Response to Reading

A response to a reading can be brief, such as one paragraph, or quite lengthy. In the intermediate grades a response essay is about five paragraphs and is written with an emphasis on analysis. For example, students respond to a reading and analyze the author's strategies and the craft. The most difficult skill that students struggle with is interpretation of the text, which they are writing or responding to, as well as elaborating on the evidence they use. The key is to elaborate without being wordy, repetitive, or writing off topic. This occurs when students have a variety of information or sources. Using graphic organizers and structured formats can help students be organized and concise. One way to prepare for this type of writing is encouraging independent reading of both fiction and nonfiction. An example of a structured format is below.

TAG (title, author, genre)
Thesis (main claim)
Body 3 main points supporting your thesis
CEI = Claim, Evidence, Interpretation (explain)
Evidence starters: For example, The author states, According to (name of text), A specific instance is
Interpretation (explain) starters: This shows, This demonstrates, This proves, This means, Obviously, Specifically
General Emphasis of the 3 main points
Connect to hook


Writing to persuade an audience can be very difficult and challenging. However when writers support their writing with solid evidence for their claims, they just may convince their audience to take their side, or at the very least a writer can prove to be credible. Within a piece of writing, this evidence, or proof, can be summarized information directly from the text, quotations from the text, or paraphrased information. Evidence should be taken from primary (diary, letter, novel, short story) and secondary sources (text book, websites, articles) and, most importantly, be cited. A citation is specific information that gives details about what source is being used, where the information came from (internet, text book), and when the information was published (recent information is considered up to date and, therefore, more accurate).

All the other elements of writing should also be demonstrated.
See Response to Reading for essay format.


This genre of writing centralizes around the main ideas of a piece of text, a lecture, a conversation, an interview, or a play to name a few. Students may have difficulty determining what is important and essential and this critical thinking skill is necessary in order to write a summary. Many tend to include details that are not relevant to the main idea or message of the text. The author's purpose or intent is also relevant to determining the focus of the summary. The student's main task is to summarize, in their own wording, the key information rather than trying to prove a point or persuade an audience.
All other elements of writing should be demonstrated.

ELEMENTS OF WRITING: All Writing should:
-Hook the reader's (audience) attention
-Include a thesis statement to focus the reader throughout the essay
-Support the thesis with relevant information and/or examples that are clear, concise, and accurate
-Include many transitions so the writing has fluency or flow
-Use appropriate grade level vocabulary
-Follow a cohesive format or structure to prevent unfocused, confusing, and disorganized prose (all writing except poetry)
-Have proper usage of language conventions, grammar, and mechanics