Response or Reaction Essays

A response or reaction paper is usually assigned as a method for the teacher to get to know the thoughts and feelings about a subject that has been discussed in class, an event, video, a visit to a museum, reading assignment, or etc. Writing a reaction essay should answer questions such as:
• What do you (personally) think about what you have heard in class?
• What did you think about the video?
• Do you agree or disagree with what you have read?
If the class visits a museum the response should be written taking in the information learned in class as well as the student’s personal feelings about the topic. Usually the teacher is looking for a quality analysis of how well they have grasped the topic as well as his/her viewpoint of the museum.

A response or reaction essays are written to describe student's personal response or reaction to a book, video, event, piece of media, etc. These types of essays are meant not to convince the audience but to give student's reaction and explain his feelings. Reaction essays are often used while studding current events, to describe how student feels about them and why.

Writing a good response or reaction essays is more demanding than it may seem at the beginning. Student should not only read the text, understand it, and tell his opinion about it. He should have enough time to understand what each text discusses and how all texts relate to one another. It means that the response papers require student to synthesize the intellectual work of others.

The writing of Response or Reaction Essays involves:

- Critical reading that helps to identify the ideas, organization and purpose of the text;

- Critical thinking that helps to analyze and evaluate the text and ideas;

- Reacting in writing that helps to summarize the key points of the text, state writer's opinion about a particular part of text and support his opinion with appropriate quotations, details and explanation.

There are several steps of writing a good Response or Reaction Essay:

1. The writer should tell about the topic and the key issue that the author is discussing. He should present the author's main claim, point or argument. Assumptions of the author should be also mentioned the same as the evidence he presents.

2. The writer should write about his feelings as to what he has read. It is necessary to point out if the author's claim is supported sufficiently and if the writer agrees or disagrees with the author of the reviewed literary work. In case the student has countearguments to the text's claims, he can write about them also.

3. The writer should write a draft of the summary of the literary work, paraphrasing the author's thesis, his supporting ideas and important details.

4. On this step the writer should write his opinion about the text.

5. The student should share and discuss his ideas about the text.

6. The last step is to write a first draft of the Response or Reaction Essay.

A response or reaction paper is written from the first person point of view, so the author should use such phrases as: I believe that, I see that, in my opinion, it seems that and other. In a response and reaction paper, the student assesses the item he has been assigned to observe, and at the same time adds his personal reaction and impressions to the report.