Writing a Reaction Paper without Anybody’s Help

Your instructor usually gives you a task to prepare a reaction paper in order to check your thoughts and feelings about something you have read. This might not be easy, because you need to not just express your opinion on some issue, but read the text as closely as possible and give responses to the implied ideas and analyze the main points an author wanted to convey to readers.

To express your reaction of the reading you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do I feel about reading this book/text/article, etc.?
  • What do I agree and disagree with?
  • Can I identify myself with the situation in a book?
  • What is the best way to evaluate the story of the book?

Read the text you have been asked to read and at the same time try to answer the question mentioned above. This will help you to allocate the main points of your reaction paper.

Prepare a Summary of the Work

To develop the first part of your paper, follow these steps:

  • Identify the title of the work and its author and include the publication date and the publisher in parentheses. If it is a magazine, provide a publication date.
  • Compose an informative overview of the material you read.
  • Reduce the content of the work by allocating main ideas and key points.
  • Demonstrate important ideas from the text with the use of direct quotes.
  • Sum up the material to help the reader see a general overview of all crucial aspects of the work.
  • Do not concentrate on discussing a single aspect of the work, but at the same time do not miss important points.
  • Keep your summary factual and objective. Do not provide your personal reaction to the text in the first part of your paper. Your subjective opinion will be the basis of the second part of your paper.

Discussing Your Reaction to the Work

Your personal reaction to the work should be illustrated in the second part of your project when writing a reaction paper. To do this, follow the steps:

  • Concentrate on all or some of the following questions. Ask your instructor whether they want you to highlight certain points.
  • How is the work you need to read related to the concerns and ideas you have discussed during your course you are writing the paper for? For instance, what points from the course lectures or class discussions are reflected or fully revealed in the book?
  • How do the issues of the work relate to the modern days?
  • How are the issues and ideas from the work related to your personal feelings, experiences, ideas, and life? For example, what emotions you had when reading the book?
  • Did the work help you better understand particular issues? Has your perspective been changed?
  • Assess the merit of the work: its accuracy, importance of points, organization, completeness, etc.
  • Also, in the end of this section indicate whether or not you would recommend this book. Explain why.

Points to Consider When Writing a Reaction Paper

In the course of preparing a paper it is recommended to follow some important elements:

  • Use basic standards of effective writing (coherence, support, unity, and clear sentences without mistakes).
  • Make sure every paragraph presents one main point.
  • Give details and reasons when you provide your general ideas or express your attitudes. For instance, it is meaningless to say that you are agreeing with many ideas in the text if you are not giving any evidence that supports your opinion.
  • Organize the material in a proper structure.
  • Edit the paper when you’re done writing it by checking mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, word use, and mechanics.
  • Provide citations or quotes from the book you are writing about by applying an appropriate citation style.
  • Publishing information should be included in parenthesis in a footnote in the bottom of the page.

Organization of Your Reaction Paper

A reaction paper consists of an introduction (gives basic information and consists of one or two paragraphs), a main part (contains paragraphs that provide evidence for your thesis statement), and a conclusion (restatement of you have said in the paper).

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