Very often students are given the task to write their own opinion about the book they read.  For many students studying literature, this is just an impossible task; they do not know where to start. There is no binding scheme here, but several rules can be followed to facilitate the work.

What is a Reading Response Essay

In the response, you convey your personal opinion about the work you read, your thoughts and feelings that have arisen in you as you read the book or after. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to read the work. It is also recommended in the process of reading to write down your personal attitude to this or that hero, to note those moments that you liked. These entries will help greatly when writing your feedback.

How to Choose a Good Reading Response Essay

What should I consider when I write a book review? Here are some criteria for evaluating a work:

  • the logical nature of the plot,
  • the dynamism of the narrative;
  • the realism of heroes’ characters,
  • thoroughness and reliability;
  • feelings caused by heroes;
  • author’s style and language;
  • the correspondence of the details of reality;
  • the behavior of heroes, their reaction to events;
  • the uniqueness of the work;
  • ethics and originality of the main idea;
  • presence of blunders;
  • relevance;
  • personal feelings.

Analyze all the point is not necessary, you can choose those that you want to tell. When describing your feelings, you can clarify what thoughts and emotions the book caused, maybe you want to leave it in the home library and reread it in the future.

In order to choose a good reading response essay, you should also know what mistakes should be avoided in writing.

Overconfidence makes some reviewers think that their opinion is true, and their review carries the light of knowledge to the reader. If you are not open to dialogue, are not ready to discuss, and consider your opinion the truth in the last resort, then it will be hard to write a really good job. However, there is another mistake: uncertainty causes potentially good reviewers to be shy of their opinions and consider it to be wrong in advance.

To write a review of one novel, you need to read a dozen. Do not make hasty conclusions about the author, if he wrote six works, and you read only one. This does not mean that you can not write a review of this one novel, but do not make a mistake: do not generalize. Imagine this situation: you love complex works and immortal classics, but you were asked to write a review of Stephen King, and you can not refuse. In order for your review to be literate, it is advisable to read a little more mass literature than the only book by Stephen King and put yourself in the place of fans of the genre. Otherwise, your review risks turning into narcissism and the reader will not take anything out of it, except that the reviewer is a literary snob.

Another common mistake is emotionality. Separate your own feelings from the analysis of the work and try not to fall into a too emotional tone. Your task is to justify, arguing your point of view, and not to smear the author on the wall or put him on a pedestal. As a reviewer, you have no right to say “I do not like it” and stop at this. Analyze the work. Now it’s fashionable to write biting, harsh reviews, but by and large, your criticism should remain benevolent.

Finally, the absolute champion among the mistakes is the retelling of the book instead of its analysis. For this phenomenon, there is a good word from the world of cinema – “spoilers.” Do not spoil the reader’s pleasure, retelling the story. Analyze the work without the line paraphrase.

Topic Ideas

Here are some indicators to be guided by in choosing a book for Reading Response Essay.

  • Nobel laureates. Nobel Prize is given only to those who deserve it. Therefore, if the author is a Nobel laureate in literature, boldly take the book. You will be fascinated by the variety of themes and genres of works written by laureates. Especially noteworthy are the titled writers of recent years – their books are up-to-date and modern.
  • The screen version of the books. Is there a film according to the book that you think is worth reading to write an essay? It’s a beautiful sign. After all, the creators of the film felt that this is the plot that the audience will like. Films are shot only on interesting books that contain stories with vivid characters and worthy ideas. Students who like more action and less reflection in the book should pay close attention to screen versions. The film is based on incidents, constant movement. Therefore, a boring book, in which the characters just sit and philosophize, cannot be turned into a film. If you are interested in a storyline, always pay attention to films from books.
  • Experiments with genres. Are you a connoisseur of detectives? Then try to read poetry. Or vice versa. Put the most daring experiments; choose genres that are opposite to your tastes. Take what you never intended to read. If the book “does not go” from the first pages – do not hurry to postpone it. This is the force of habit. Read at least a third – and you get used to the book, evaluate the novelty and discover a lot of new things. Perhaps, it is this genre for a long time will become a favorite.
  • Themes. The theme is important when choosing a book. It’s important not to get caught up in advertising. Each book is described in the annotation as if it is the most interesting of all existing books. But if the topic of the work is uninteresting to you-you should not read even a very “praise” book with the intention of writing an essay about it. Something like “The greatest book of all time according to the Time magazine version” can be written on the cover. Maybe it’s true, but such advertising should not influence you. Always remember that if you are not interested in, for example, history, then the book “The Fall of the Roman Empire” is not for you.
  • Classic. A writer is considered a classic, but you do not like his books? Do not rush to forget about him. Perhaps the author wrote in other genres? Try to read his other works. But if you are not interested in another genre, you can safely postpone the book. It’s just “not your” writer.
  • Literary fashion. Is it worth choosing a book that the whole world seems to be talking about? Most often, fashion is not an indicator. Promotion of the book can be the result of the work of good PR managers, but not the quality of the written material. Usually, the term “glory” of the novelty is only two weeks. In two weeks, if the book is ordinary – everyone forgets about it and does not remember anymore. But there are exceptions. People do not get tired of discussing a good work. Therefore, if the book has become fashionable, the best advice is to wait. Time will tell whether it is worth reading it or not.

Essay Structure of Reading Response Essay

Interestingly expounding his thoughts about what he has read, the reviewer forms readers’ interest in the work or, conversely, discourages the desire to read. Here is some advice on how to write a reading response essay.

Tip 1. Before writing a review, it is advisable not to read other people’s reviews about the book. Their thoughts are messed up with yours, or you start to write not in your own words. It is possible that someone has already expressed his opinion similar to yours about a work. Nevertheless, when writing a review, the impressions of a particular person are important, taking into account his experience and worldview.

Tip 2. It can be, on the contrary, the reviewer’s opinion differs from the generally accepted one. For example, a book is considered universally recognized masterpieces, and the reviewer did not like certain points that spoiled the overall impression of the book. Do not be afraid that the opinion contradicts the majority, in which case it will bring even more benefit to the readers.

Tip 3. Strictly follow the structure.


It is needed to start with a short review of the book: the title of the work, the author, the place where events and time took place, which is the main character. Here you can also write what you know about the author.

Main Part

In the second part of the work, try to express your personal opinion about the book you read. Write what you liked about the book, and why. For what and why did you like one of the heroes. Describe the places in the book that interested you. Tell us what you think about the main characters, what features of their character and actions you liked or did not like. You do not need to retell the contents of the book, stop on those moments that you most remember. It will be very good if you write how you feel about what is described in the book, express your personal attitude to the problem or situation in the work.


Here you give your assessment of the book you read. Try to write what useful you learned from this book, what it made you think about. You can wish something or advise your friends who will read this book. At the conclusion of the review, tell us what language the book is written in, whether it is easy to read. Finish with a quote or excerpt from the book you read.

Response Essay Examples

Jojo Moyes “Me Before You”

Romantic book of Jojo Moyes first causes fears of an abundance of sentimental clichés. Handsome aristocrat, by the will of fate, chained to a wheelchair, and his beautiful servant makes up a rather banal beginning of history. But after a few pages, the reader discovers that the novel is not about love, but about the right to dispose of one’s own life. The hero is determined to euthanize, and the heroine believes in love, but by the end of the book each of them has to make his difficult choice. Images of heroes are not patterned. The writer has obviously processed a lot of psychological literature or consulted with psychologists, so the novel abounds in details that deepen the characters and make us believe the stories. So, Jojo Moyes managed to take an unoriginal idea and turn it into a deeply psychological novel about responsibility for oneself and one’s body.

Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”

I was very sad to read this book. For me, this story is a clear example of life laid for the sake of an unworthy person. For me, Daisy is unworthy. Of course, Daisy is a woman of her time and upbringing. Perhaps it is not right to condemn her for having taken the lead of public opinion and parental pressure by choosing the life she was used to. And, probably, we can not blame her for cowardice, which she showed when she refused to leave her husband despite her relationship with Jay. But she can not be justified because of the game with human lives and feelings due to the boredom. After all, she perfectly saw where everything was going, and just watched, enjoyed the attention. At the same time, Gatsby himself, despite all his money and power, remained a poor son of a farmer looking at the “golden youth” from the bottom up. We are who we are, and no matter how we change the picture, nothing will change from this. He tried to join this circle, but he could not, because on the one hand, he felt insecure, and on the other, he understood that he was smarter and more talented than all of them. He was never able to understand these people – born rich, never fighting for their place in this world and even not admitting the thought of a different scenario. And now, having achieved this treasured wealth, he was confused, since it still did not make him one of the representatives of the elite.

Reading Response Essay Examples on StudyMoose

  1. “The Help” Reading Response Essay
  2. “Great Gatsby” Reading Response Essay
  3. “A Rose for Emily” Reading Response Essay
  4. Strayer Reading Response Essay
  5. Reading Response Essay on “Homemade Education”
  6. Reading Response on Education and Communication
  7. “The Way to Wealth” Reading Response Essay
  8. “Haas and Flower” Reading Response Essay
  9. Reading Response Essay on Communication
  10. Reading Response to a Poem