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Tackle Written Reading Responses Like a PRO

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

When readers write about their reading in analytical response, they leave a gold mine of information.

Readers leave their “reading thinking brains” right there on the paper for all to see.

It’s a great window into your readers’ brains.

Make the most of every one of those written reading response moments. This is where you will be able to see HOW your readers think about and process text.

When it comes to writing about reading, your readers are putting it all on the line. They are using their written communications skill to articulate their reading thinking.

That’s a big tall order!

Using A Written Reading Response Rubric

Readers need to know what they are up against when it comes to formulating written reading responses. They need to know what is expected. Why not share the grading rubric! Let your readers see where their written reading response falls on a rubric.

Help your readers understand each category leading up to their first big written reading response.

Most scoring rubrics include several different categories, such as...

✔ Focus

  • Did the reader address and complete all parts of the task (prompt or question)?

✔ Organization

  • How well did the reader organize the written response?

  • Did the reader have a relevant and interesting introduction?

  • Did the reader develop ideas well enough to articulate the reading thinking?

  • Did the reader have a meaningful and relevant conclusion?

✔ Content & Analysis

  • How did the reader convey reading thinking?

  • How did the reader develop his/her ideas?

  • What type of evidence was used to develop ideas?

✔ Style

  • How did the transitions add to the flow of the writing piece?

  • Did the reader use specific vocabulary to make the writing more precise?

✔ Conventions

  • How many grammatical errors (age and grade level appropriate) are in the writing?

  • How do the errors in the writing affect the reader’s understanding of the written piece?

The Moment of Truth

Your readers understand what is expected of them.

Your readers have crafted a written reading response full of original student thinking and analysis.

You spent the time taking your readers through the process of writing a crafty little reading response.

You provided your readers with an open-ended question about text or a text dependent prompt.

You have provided your readers with a variety of literacy experiences with text to prepare them for just this moment.

They’ve labored over their writing work.

They’ve published their thinking into a longer written reading response.

It’s on crisp clean lined paper.

They hand it to you with expecting eyes.

Some of you may ask what you think of their work even before you’ve had the chance to look it over.

Now the time has come for you to read those little gems and give your readers the feedback they deserve before the next written response.

What an overwhelming feeling. Staring at that stack of written pieces just waiting for your critical eyes.

I know what you’re thinking…

✔ Can I trash these and no one would notice?

✔ Can I just put these at the bottom of the grading pile?

✔ Can I ask someone else to read and give feedback?

  1. Nope,

  2. Nope and

  3. Nope!

If you’ve broken down the rubric for your readers, you’ve already done half the work.

Your readers know what the rubric looks like.

Your readers know what you will be looking for in their writing.

They labored over making sure they “put it all in there”!

Now, your job should be easy…okay not easy but easier!

1️⃣ Have a rubric for each one of your students.

2️⃣ Read the written reading responses with those ideas in mind.

3️⃣ Read the written reading responses with the minilesson teaching points you used to lead your readers through the process.

4️⃣ Mark each readers' rubric with your thoughts and feedback.

It's a WIN~WIN Situation

👉You know what is expected of them because you designed the lessons.

👉You know what is expected of them because you have the rubric.

👉Now, you can dive into those written reading responses and give your readers the feedback they so richly deserve.

👉Now, you can celebrate what all your readers are doing well.

👉Now, you can make a list of specific reading (and/or writing) skills your readers still need to design relevant, intentional and specific minilessons to meet your readers and writers where they are right now!

👉Now, you can share your feedback with your readers. You know they are anxiously waiting!

Make your job just a little bit easier by taking a look at the rubric that I've created for just this type of writing.

All of the rubrics pictured above are available as part of a progress monitoring toolkit here.

Until next time,



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