Response Starters

Note: These are only suggestions for those rare moments when you are absolutely unsure of how to begin a response. You may ignore them in favor of your own immediate reactions to the text. But they might help you to extend your thoughts when you're not sure where to go.


+ How can you tell that this text was/was not written in our own time? What are the not-so-obvious clues?

+ What opinion is expressed by the author through this text? Do you agree with it? Why/why not?

+ What questions would you like to ask the author of this work? What might he or she answer in reply?

+ What part of this text was confusing to you? Why do you think you got confused?

+ What critical idea or insight from another work (essay or article) could shed some light on this text?

+ What kind of feeling did you have after reading a few paragraphs or stanzas of this text? Midway? After finishing? What did the author do to elicit that feeling from you?

+ Would you change the ending of this story in any way? How? Why?

+ If you were an English teacher, would you want to share this text with your students? Why/why not?

+ Are you like any character in this work? Explain.

+ Argue with the author about something in this work. Give him or her a chance to reply. Write in the form of a dialogue or conversation.

+ Does anything in this work remind you of your own life? Explain

+ What is the most important word or phrase in this text? Why?

+ What quality of which character would you like to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character show this quality in the story?

+ What kind of person do you think the author is? Why do you think this?

+ Write from the point of view of one of the characters or objects in this work. What would he, she, or it have to say about the events of the story or poem?

+ What character do you like best in this work? Why? Which do you like the least? Why?

+ Sometimes works leave you feeling that there is more to tell. Did this work do that? How should it go on?

+ Do you like this work? Why/why not?

+ What was most difficult in this text for you? How did you or could you overcome that difficulty?

+ What did this reading teach you about yourself as a reader?

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