Guidelines for Writing a Reaction Paper

Guidelines for Writing a Reaction Paper

Are you assigned to write a reaction paper? Do you not know how to write a reaction paper? 

If these two questions are your key concerns, you have come to the right place. 

In this guide, we will teach you proven ways to write a reaction paper.
Let’s get started!

 What is a reaction paper?

 A reaction paper is one of the most common assignments students can get in college and university. 

In a reaction paper, you need to describe your response to a book, article, movie, or any other work by using thoughtful analysis. 

A reaction paper is also called a response paper or a reader's response paper. 

There are multiple reactions that you could write about in your reaction essay. 

For example:
  • I agree/ disagree with this author’s main point because…
  • This article is amazing and relatable because…
  • The author succeeded in considering…
  • The text perfectly represents that event.
  • This text’s writing style is formal. 

Reaction essay topic samples

  • William Shakespeare’s “Othello”
  • What did you like about “The Stranger?”
  • Your takeaways on George Orwell’s 1984

Reaction paper outline

The most common topics your mentor might be asked to write about are a literary essay, literature book, or movie. 

Most often, professors ask learners to prepare a critique for a specific movie.

This is because a movie is one of the most trending sources of entertainment. 

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In order to come up with valuable content for your book or movie analysis, you need to:
  • Watch the movie carefully and pen down all crucial points. However, if you are writing a response essay for a book, you need to read it multiple times and write down its themes. 
  • Now is the time to evaluate the story and figure out the paper's needs. At this point, you should reread the instructions given by your teacher. You should react to the particular part of the story. After that, you need to write down your opinion. Your paper should be based on the examiner’s question. 
This is how you can create an outline for the reaction paper. 

Structure of writing reaction papers 

All reaction essays follow the standard essay outline, with an attractive introduction, body paragraphs, and a compelling conclusion. For your convenience, we have broken down each part. 


In this part of the essay, you have to set the context for your target readers. You should present the subject here. 


Now, you have to provide a detailed analysis of your response. Do not forget to list down all the key points and analyze them. In this way, you can better relate the incident to your experiences and feelings. 


Finally, you need to wrap up all the major points and paraphrase your opinion about the topic. 

Reaction papers format: APA style

Depending on your course and professor’s preferences, you may be assigned to write a reaction paper in several referencing styles.

However, they are mostly assigned to write in the APA format. 

So, you do not need to panic when you are assigned to write in this format. Keep the following points in mind:
  • An APA title page
  • Double spacing between the lines
  • The 1-inch margin on all sides
  • If you use external sources, you need to include citations and references. 

Six steps to writing a reaction paper 

Many students even do not know what a reaction paper is. For this reason, they type “how to start a reaction paper” in the Google search bar and seek guidance.  

Unfortunately, some of them still fail to write a single reaction paragraph. If you face the same issue, you can contact us right now.

Our professionals will guide you through the writing process. 

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Anyhow, now is the time to clarify how to start a reaction paper, what steps you need to take, and how you will write the entire paper. 
Follow these steps:

1) Study the prompt deeply

First things first!

You need to get a deeper insight into the prompt. In this way, you will be able to write an excellent reaction paper that will impress your mentor. 

2) Understand all instructions 

Many students assume they understand the assignment in a single go. This is one of the most common mistakes they make. 

If you do not comprehend what your professor demands, you should ask him. Do not dive into the writing phase until you understand it completely. 

3) Analyze the essay’s subject

Now is the time to read the text, watch a movie, or look at the painting. You need to do everything you can to get a deeper insight into the instructor’s question. 

4) Write notes

In a reaction essay, your reaction becomes the primary context of your written text.

Therefore, you should make notes of your feelings while studying the subject. These notes will help you to compose the reaction essay. 

5) Create a reaction essay outline

You know that an online is the backbone of any essay. It serves as your compass while writing a reaction paper. So, you should not miss crafting an outline. 

6) Write the first draft

It’s time to structure your first draft. Write down all the details, provide pieces of evidence, and support your points with credible facts and figures. 

Write an engaging introduction

The introduction is the first part of your essay. Hence, you need to write it carefully. 

As an essay writer, you need to make sure that it is impressive and sparks readers’ interest. 

In this portion of the essay, you have to write a small description of the writer and the main points of the story. 

Neither should it be too long nor too short. Do not forget to write an interesting thesis statement. 

Write body paragraphs 

In this part of the response essay, you have to explain your essay’s ideas. Start with a topic sentence. 

This topic sentence should state what you are going to explain in the paragraph.

Include all sources and back them with reliable statistics and your own opinions. 

Write a convincing conclusion

Here, you have to link the thesis statement with the body paragraphs’ summary. Do not forget to touch on all the major points of the essay. 

List of citations 

Finally, you must cite all sources you used in your reaction paper. 

Bottom Lines

Writing a reaction paper might seem challenging, but adhering to the suggested procedures can help you craft an insightful paper.

Make sure to read and examine the text carefully, establish your response, and reinforce your arguments with evidence from the text.

It's also crucial to use simple language, arrange your ideas coherently, and review your paper before submitting it.

So, take your time and enjoy the process!

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