Reading Response Exercises

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A Quick Comprehension Check

What happened in today’s reading? What do you think will happen next? Would you recommend this book to others?

What Do You Think?

What do you wish the author might have included before moving on in the story?

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble: Characterization

Choose a character and consider some of the weaknesses of his or her personality. Predict  how you think this character could end up getting him or herself into trouble.

Onomatopoeia and Ssssounds

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. Each time you come across a sound word in your reading, list it along with its page number. Choose three. Consider how the author’s choice of that particular word influenced your perception and experience of the story. Preschool literacy option available.

Reading Got the Plot?

List the plot points that have already occurred and tell what happened with each. Consider: A beginning; An inciting incident; Escalating Action/Conflict; A climax; An End.

Comprehension Clues

What do you think will happen next? List three clues that support your hypothesis. Preschool literacy option included.

What Would You Do?

How would you feel if you were in the main character’s situation? How would you react? What would you do? Write either: a journal entry from the main character’s point of view, or a dialogue between the main character and his or her best friend.

Plot a Timeline

Make a timeline of the passages you have read and create symbols to mark five of the events.

Character Beach Towel

Think about what the main character of your story is like. Design or describe what your character’s beach towel would look like and explain why.

Color-Coded Theme

What message about life and how it is to be lived it is being communicated in your reading material? If this message were a color, what color would it be?

Test that Title

Do the plot, characters, and themes of the story seem like they go well with its title?

Similar Situations

Considering your own experiences, how would you advise the character in your story to respond to the situation you last encountered him or her in?

Whose Point of View?

What point of view is being used to tell  (or narrate) this story?

Characters as Friends

Which character in your reading did you like best? Would this character make a good friend? Preschool literacy adaptation included.


What changes have occurred in the plot between where you began reading and where you ended? Preschool Literacy adaptation included.

Setting Detective

Consider the listed questions regarding the setting of your reading. Explain how the author communicated the information you used to answer the questions. Preschool literacy activity included.

Advice, Author Purpose, and Extend and Connect

If the author of your story were an advice columnist, what kind of advice do you think he or she might give to the main character?

Reading Comprehension: Surprise! 

What did you encounter in your reading that you found surprising? Preschool literacy option included.

“Don’t Talk to Me Like That” or “Sweetheart, Tell Me More”

Think about how the other characters talk to the main character. Preschool Literacy option included.

Characters, What Kind of a Relationship do You Call This?

Choose two characters from the story. Evaluate their relationship. A Preschool Literacy Option is included.

The Non-Point-of-View Reaction

Respond to the events in the passages you just read from the point of view of a non-point-of-view character.

Setting Postage Stamp

Where was a key scene in your story set? Draw or make a collage designed to fit on a postage stamp depicting the setting. Preschool Literacy option included.

Aesop Says… 

If your reading were a fable, what would be the moral of the story?

What’s this Word?

Read for twenty to thirty minutes. When you come across a word whose meaning you are uncertain of jot it down and page number where it occurs. When done with your reading go back and look at the word in context and learn what it means.

What Would You Want to Happen Next? Extend and Connect

Think about what you would hope to have happen next if you were the main character in this story? Preschool Literacy option included.

Character Analysis

Choose one of the characters. If you wanted to do something thoughtful or kind for this character what would you do? Preschool Adaptation included.

Plot: A Favorite Event

What event in the plot of today’s reading did you enjoy the most? Explain why. Preschool Literacy Alternative Included.

A Change of Scene

Where and when does this story take place? How would a different setting (time or place) impact the story? Preschool Literacy option included.

Theme/Author Purpose: “Fill in the Blanks” 

What beliefs about life or the world do you think the author is trying to communicate through this story?

Reading Comprehension Poem

Write a poem about your reading. Preschool literacy alternative included.

Help! I Need Advice

Imagine your protagonist is a newspaper advice columnist. Write a response he or she would give to a letter asking for advice. Preschool literacy alternative included.


Choose an appropriate nickname for one of the characters.

Plot—Difficulties, Difficulties

Consider, what kinds of difficulties the main character got into in your reading? How did he or she deal with them? Write or discuss your responses. Preschool Literacy alternative included.

Getting Moody

How did your reading make you feel? What did the author do to make you feel that way? Preschool Literacy option included.

Theme and Symbols

Are there any objects the author keeps working into the story or ideas she seems to be exploring? How might they relate to one another?

Reading Comprehension Haiku

Write a haiku that captures what today’s reading was all about.

Character “To Do” List

What was the most important item on your character’s “to do” list in the passage you read. Did she accomplish what she set out to do? If so, how, and if not, why not? What does he need to do next in the story? Preschool literacy adaptation available.

Characters New Year’s Resolutions

Choose a character from your reading. What would be a good new year’s resolution for this character?

Happiness Is…

What has made your main character happy in your reading. Preschool Literacy Response Included.

A Focus on Setting

Make a list of words and phrases from your reading that helped you imagine what the setting was like. Preschool adaptation included.


What would be a good theme song for your reading?

Literal and Inferential Questions

Write and answer one inferential question about your reading and one literal question.

Plot Predictions

Think about what happened in the pages you read? What could happen next? Preschool literacy option included.

Your Protagonist—in Costume

If the protagonist (main character) of the novel you are reading were invited to a costume party, what would he or she be most likely to dress up as?  Preschool options available.

The Influence of Gender in Reading

Consider how your gender influences your responses to and interpretation of the passages you just read,.

Travel Writing/Setting Brochure

Write the text of a travel brochure (or make an actual three-fold brochure) based on an important setting from your reading. Preschool literacy option available.

Theme/Truths the Author tries to Tell

What does it seem the author is trying to tell you through his story? What are the clues in the story that led you to this conclusion?

Building Block/Sticky Note Summary

Use sticky note or paper “blocks” representing setting, characters, conflict, resolution, and theme to help build the framework with which to write a summary.

Drawing Inferences and Predicting

What do you think will happen next in your story? Preschool Literacy option included.

Influencers/Extend and Connect

Think about how your family, home, and neighborhood influenced your response to and understanding of the story.

Sympathizing with Characters

Write about or discuss a time in your story that made you feel sorry for a particular character.

Plots and Endings

If you were the author, how would you end this story?

Setting—Time, Place, Mood, and Art Materials!

Draw or paint a setting from the passage you just read.

Author! Author?

How do you picture the author of this passage?

Think About It…/Comprehension

Think about what you have read and fill in the blanks in the following sentence: “This text makes me wonder about __________ because __________…”

Character Fear Diary

Imagine you are the main character from your reading and write a journal entry. Reflect on the following questions…

A Good Story is a Journey

Think: Is your main character on a journey? Write or discuss your response.

Be a Storyteller (Comprehension)

How would you “tell” what you read if you were a storyteller, telling it to an audience? Practice telling the story of what you have read. Now find someone to tell your story to. If you are working with a pre-reader, read him a story and ask her to tell it back to you.

Veracity of Plot

Could what you have read really have happened? Whether your answer is “yes” or “no,” explain your thinking.

What do you think? Theme/Author Purpose

Consider what might be the author’s intent in his or her writing?

Summer Getaway

We all enjoy a getaway–day trips, weekends away, family vacations… Where has your reading selection taken you?

Can You Relate? Extend and Connect with Your Reading

How does your personal history help you to understand this story?

The Best Audience for this Book…

Think about who would be the perfect audience for this book. Why would these people like it. Explain.

Reading Comprehension~Genre

To what genre does the book you are reading belong? What is it about the book, or if you’d rather, the passage you just read that is typical of this genre?

The Sixty Word Summary

Think about your book so far. Now write a 60 word summary of your novel–not 52 or 75 words, but 60 precisely. Use your editing skills to get it just right.

Problems + Problems = Plot

Think about what you have read. What kinds of problems or conflicts are occurring in your reading? Write or discuss your response.

Venn DiagramCompare and Contrast Settings

Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two settings from your reading.

Exceptional Sentences

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. While reading, be on alert for sentences you feel are particularly well done. When you have completed your reading, copy out three of the sentences you noted and explain what you felt made it so exceptional.

Recommended Reading?

Would you recommend this book to others? If so, why? If not, why are you still reading it?

Theme/Thoughts on Life and Living

What is the author of your reading trying to say about life and living through this story so far?

What’s Important/Reading Comprehension

Choose one word from you reading that would best represent what was most important in the passage. What would you say is most important in the passage?

Elements of Fiction WebThe Elements of Fiction Web Summary

Writing the elements of fiction summary: For the passage you have read create a web showing the characters, plot, conflict, setting, and themes being explored. Use this to help you write a summary.

Extend and Connect: “I felt _____ because…”

Extend and Connect: “I felt _____ when… ecause…” Reflect on your reading by filling in the blanks and expanding on your thoughts.

Who’s Telling and Why? Narrator Voice

Who is the narrator of your reading? What is important to this narrator? What is observed and described, and what is not?

Extend and Connect–Why’d You Choose that Book?

Why’d You Choose that Book? Is the book meeting your expectations? Why or why not?

Literary Language–Similes and Metaphors

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes with a pen or pencil and paper on hand. Jot down any simile or metaphor used in the text. Create your own similes and metaphors.

Comprehension: Setting and Plot

Think about what you have read. What would it be like if you were to experience what the main character is experiencing in your reading? Challenge yourself to dig deeper into what you think and believe and how it relates to the text.

“News Writing” Style Summary

Write a “News Writing” Style Summary of Your Reading. Prewrite. Include: What happened? When it happened? Where it happened? Why it happened? And how it happened? Combine the information you collected into a short paragraph.

Character Valentines

Pick two characters from your story. Make a valentine that you believe one of these characters might send to the other.

Character Breadcrumbs

What has your character had to leave behind in the journey of his or her story?

Comprehension and Prediction

Comprehension and Prediction: Read then think about what you have read. Do you wonder what will happen next in your reading?

Setting—World Building

Read. Consider how the author of your text make his or her story seem like it takes place in a real world?

 Theme/Author Purpose–Stretch Out Your “Feelers”

How do you think the author of your text felt as he or she wrote what you read? Write down then talk about your response.

Comprehension of Time Transitions

What length of the time was covered in your reading? How do you know this? Explain.

Reading Response Exercise #14: Details and Plot

Choose one significant object from the passage you read and describe it. In addition to describing how it looks, smells, feels, sounds, explain why it is important to the passage you have just read.

Multiple Dimensions of Setting

Describe a setting you’ve just read. Remember setting includes not just where, but when the scene or story takes place and the mood of the setting.

Connecting with Characters

What are three things one of the characters would be grateful for if someone were to ask him or her at this point in your reading?

Theme/Author Purpose

Read. Using the following sentence, explore symbolism in your text…


What alternative titles can you come up with for what you have just read?

Practice a Reading Strategy

Practice using margin notes to improve your comprehension and interaction with reading texts.

Extend and Connect with your Reading

Does the experience of a character remind you of any experience you have had? If so, what was it?