Writing Plan & Instructions for the Reading Response Essay
Instructions: You will write a 500-word paper in which you respond to one of the stories found in Stories for the Reading Response Essay . Be sure that you read the text several times and take notes (annotate) so that you have an in depth understanding of the story before you begin writing. This is a formal, academic essay and should use proper MLA format. You should have a total of five paragraphs: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Be sure to give your paper a unique title. The use of “you” is NOT allowed. Transitions are important in this style of writing. Some transitions that could be used in this essay are: also, another, not only, but, while. You must use evidence to back up any statements. That means specific examples and explanations. Don’t use “I think”; this is your essay, it is a given that this is what you think.
—First of all, be sure to mention the title of the work to which you are responding, the author, and the main thesis of the text, using correct English for the first sentence of your paper! Then, give a brief summary of what happens in the story in your introduction. Let the last sentence of your introduction be your thesis statement (argument you intend to make concerning the story).
(Choose 1-2 of the following prompts below to write on for your body paragraphs)
a. What does the text have to do with you, personally, and with your life (past, present or future)?
b. How much does the text agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and wrong? Use several quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world, about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human. Use quotes and examples from the text.
c How much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text, if at all? Did the text communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text failed to convince you, the way it is). Please do not write “I agree with everything the author wrote,” since everybody disagrees about something, even if it is a tiny point.
d. How well does it address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the world? How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition? If not, who does or did the text serve?
e. Critique the text. Reading and writing “critically” does not mean the same thing as “criticizing,” in everyday language (complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your “critique” can and should be positive and praise the text if possible, as well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings.
f. How well did you enjoy the text (or not) as entertainment or as a work of art? Use quotes or examples to illustrate the quality of the text as art or entertainment.
g. To sum up, what is your overall reaction to the text? Would you read something else like this, or by this author, in the future or not? Why or why not? To whom would you recommend this text?
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