How to Write a Reading Response

What is a Reading Response

A reading response is a task that asks you to examine, explain, and defend your personal response to a given work of literature. Many students find writing reading responses difficult because the responsibility of assigning meaning to a text lies with the writer of the response. Although reading response tasks may feel a bit vague or open ended, you can write a successful response by following a standard essay format. Here are some tips to write a reading response, a good reading response.

How to Write a Reading Response

Read the Text Carefully

It is important to read the text fully and carefully before start to write a reading response. Take time to think what the text makes you feel; make notes so that you won’t forget this response later. Highlight or bookmark important parts of the text or write down their page numbers.

Think Carefully

Don’t start to write a reading response just after you’ve finished reading. Take the time to think carefully about the whole text and what it made you feel. Take down notes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like or dislike the text?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the writer?
  • Does the text clash with your personal views?
  • How does the text relate to you personally?
  • To what extent did the text challenge or change your opinions or beliefs?
  • Did you learn anything from the text? If so, what did you learn?
  • What is your overall reaction to the text?How to Write a Reading Response - 1

Make a Draft

Decide your stance

A good essay always has a clear main argument or a thesis statement. If your teacher has given a specific central question, the thesis statement may be related to this question; if not, your main argument should be on the overall impression of the text.

How to Write a Reading Response

Make an Outline

If you have been given a word limit or a page count, you may have to be especially careful about the structure of your essay. The reader response generally takes the format of an essay,

Format / Structure of Reader Response

  • Introduction

Start your introduction with the name of the author and the full title of the work. Give a brief description of the text and explain what it is about. But, don’t try to summarise the story. Then, explain your main argument.

  • Body

Divide your content into different points and address each point in different paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs in the essay can actually depend on the content of your reader response. You can use the questions you explored earlier to separate these paragraphs.

When you are writing about your reading, don’t just explain how you felt about the text – analyse why you felt it. Give examples from the text and from your real life. You can also use quotes from the text to make your answers more relevant.

  • Conclusion

 In this section, summarise the argument you have made so far, and connect it to your thesis statement or main argument. The conclusion can be just one short paragraph.


Read your answer several times and make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.