How to write a personal response

ELA 10-1
State your idea and then defend the ideas with
details from the text.
 Personal responses help you take your own
knowledge and experiences and apply them to
what you have seen and read. You make
connections to what you know of the world with
the ideas presented in the texts.
 The response is PERSONAL so you can take a
creative, personal, or critical approach. The
only thing not allowed is POETRY.
 It is designed to be completed in 40 – 60
minutes. At this level we will generally use one
full class of time to get you used to the process.
topic is given and you are asked to
personally respond to it. This means you may
include your point of view, opinion or ideas.
What will make your response an excellent
response is the quality of you ideas along
with how well you are able to express
yourself through your ability to:
Provide evidence, or support for your
Explain your understanding of that evidence, and
your interpretation in detail, then how you unify
your idea.
 Short
 Diary entries
 Newspaper article
 Editorial
 Interior monologue
 Short story
 Letter
 Eulogy
 Interview
 Etc.
need to determine 4 things:
 Theme
of the text (idea and impression)
 Support details from the text
 Prose form the response will take
 Perspective the response will take.
For the each picture… (write this down)
Identify the theme(s) of the text (idea
and impression.
Identify Support Details from the text
(support of the theme)
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not
together.. there is something you must
always remember. you are braver than you
believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter
than you think. but the most important thing
is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with
-Christopher Robin to Pooh
"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest
waiting for others to come to you. You have
to go to them sometimes."
Read over the texts – to get a general
impression of what they are talking about
and to see which ones you identify with.
Ensure you understand the topic, focus,
and implications of the question. Write
the question in your own words or write a
quick explanation of the question.
3. Use any clues to the meaning of the texts that are
given in the assignment. Be sure to read any
captions, footnotes, etc. that would clarify data.
4. Find a focus for your close reading of the texts.
Often the text will fall into one of the universal
Fear of the unknown
The struggle between good and evil
The desire for meaningful relationships
The desire for understanding, meaning and truth
The desire to control our environment
The desire to be understood
The struggle to meet challenges or overcome adversity
5. Engage in close reading of the texts, recording
your thoughts and impressions as you go. This
could be jot notes, highlighting, circling terms, paraphrasing, etc.
6. Move from a literary understanding of the text
to an exploration of deeper meaning by asking:
What is literally happening in the text?
What is the speaker’s attitude or feeling?
Does this change at any point in the text?
Are there choices made? What are the reasons behind these choices?
How is the individual or society affected by these choices?
Is there any contrasts made within and between the texts in regards to
mood, images, word choice, etc.
7. Look at literary devices to help with your
Make notes or brainstorm your
interpretations of the text(s).
9. Decide on your controlling idea. Just like
a critical essay you must develop an
controlling idea to keep you on track and
10. Decide on your approach. Are you going
to argue a point, persuade an audience,
explain something, or reflect…
11. Determine the form of prose you will
use. Remember you can take a critical,
creative, or personal approach.
Insight pertaining to your examination of
Evidence of the quality and the kinds of thinking
you have used to explore the topic thoroughly.
Confidence in your attitude or position
about the idea or impression you are
putting forth.
You must know what you are writing about.
You must argue your controlling idea effectively.
Evidence of support, and that your
choices are purposeful.
Reference to the texts in question, reference to
your own experience, or using your personal
knowledge to investigate the ideas are all valid

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