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When you get an assignment from a teacher, the best thing to do is to ask that instructor, so you can get a clear sense of what a specific teacher means by a term. However, if I gave that assignment, I would want you to write a letter. I've given this assignment asking students to write back to the author, sharing any questions you have about the book. I've also had students write to characters in the book. It depends on what your teacher is looking for.There's also a way to interpret stories that's called reader response criticism, but that's specialized than you are likely running into.
I have my fifth graders write a friendly letter to me every two weeks on their independent reading book. I have a set format of what each paragraph contains. The paragraphs focus on plot, characters, setting, and author's purpose. In turn, I respond back to the student regarding their comments. This way include questions I have about their book. Within each question the students are able to show their reading strategies.
I am a fifth grade teacher in IL, and I assign Reader's Response letters to my students on a weekly basis. I agree that you should ask your teacher to be sure. However, what I look for is a piece of writing written in letter format that contains your thoughts about the book you are currently reading. I require my students to tell me about what strategies they used while they were reading. For example, questions, predictions, connections, ect.
Your letter might look like this:
Dear Miss Teacher,
The book I am reading is Oddkins by Dean Koontz. This is a fable about a set of good and evil toys that are both trying to gain control of a toy shop. One strategy I used to help me better understand this book was visualizing. When Amos and the other Oddkins were trying to escape from the department store I imagined their route. This helped me to understand how scared they were.
When I was assigned one of these in elementary school in PA, it was basically a letter we got to send to the author of the book. Some authors even wrote back!
How it worked:
1)Read the book
2) Summarize the main themes and respond (examples of questions you might ask yourself: Did you like how the author uses mystery to make it suspenseful? Do you think the love story made it mushy?)
3) Respond to the main events of the book. (Were you surprised when Harry met Sally? How did character relationships make you feel? Did you think a character needs further development?)
4) Ask any questions you might have for the author. (What questions did the book bring up? Any unanswered questions?)
5) Say thank you to the author for reading your letter.
Of course, this is just how my PA elementary school teacher had us do our "reading response letter." Your teacher might have something different in mind.
Ask your teacher if you're not sure... they're people too, and absolutely love it when students ask questions!
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