paragraph #3:
Hand-free technologies allow us to speak while driving. If you agree with the author: But it is still dangerous to get distracted. If you don’t agree: And this is as save as talking to passengers while you are driving.
Restate your thesis, summarize your arguments and evidence.
The Difference Between a Reading Response Essay, an Evaluation Essay, and a Review
A reading response essay, an evaluation essay, and a review have the purpose of demonstrating your personal opinion. This is what mainly differs them from a critical essay, for example.
Moreover, they have a lot of common features. But it is essential to see the difference between them if you want to get the desired A. All of them show whether you agree or disagree with the author and whether you liked his or her writing or not. In each of these papers, you are to prove your point and explain why you have such an opinion. However, in the case of a reading response essay, you don't have to impose your own opinion on your readers. Thus, you leave them the choice to agree or disagree with you.