Reader's Response to Literature

There are different ways readers can respond to literature in order to gain insights into text, reveal their thinking, and interact with literature in meaningful ways.  This page will discuss activities and strategies that will help engage students in literature through written or oral forms.


Reader's Response Journals

At the beginning of the year, model to your students the purpose and use of reader's response journals.  You can do this as part of one of your mini-lessons when introducing students to independent reading or Reader's Workshop.

As you read, write your personal response in your reading log. State your feelings, thoughts, reactions, and questions about situations, ideas, actions, characters, settings, symbols, plots, themes, and any other elements in the story. You can't be wrong in your responses, so take risks and be honest. Write about what you like and dislike, what seems confusing or unusual to you. Tell what you think something means. Make predictions about what might happen later. Relate your personal experiences which connect with the plot, characters, or setting. Don't just summarize the plot. Let me hear your voice.  Remember your response journal is a place to record your reactions and questions, not a place to simply summarize what you've read. Sometimes a summary will be necessary to get your point across. After you read the selection, ask yourself these questions. Decide which would make the best entry from your response journal. You may certainly use other ideas of your own. Just make sure you include more than just a summary of what is happening. Support your summaries with what you are feeling as you read your book. Doing this will help you get the MOST from your book.



Literature Circles
Take a look at the literature circles section for information on this collaborative form of responding to literature.

Reader's Theater
This section looks at reader's theater, which is an oral form of responding to literature.  Scripts are provided in these pages for favorite books.  A good idea would be to have students create their own reader's theater scripts based on stories they've read.  Children can also act out favorite scenes.

Comprehension Strategies
These strategies will help students with their comprehension as they read text.  When students respond to literature, they can demonstrate either orally or in writing how or if they used any of the strategies as they read. 

Other Literature Response Activities:

  • Compare and contrast characters, two books or texts, etc.

  • Create an alternate ending.

  • Create a book jacket.

  • Retell a story.

  • Summarize a book

  • Write a letter to a character.

  • Make a puzzle depicting a scene or a character.

  • Create a poem about the text.

  • Create a crossword puzzle based on the story.

  • Make a cartoon of your favorite scene or an entire story.

  • Write a review.

  • Create a scrapbook.