Posted: May 11th, 2015
McCready, A. L. 2013. Yellow Ribbons: The militarization of National Identity in Canada. Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing
The purpose of the reading response is to go beyond summary and to engage actively with the reading to question the lecture or text, argue with its thesis, or reinforce its conclusions according to your general knowledge and opinions. Preparing for the reading response requires active reading and may entail going beyond the text to incorporate other ideas in your arguments.
In preparation for writing a response, keep the following questions in mind while reading:
-With what do you agree or disagree? Why?
-On what does the author/professor based his/er argument?
-What does the author leave out of his/er argument?
-What does this mean for the argument?
-Does the author/professor reinforce, question, or contradict other writers’ ideas?
-Can you find real-world situations that evidence or contradict the author/professor’s ideas?
If you are new to writing reading responses, it may be helpful to do a pre-writing exercise.
Complete as many statements as possible from the list below about the text you have just read or lecture you heard:
-My Reaction to What I Just Read or heard Is That . ..
– I think that
– I see that
-I feel that
-It seems that
– In my opinion,
– A good quote is
– In addition,
– In conclusion,
By completing these statements, you have written a very rough response paper that now must be organized and supplemented with further evidence, including evidence from outside the text.
If you are more familiar with writing reading responses, you may wish to make your reaction papers more complex.
Consider the following approaches in developing your ideas:
-Compare and contrast two texts on the same topic
-Evaluate one author’s argument from the point of view of another scholar in the field
-In the case of older texts, address how recent scholarship and history might change the ideas developed in the reading -Consider the reading from a particular intellectual perspective (e.g feminist, Marxist, structuralist)
-Think about what other disciplines might bring to bear on the ideas being addressed in the text
A reaction/response paper has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should contain all the basic information and argument of your response in one paragraph. State the title(s) and author(s) you read and restate their thesis/es very [very!] briefly. Remember that the purpose is to give your RESPONSE, not to summarize. Clearly state your thesis or the approach you will take with the remainder of the paper. You may agree, disagree, critique, or evaluate the text(s). The body of your response should contain 3-4 paragraphs that provide support for your thesis or develop the approach you describe in the introduction. Each paragraph should contain one main idea that is thoroughly explained and supported through citation and evidence. Topic sentences should support the thesis, and the final sentence of each paragraph should lead into the next paragraph. You have a good deal of latitude in developing your conclusion. The conclusion can be a restatement of your paper’s thesis, a comment that illustrates your overall reaction, or a contexualization of your response. Think of your conclusion as a way to weave together the various threads of your paper and reinforce your main idea. You should generally not introduce new information or evidence at this point.
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