Response to Literature
How to develop your critical
thinking and response to
How to read fiction:
Look at the title
Know about author
Trace the plot development
Think about author’s purpose
Ask “What is the author’s free advice that
I can apply in my own life? What can I
learn by watching the character handle
Response to Literature
1) Not a summary
2) Shows your understanding of the story
and your insight
3) Involves critical thinking
4) Involves providing support from the
story for your insight
Next type of essay to write
Response to Literature Essay
A “Prompt” or question will be asked
The writer has to develop a strong thesis
or answer to the prompt.
The thesis must be supported with
evidence: facts from story, quotes, and
Strategies to develop a response
“Somebody wanted, but…so…” for
summarizing the entire plot in a few
“Most Important Word” to brainstorm
theme or character traits
Understand how to trace the plot of a
story and do so while listening to story
Know how to study literature
Most Important Word
1. It is a strategy of identifying theme.
2. Begin with a brainstorming tree
using the title as the center circle.
3. Brainstorm “concept” nouns.
These are things that cannot be
seen or touched!
Most Important Word (cont)
These concept nouns are themes for
*adventure *love *friendship
*honesty *integrity *courage
*risk *sacrifice *acceptance
*discovery *survival *satisfaction
Somebody (main character)
Wanted (conflict introduced)
But (conflict complicated)
So (start of how character must overcome
Helps writers to quickly give a preview of plot.
Don’t give away the climax or ending!
Thesis = Main focus for entire essay;
what the writer will discuss and prove
with support! The answer to the “prompt”
Body Paragraphs: 2, 3, 4
Begin each with a strong topic sentence.
Answer the prompt in your topic
Provide proof from the story in the form
of facts, examples, and quotes to
support your topic sentence.
Clearly explain and connect proof to
Conclusion: Be SMART!
Restate your thesis in a thoughtful way.
What is the reader supposed to understand as a result of
watching the main character resolve the conflict?
What was the author’s purpose to his audience?
How can a reader apply the lessons learned to his or her own life?
This is the most important paragraph and
often is a determiner between A and B
grades! Think it through! Be SMART!
Insight: An analogy
You = patient
Author = doctor
Insight = medicine or advice
What advice can a reader apply to his or
her own life?