Reader Response Essay Rubric For Middle School

Reader Response Organizational Tools


The following documents may help your readers organize their reading response pieces, reading logs, etc. all in one place.
REMEMBER:  Reading response doesn"t have to happen in a spiral notebook only via letters to the teacher.  Students can respond through post-it notes, anchor charts, graphic organizers, multimedia, etc.



Sticky Note Tracker

Reading Log

Chapter Books vs. Picture Books Tally

Books I Plan To Read

Form of a Friendly Letter

Genre Graph

Guidelines for Reading Workshop

Mini-lesson Handout Table of Contents

Opening Letter to Reader

Reading Notebook Rubric


Suggestions for Reading Response Topics


Click on links below to download examples for use in your classroom:


100 Reader Response Prompts - Intermediate

Reader Response Prompts - Primary


Scroll down to see some sample starter prompts:



Story Elements

  • Explore how the main character changed throughout the story.
  • Write about something that surprised you or that you found interesting.
  • Describe an interesting or important character in your book.
  • Write about your favorite part of the book and why it was important to the story.
  • Tell your thoughts or feelings about the theme of the story.
  • Write a letter to a character in the book or a letter from one character to another.
  • Compare two characters in the book to each other by describing their similarities and their differences.
  • Describe places where the author gives good descriptions of the characters, setting, problem, or solution.
  • Write a diary entry in the voice of a character in your book.
  • Compare a character in your book to a character in another book you have read.
  • Describe what you notice about the illustration.  What purpose do they have?  Do they add to the story?



  • Summarize the chapter you just read.
  • Describe in details the setting of your book and how it fits into the story.
  • Draw a picture of the climax of the story.
  • List five adjectives that describe the book’s main character.
  • Describe the setting of the story and illustrate it.
  • List five facts you learned about the topic covered in the book or article.
  • Retell the ending of the story AND write your feelings about it.



  • How do you think the story will end?
  • Which character do you think will change the most by the end?  Why?
  • Who do you think the culprit is?  Why?
  • Based on the title, what do you think the book is about?
  • How do you think this conflict will be resolved?
  • Draw a picture of what you think will happen next.  Describe it.
  • Write your predictions about the story and tell whether or not they were right.



  • How is this book similar to another you have read by this author?
  • Create a Venn diagram that compares the setting of this story with the area where you live.
  • What were your feelings after the first chapter?
  • What advice would you give a character in this book?  Why?
  • What character would you most like to be?  Why?
  • If you were a character in this book, how would it affect the plot?
  • Describe a character’s personality trait that you’d like to possess.  Why do you like this trait?
  • Explain how the book reminds you of yourself, people you know, or of something that happened in your life (T-S Connections).
  • Explain how the book reminds you of other books, especially the characters, events, or setting (T-T Connections).
  • Describe how this book is like other books by the same author, on the same topic, or in the same genre.
  • Do any of the characters remind you of friends, family members, or classmates?  Explain.
  • How have you changed after reading this book?  Explain.
  • If you could be related to a character, who would it be and why?



  • Why do you think the author chose the opening line he or she did?  Did you like it?  Did it make you want to read further?
  • Who is your favorite character?  Why?  Draw a picture of this character.
  • What do you think of the antagonist’s actions?  Are they right or wrong?
  • What do you think is the most important scene in the book?  Why?
  • How would a different setting affect the story?
  • Was the cover design effective?  Did it make you want to read the book?  Create a new cover design for this book.
  • Did you like the ending of the book?  How would you have liked it to end?  Rewrite a new ending for the book.
  • Write a question you would like to ask the author.  How do you think he or she would respond?
  • Do you agree with the point the author is making?  Why?
  • Did the graphs and diagrams help you understand the text better?
  • Do you like the ending of this book?  Why or why not?  Do you think there is more to tell?



  • Copy a sentence from the book that you think is well written.  Why do you like this sentence?  Illustrate the sentence.
  • Find examples of figurative language in the text.  Write them down.
  • List five words from the book that you find interesting or unfamiliar.  Write their definitions and use them each in a sentence.
  • Describe the author"s craft: What was good about the author"s writing?  What things might you try to do in your own writing that you learned from this author?
  • Describe how the author makes you feel through their writing.



  • Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?
  • Was the book hard or easy to read?  Why?
  • What didn’t you understand in the text?
  • Would boys and girls enjoy this book equally?  Support your reasons.
  • Would you like to read more books by this author?  Why or why not?
  • Do you think the author chose a good title for the book?  Why or why not?
  • What did you learn about the time in which the story took place?
  • Write about an important lesson that was learned in the story.
  • Describe parts of the book that puzzled you or made you ask questions.
  • Explain why you think that your book is popular with students in the class (if it is popular with other readers in the class).
  • Would you recommend the book to another reader?  Explain why or why not.
  • Describe what you would change about the book if you could rewrite it.
  • Explain what you want to remember about this book and why.
  • Make a list of “lingering questions” you have after finishing the book.
  • Make a list of things you don’t understand, find confusing, or have questions about.


Alternative Responses

  • Write a “book-fommercial” to convince or persuade others to read this book.
  • Write a poem about your book.
  • Write a eulogy (a speech honoring someone after death) for one of the characters.
  • Create a slogan for the book and explain why you chose this.
  • Illustrate a book cover different from what is on your book.
  • Write a feasible solution for a problem a character has that is different from anything suggested in the book.
  • Pretend that you are the author and writing a sequel to this book.  Explain what should happen.
  • Give 3 reasons why this book should be taught to the whole class.
  • Choose a food that represents this book and explain why.
  • Create a theme song with lyrics for the book.
  • Write a letter to the author of your book.
  • Choose a character of the book, decide what would be an appropriate birthday present for that character and explain why.
  • Discuss a portion of the book that was too predictable.
  • Create an award for this book.  Explain the award and why this book received it.
  • Make a list of the characters in your book and then create a cast of famous people that you would choose to portray that character if you were making a movie.
  • Write a letter to a character in your story.
  • Make a comic strip story, (minimum of 3 frames)
  • Make a timeline of the events (minimum 5 events) in this story.  You must illustrate each even and label each event with a caption or description.
  • Make a list of character in your book.  Transform the major characters in your book to animals.  Decide upon an animal for each based upon personality traits.
  • List 10 interesting words from you book and…(choose one):
    • Tell why each word is interesting.
    • Write a definition for each word.
    • Use each in a sentence of your own.

Product Description

This is an easy to use, student-friendly summary rubric. It may be applied to any analysis of theme in literature. The rubric is based off the Common Core State Standards for reading literary texts, as well as the CCSS for producing clear and coherent writing.

The rubric is divided into four columns:
Analysis of Theme: assesses the students' ability to identify an original theme that is appropriate for the text.
Evidence: assesses the students' ability to cite specific, relevant text evidence to support the theme
Language: assesses the students' ability to compose a coherent response using clear, precise, and objective language, as well as avoid formulaic phrases such as "This is what the theme is."
Writing Quality: assesses the students' ability to produce clear and coherent writing using a logical structure, as well as using proper spelling and grammar.

I've included several versions of the rubric for teacher assessment, as well as student self-assessment and reflection. The rubric is also included in color and black and white. The color rubrics are useful for creating small groups.

If you would prefer the document in Word so you may edit as needed, please contact me with your email address and I can send you the Word document. Thank you for your support!

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