This paper gives the writer an opportunity to express his ideas about what he has seen or read. The evaluation of a reaction paper is premised on the communication skills of the writer because of unique ideas and content. A reaction paper provides an analysis of a text and then develops a commentary that relates to the same text. This paper requires one to engage in thought full reading, research and writing. As opposed to any other paper, a reaction paper is supposed to contain your thoughts on the problem, discussed in the original text. It allows the professor to assess the depth of your comprehension of the situation and your ability to use your analytical skills.
Writing your reaction paper
You can employ this procedure when you are facing this assignment.
- Understand the purpose of your reaction paper assignment
These papers are meant to engage the writer in careful thinking after reading a text. When writing a reaction paper, talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the text along with how the text accomplishes its objectives.
You do not express your opinion in the reaction paper. You have to go beyond the superficial meaning of a text and analyse implied ideas, elaborate, evaluate and analyse the purpose of the author and his main points. In most cases, reaction papers utilise the first person pronoun. Back up your ideas using evidence from the text alongside your ideas, texts, and overarching concepts. If you are required to agree or disagree, you have to provide convincing evidence about how, and why you feel this way, in case you are responding to multiple texts, analyse how they relate to each other. In response to a single text, you can connect the text to overarching concepts and themes you have discussed in class. The same assignments apply to films, field trips, lectures, labs, or class discussions. A reaction paper is not a summary text, as you can ascertain from any reaction paper example.
- Figure out what the assignment is asking
Before you begin your paper, try to find out what the teacher is asking or looking for. Some instructors want you to analyse or evaluate the text. Others are looking for a personal response. Ensure you understand what the requirements of the assignment. If you are not sure, you had better ask your teacher for clarification on their expectations.
If you are required to react to text in light of another text, you have to use quotations from both texts when writing your reaction paper. You may also be required to respond to a text that relates to class themes. Instructors may demand you to provide your reaction to a text. This is not common as such, but the instructor will be assessing if you have read the text and thought about it. Focus on your opinions on the text.
- Read the text to which you are responding once it is assigned to you
When writing a reaction paper, you go beyond reading, giving your opinion and submitting the paper. You have to synthesise the text, which implies taking the information you read and bring it together to enable your analysis and evaluations. Take time to read and most importantly, digest whatever you have read and put your ideas together.
The biggest mistake a student will do is to wait until the last minute to read and react to the text. Remember that this process involves thoughtful considerations after reading the text Even the reaction paper example you might see took time to compose.
- You may need to read the text severally
The first reading is to familiarise yourself with the text, and to start thinking about it as well as your reaction.
- Write down your initial reactions
Once you do your first reading, write down your initial reactions to the text. Do the same with other readings.
- Annotate the text as you read
Annotate the text as you make the second reading. Do it on the margins of the text because it allows you to easily locate quotations, plot lines, character development, or reactions to the text. Failure to do thorough annotation will make it hard to compose a cohesive paper.
- Question the text as you read it
Start questioning the text as you read it. This is where you start evaluating the material as well as your reaction.
Drafting your reaction paper
Once you have all the information you need, you can write the first draft of your reaction paper.
- Free write
You can start by writing your reactions and evaluations of the author’s idea. Put words into what you think the author is trying to talk about and whether you agree. Ask yourself why, and explain the reasons for these thoughts. When you free write, you start getting your ideas on paper and going being the initial writer’s block.
After you finish, read whatever you have written and identify your strong and most convincing reasons. Priorities all your points accordingly.
- Determine your angle
This essay has to be critical and must evaluate the text. Once you complete free writing, decide on the angle that your essay will take. Keep asking yourself the same questions as you formulate a good reaction. Think about the reasons that compelled the author to write the article. Try to understand the reasons why he structured things in this particular order. Think of how it relates to the outside world.
- Determine your thesis
After completing the free writing stage and identifying your angle, shape it now into a coherent argument. Say something interesting about the text you have just read. State what you think is interesting and significant. This form the core of your reaction paper. Take all your points, opinions, and observations and combine them into a single claim that you are going to prove. This forms your thesis statement that explains what you will analyse, criticise, or try to prove about the text. It makes your reaction paper focused.
- Organize your paper
Reaction paper follows the basic essay format that includes the introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Every paragraph in your essay should support your thesis statement. Every paragraph is supposed o discuss a different portion of the text. In other words, each paragraph should discuss a single idea. Your ideas should be organised in into a few common points and write them into paragraphs. For instance, if you are responding to a theme in a book, divide the paragraphs into the setting, antagonist, and figurative imagery to successfully or unsuccessfully communicate the themes.
- Compile quotations
Once you organise, your ideas into paragraphs find quotations that support your points. Your claims ought to be supported by evidence from the text. This is where your annotations come in handy. Formulate paragraphs that introduce these quotations, analyse them, and comment on them.
- Structure your paragraphs
Each paragraph in reaction paper starts with a topic sentence. Decide on the structure of your paragraphs. Start with author’s opinion and follow it with your reactions. You can still start with the author and subsequently follow it with your reaction contrasts. The best way to structure your paragraph is to use detail, quotation or example, commentary or evaluation.
Writing the final draft
- The introduction
Your introduction should state the name of the test, author’s name, and the focus of your reaction paper. You can include the publication year and the publication from which it was extracted if it’s relevant. Include the topic of the text and the purpose of the author. Your introduction should close with your thesis statement.
- Read your reactions paragraphs again
This will enable you to ensure that you have taken a stance. Most of the reaction papers do not ask for an opinion, but you should be analysing, analyzing and evaluating the text instead of stating facts, irrespective of reaction paper format that you use.
- Explain the greater impact of the text for the class, the author, audience or yourself
You can connect it to the ideas you have discussed in class. Show its comparison to other texts, authors themes, or periods.
- Edit your reaction paper for clarity and length
These papers are usually short, and they range from 500 words to five pages. Read the instructions carefully to ensure you follow them accordingly. Ensure that the sentences are clear, arguments, points have been supported by evidence, and there is no confusion.
- Proofread and spellcheck your paper
Check for grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors as well as spelling mistakes.
- Ask yourself if you have responded to the assignment as required
You can do this by double-checking the guidelines of your assignments. If it is ascertained, then your reaction paper is ready for submission. Always maintain originality in your reaction