Reader Response Questions Help Students Focus and Reflect on Literature
Reader Response Prompts for Fiction
reader response questions
1. Explain a character's problem and then offer your character advice on how to solve his/her problem.
2. Explain how a character is acting and why you think the character is acting that way.
3. From what you've read so far, make predictions about what will happen next and explain what in the text makes you think it will happen.
4. Pick one character and explain why you would/would not like to have him/her as a friend.
5. Describe and explain why you would/would not like to have lived in the time or place of the story.
6. What real-life people or events are you reminded of by characters or events in the story? Explain why.
7. Write about what would happen if you brought one of your characters to school or home for a day.
8. Pick a scene in which you disagreed how a character handled a situation/person and rewrite it in the way you think it should have happened.
9. What quality of which character strikes you as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?
10. Who tells the story? Is this the best person to tell it? Why?
11. How would the story be different if told through another character's eyes?
12. Why do you think the author wrote this story?
13. If you were the author, would you have ended the story in a different way? Why? How so?
14. How does the character's actions affect other people in the story?
15. How does the author provide information or details to make the story seem realistic?
16. How does the author help you feel that you are really there (in both realistic stories and fantasy)?
17. Do you have any unanswered questions about the story? Explain.
18. Copy an interesting/confusing/important/enjoyable passage and explain why you chose it.
19. From what you've read so far, make predictions about what will happen next and explain what in the text makes you think it will happen.
Reader Response Prompts for Nonfiction
reader response questions
20. Copy a short passage that you found to be interesting. Explain what made it interesting for you.
21. Write a summary of what you read in your book today.
22. Explain some of the things that you have learned so far that you are not likely to forget in the near future.
23. Write to inform us about the author. What other articles and/or books has the author written? Is he/she one of your favorite authors, and if so, why?
24. What ideas might you have for turning this work of nonfiction into a work of fiction? Give a brief summary of what your story might be like.
25. Explain the basic information that is being presented in terms of the 5W's: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
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These general discussion questions are useful when a book discussion guide is unavailable (as is the case with Replay)
Discussion Questions for Fiction
The following general questions can be applied to any novel, and they provide a good starting point for creating your own discussion questions for a given work.
- What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
- What specific themes did the author emphasize throughout the novel? What do you think he or she is trying to get across to the reader?
- Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
- How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
- In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author's world view?
- Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
- Did you like the book? If you have read any of the author's other books, how does this compare?
- What is this book's message?
- How did you feel about the characters? Whom did you like or not like and why?
- What did you think of the ending?
- In a movie version, who would play what parts?
- How did you feel when the character did or said....How do you think the character felt when she did or said...?
- If questions...e.g. If the characters had done this instead, how would the story have changed?
- What do book reviews say about this book or more generally the author, and her past works?
- What did you think of the plot line development? How credible did the author make it?
- What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?
- How authentic is the culture or era represented in the book?
- Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?
- How do you think the main character's point of view is similar or different from the author's point of view or background?
- What is the author's background (her style, stature and focus)?
- How does the setting figure as a character in the story?
- Are the characters' actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?
- Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?
- Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. flag, tree, rose.
- What type of vision does the author use with her word choice? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, humourous, satirical, venomous, cathartic?
- What effects do the events (time, nationality, physicality) have on the character's self or personality?