INSTRUCTIONS NOT FOLLOWED: The Structure of a Reader-Response Essay
Choosing a text to study is the first step in writing a reader-response essay. Once you have chosen the text, your challenge is to connect with it and have a “conversation” with the text.
In the beginning paragraph of your reader-response essay, be sure to mention the following:
title of the work to which you are responding;
the author; and
the main thesis of the text.
Then, do your best to answer the questions below. Remember, however, that you are writing an essay, not filling out a short-answer worksheet. You do not need to work through these questions in order, one by one, in your essay. Rather, your paper as a whole should be sure to address these questions in some way.
What does the text have to do with you, personally, and with your life (past, present or future)? It is not acceptable to write that the text has NOTHING to do with you, since just about everything humans can write has to do in some way with every other human.
How much does the text agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and wrong? Use several quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world, about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human. Use quotes and examples to discuss how the text disagrees with what you think about the world and about right and wrong.
What did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text, if at all? Did the text communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text failed to convince you, the way it is). Please do not write “I agree with everything the author wrote,” since everybody disagrees about something, even if it is a tiny point. Use quotes to illustrate your points of challenge, or where you were persuaded, or where it left you cold.
How well does the text address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the world? How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition? If not, who does or did the text serve? Did it pass the “Who cares?” test? Use quotes from the text to illustrate.
What can you praise about the text? What problems did you have with it? Reading and writing “critically” does not mean the same thing as “criticizing,” in everyday language (complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your “critique” can and should be positive and praise the text if possible, as well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings.
How well did you enjoy the text (or not) as entertainment or as a work of art? Use quotes or examples to illustrate the quality of the text as art or entertainment. Of course, be aware that some texts are not meant to be entertainment or art: a news report or textbook, for instance, may be neither entertaining or artistic, but may still be important and successful.
For the conclusion, you might want to discuss:
your overall reaction to the text;
whether you would read something else like this in the future;
whether you would read something else by this author; and
if would you recommend read this text to someone else and why.
Reader Response #3: Intro to Contemporary Special Education, Ch. 5
p.145- As a music therapist one of my passions is using music as a learning strategy or to help reinforce strategies. Organizational tools such as graphic organizers and mnemonic devices are cited in this section as traditional learning strategies, but I think it is also important to keep creative learning strategies in mind. For example, a mnemonic device may be very helpful to remember specific information, but it may be hard for a student to remember what the mnemonic actually stands for. Using a song or rhyme can help accesses different parts of the brain where information is stored, then giving students an even better chance of being able to retrieve the information when needed.
p. 146- I thought this section was an interesting crossover with the Hehir book. Both discuss the repercussions of movie and media coverage of disabilities. The Hehir book takes a stronger stance on the negative impact of movies and media, whereas the textbook merely cautions us against making conclusions based on movies and media. In my opinion, the impact of movies and media also depend on the viewer. People of different cultural or economic backgrounds may draw different conclusions from the same movie based on background knowledge, education, and experience. So we cannot necessarily deem the movies and media responsible for manipulating public opinion on disabilities, the responsibility also lies with the community to educate its member about disabilities.