Reaction Papers

About Reaction Papers

  • A reaction paper offers students the opportunity to respond to readings in meaningful and thoughtful ways.
  • Reaction papers might be used in order to confirm that students read a given reading.
  • A reaction paper juxtaposes personal response with texts, ideas, and concepts that inform that response.
  • It can be helpful to ask students to write reaction papers by contextualizing what they are responding to with readings done in class or elsewhere.
  • Doing so helps students see that ideas do not emerge out of a vacuum, but that they are part of a larger process of making meaning.
  • Doing so can help teach students how to make connections among various texts.
  • Doing so can also teach students how research functions and how one can integrate one’s research (in this case, the reading responded to and the readings that provide context) into a body of writing (the reaction paper itself).