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Students Need Help: How to Write Reaction Paper

High school and college students are (almost always ) required by their English teachers and professors to write a Reaction Paper for a certain book, movie or play. This is a tedious task for students as it requires double the effort in finishing the book, movie or play and then writing their thoughts afterwards. Many students dread this task which compels them to just pay a classmate to do their homework for them or just copy-paste information online. When students take the easy way, they are shortchanging themselves. Writing essays do not end with High School or College graduation. The skills of writing a report will follow through until they are in the workforce – writing monthly reports or even a letter for promotion. How the can students write reaction papers  if they are overwhelmed how and where to begin?

A reaction in a reaction paper is not a collection of emojis that you see in your phone or in social media. How we wish submitting a reaction paper is as easy as choosing a bunch of emoticons and hitting the send button!

Have you also seen this viral reaction paper? The student actually gave a photo of his facial expression as a submission for his reaction paper. The teacher found it funny and even gave a grade for it. Funny at first yes, but definitely not enough to get consistent good grades.


Writing a reaction paper would need deep thinking, reflection, analysis, and reading comprehension. A student’s ability to understand makes it easier for him/her to make conclusions. To supplement a student’s conclusion, they also need to do research and have ample knowledge of a story’s elements.

A reaction paper is a form of literary appreciation. The goal is to motivate students to grasp the concepts better and to link it with their life. This is the true purpose of a reaction paper aside form finding out their opinion about the subject and determining how well the student has learned information.

Literary appreciation means that the reader is able to gain pleasure and understanding of the literature – its value, importance, and complexity. Literary appreciation focuses on the adequate grasp of the definitions and applications of traditional literary devices such as plot, character, metaphor, setting, and symbolism which may be encountered within texts. Through literary appreciation, students are not taught only how to make literary interpretation and analysis, researching and writing skills are but also help students acquire and develop sensitivity, self-awareness, and a greater understanding of the world and other people.

Here are 3 tips on how to write a reaction paper

  1.  Read the original manuscript – While an unabridged version is easier to read, the original manuscript contains the richness of the author’s words. This is also true for watching a movie instead of reading the book. Many nuances are lost when a book is made into a movie
  2. Take notes or summarise after reading every chapter – You will be overwhelmed when you only start writing the reaction paper only after finishing the book. Write in short paragraphs after every chapter and combine them for the final paper.
  3. Supplement the reaction paper with an interview from an expert or someone who had first hand experience to add depth.

A reaction paper basically comprises of the following parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion
  4. List of Citations and Sources

Now if you want to build your skills to help you with your essay writing, reaction paper, and even thesis writing, you can enroll in our COOL CRITICS PROGRAM.

The Cool Critics Program is for teens 13 to 16 years old with a good grasp of writing in English.

The program is composed of 12 sessions and each lasts for 1 hour with a 5-minute break.

Classic to contemporary authors like Hans Christian Andersen and EB White will be studied for their themes and style. Elements of the story and what makes them good will also be discussed. Finally, within the 12 sessions, 3 major critique or reaction paper writing exercises will be conducted every after 4 sessions. Students will be reviewing The Giver by Lois Lowry for their final paper and the teacher will guide them, one by one, how to improve their written work.

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