Responding to a Reading

Learning Objective:

  • Use answers from seven key questions to write a one-paragraph response that reflects an understanding and personal opinion of a reading.

An important part of thinking critically is being able to understand what you read and to respond to that readingA piece of writing to be read. A reading can either be a full work (i.e., a book) or partial (i.e., a passage). in a thoughtful way. In this lesson, you will learn how to increase your understanding of a reading by identifying the authorA person who wrote a text.'s main ideaThe most important or central thought of a reading selection. It also includes what the author wants the reader to understand about the topic he or she has chosen to write about. as well as the author's intended audienceThe group of people a writer expects to read a text. Writers use specific language, details, and examples to speak directly to their intended audience. For example, you would write and organize your work differently if your audience was a group of experts in the field of your work than if it was a group of undergraduate students being introduced to the topic. and purposeThe reason the writer is writing about a topic. It is what the writer wants the reader to know, feel, or do after reading the work.. You will also learn how to form a personal opinionPoint of view that shows a personal belief or bias and cannot be proven to be completely true. of a reading. Finally, you will use the writing processA series of steps that guides a writer through the process of gathering ideas, outlining, writing, and revising an essay, article, or story. to write a one-paragraphA selection of a writing that is made up of sentences formed around one main point. Paragraphs are set apart by a new line and sometimes indentation. responseA written analysis of a reading that shows understanding and fosters deep thinking about a work. showing your understanding of a reading. To do this, you will read a textWords that make up a book, essay, article, poem, or speech. and then break it down by examining seven key questions:

1. What is the main idea of the reading?

2. Who is the audience for the reading?

3. What is the author's purpose for writing about this topicThe subject of a reading. ?

4. What is the author's opinion about the topic?

5. Do you agree or disagree with the author?

6. Why do you agree or disagree with the author?

7. What can you bring to the discussion about this topic?

These questions are important because they allow you to: 1) break down the reading's content, 2) understand what the author thinks and is trying to accomplish in the reading, and 3) begin to formulate an opinion about the reading's contentThe text in a writing that includes facts, thoughts, and ideas. The information that forms the body of the work..

Once you have answered the seven questions about the reading, you can take your responses and turn them into a response paragraph. Start by writing a very short summaryA brief restatement of an author’s main idea and major supporting details. Summaries are factual and should be written in the third-person with an objective point of view. of the reading, noting the main idea, purpose, and author's opinion. You can use the answers to the first four questions to help you write this part of the response. You should also include the titleThe name that identifies a work. Example: The Old Man and The Sea is the title of a book by Earnest Hemingway. and author, if available. After you address the author's point of viewThe perspective from which an author considers a subject or issue., finish by providing your opinion of the piece, which will be the answers to the last three questions.