In the process of writing reading responses, the importance of choice cannot be understated. Students feel like they are in control of their responses; they can view the text through whatever lens they choose.
Reading responses can be used with any genre, fiction or nonfiction. It's not necessary to specify which ones students should choose with any specific genre. Although most of the reading response categories are not genre-specific, many of them, such as Character Description or Cite the Claim, were formulated with a genre in mind. Even so, students will mix categories and genres in creative ways. Whenever this happens, commend the student for thinking flexibly and creatively. Below are just some examples of reading response categories:
- Give an Opinion.
- Ask a Question.
- Make a Connection.
- Character Description.
- Detect a Conflict.
- Find Foreshadowing.
- Cite the Claim.
By letting students choose how to respond to a text, teachers compel them to pay closer attention to what they are reading and to become absorbed in the text as a whole. With the practice of reading response writing, students do not have to answer specific questions with definitive answers. Instead, they can read with presence, and decide at the end what aspect they would like to respond to.
Marilyn Pryle is an English teacher at Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, PA and has taught middle and high school English for over twenty years. She is the author of several books about teaching reading and writing, including 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities and Writing Workshop in Middle School. Learn more about Marilyn at marilynpryle.com.
You can follow Marilyn on Twitter @MPryle