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Reading Response Letters

Reading response letters are a great way to interact with your students while learning about what and how they are reading.

This is another free resource for teachers and families from The Curriculum Corner.

Use these materials to help your children learn to write reading response letters.

When I taught fifth grade, I would have my students write a weekly reading response letter.  

These letters were in a journal and were designed to help me understand what my students were thinking as they read.  

It was not an easy task to get started.  However, after a month of practice, I was thrilled with the writing I was receiving from my students.

 One of my favorite parts was the opportunity to write back to each student.  It was time consuming but I felt like it helped us build a better teacher-student relationship.  

The kids were very excited to read my response to their letters each week.  

In order to make this task more manageable, I would stagger the days of the week letters were due.  Five or six students were expected to turn in their journals each day of the week.  My part of the job was to read the letters and write a response each day.  

I have updated some of the resources I previously shared.  

I hope you find this to be as successful as I did!  My biggest piece of advice is to stick it out past the first few weeks.  The time you put into it will be worth it.

Reading response letters are a great way to interact with your students while learning about what and how they are reading.

Introducing reading response letters

I began introducing the journals by sharing a sample lettter with my students.  

At the time we were reading A Long Way From Chicago as a read aloud in my class.  

Because all students were familiar with this book, I thought it was a good book to use in my first response.  

As I began, I simply shared my letter and elaborated on each section.  The second day I shared another sample, but this time I wrote the letter as the kids were watching.  I made sure to “think aloud” as I wrote.

After introducing the letter, you might find that some students will need help with writing a summary.  

If this is the case, you will find graphic organizers to assist you in teaching this skill here:  Writing a Simple Summary.

Helping your students write reading response letters

There are a range of tools available in this download. These are designed to help students while thinking about and writing their letters.

You will find the following materials:

Tell Me Why Anchor Chart One of the most difficult tasks when teaching students how to write good responses is encouraging them to provide evidence for their reactions. This anchor chart is full of terms that are used when you are trying to explain your feelings. This chart can also be added to response journals as a resource.

Response Ideas Sometimes children need a little help when they begin responding to their reading in writing.  “Share a response” is a very broad request.  We have created a list of possible response starts.  You may choose to share this whole list or narrow it down to three or four choices when you first start. This is another resource students can add to their journals.

Response Bookmarks Give students a bookmark for each response you are requiring.  As they are reading, they can mark spots and take notes on these bookmarks.  This will make the letter writing easier when the time comes. You will find one page with lines and one without. Offer both to students so children can choose which are best for them.

Journal Response Helper This is designed to help students draft their letters. For some children, this might be their final letter they turn in. For others, you can make it a rough draft. Students can then edit and write a final copy.

Spelling Checklist There are two versions provided. This was an easy way for me to get a spelling grade that showed how students were applying their spelling skills. To me it was much more meaningful than looking at how students performed on a list of memorized words. Students were encouraged to use their word walls and other resources when writing their journal letters.  Each student had this spellchecker page in their journal and words were added as needed.

Lined Paper This can be used by students for their final letters if needed.

Grading Rubrics There are multiple available here. Some have blank spots so you can write in your own requirements.

You can download this reading collection here:

Reading Download

You might also like these other free resources we have created:

A new reading log designed by Ekuwah Moses and presented by The Curriculum Corner

As with all of our resources, The Curriculum Corner creates these for free classroom use. Our products may not be sold. You may print and copy for your personal classroom use. These are also great for home school families!

You may not modify and resell in any form. Please let us know if you have any questions.

You may not modify and resell in any form. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Susan Taylor

Thursday 30th of December 2021

Hello! I was viewing the reading response pages and I am excited to begin the new year with these tasks. I feel like your format covers many aspects to create reading conversations that have points of entry for all levels in my Fourth Grade class! Thanks you!

I don’t quite understand the rubrics though. Would you clarify the point system you demonstrated? I make rubrics for specific work I assign but I’d like to use resources without remaking the wheel and routinize the grading process as much as possible. I hope you’ve had a great holiday and a healthy and happy new year. I look forward to continue to learn with you in the new year. Sincerely, Susan Taylor

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Wednesday 29th of December 2021

[…] Reading Response Letters […]


Thursday 26th of August 2021

For what grade level is this targeted?

Maria Palopoli

Monday 3rd of September 2018

How kind of you to not only share your good ideas, but provide documents as well. Very much appreciative.

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Thursday 23rd of February 2017

[…] pages. For some other ideas, or for more advanced students, you might want to check out the post on Reading Response Letters  we created for intermediate students.  However and wherever you choose to have your students […]