How to Cite Within a Reading Response

Creating a citation within a reading response follows the same conventions as any citation within an essay. Whether following MLA or APA formatting, providing a citation is necessary to give credit to the original author. Placing a direct quotation or a paraphrase makes a reading response inherently stronger; not only does the quotation prove you have completed the reading assignment, but it also adds legitimacy to your analysis of the text. Knowing how to properly create a citation for a reading response is important for developing writing skills.

Quote or paraphrase the material you plan to cite. Begin the quote with a single quotation mark, type the text, then close with a second quotation.

Insert an opening parenthesis. Within the parentheses, type the author's last name followed by the page number if following MLA. The basic author/page number format holds for books, short stories, journals, and electronic sources. For APA, include the author's last name and date of publication. The basic author/date format holds for all sources. (Reference 3) Close the parentheses.

Type a period to end the sentence. Reading responses sometimes do not require an endnote because the reading response is "a critical essay, not a research paper," according to Professor I.V. Montenegro at the University of Texas.

Include the act, scene, and line numbers if citing from a play. The play's title and author should be made clear either in the reading response's heading or somewhere in the essay. The citation will begin with a quotation mark, include the text, and end with a second quotation mark. Open the parenthesis, type the act, scene, and line numbers, each separated by a comma: "Quotation" (4.3.23-8). Place a period after closing the parenthesis.

Place the line numbers in the parentheses when citing a poem. To create the citation, place an opening quotation mark, type the material, close the quotation mark. Type the opening parenthesis, followed by the author's last name and the line number(s). Close the parenthesis and type a period: "Quotation" (Keats 23-8).

Include a works cited or works referenced. For MLA, the basic format is: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. (Reference 4) For APA, the basic format is: Berndt, T. J. (2002). Friendship quality and social development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 7-10. (Reference 3)


Although more informal than a research paper, reading responses should still follow the conventions of effective writing.


If you include the author's name in the sentence before the quotation, it is not necessary to include it in the parenthetical citation.


If quoting a poem or play, separate multiple lines with a right slanting slash mark (/).


Outside research is typically not required in a reading response.

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