This genre of writing can be quite sophisticated and complex. Because it links to another text and requires strong reading comprehension, it is sometimes considered a difficult genre. However, one student explained, “It is easier for me to respond to writing, rather than making up my own story or thinking up a topic for an essay, personal narrative, or poem.” The critical book review genre is a specific type of response to literature, but the book review has some different components and entails greater use of argument strategies.
In literature circles, writing can serve as a form of response that is both formal (demonstrating what students have learned or thought as they read) and informal ("thinking aloud on paper"). With guidance, students at all levels can learn to use writing in both of these ways. Here are some steps to take: