Reading Response 1

Point Value
Reading Response 1 is worth up to 20 course points each.

Abstract
Reading Responses are writing and thinking activities that allow students to engage with the course reading.

Prerequisites
– Must read an assigned course reading and submit RR1 in class on the day that reading is  discussed.

Completion
To complete either of these assignments, students need to write a 200-350 word response that summarizes the reading (according to the guidelines below). These are graded assignments, and as such should be produced with an eye toward their written quality.

Assignment Description
Reading Response 1 is designed to allow students the opportunity to reflect on a selected course reading and to put into their own words a summary of that reading.

A summary is essentially an attempt to answer the “about” question: “What was the reading about?” Or “What was the author trying to communicate?” It is a condensed version of a larger reading with an eye toward identifying the main idea (or ideas) of a reading and pointing to the relevant details of the work. [Note: summaries are about the text and its author, not about the summarizer’s opinions].

A general 8-part process for writing a summary includes:

  • Skim the text –get a general feel for the reading (what are its headings, subheadings, organizational patterns, etc.)
  • Read the work – take notes and highlight the text, break it down into divisions that make sense to you as a reader, and write down the author’s main points for each section (and overall work)
  • Outline the article – main points/sections, supporting points, etc.
  • Start writing – let readers know upfront what text you are responding to and what you are attempting to do in this response.
  • Give the big picture – Provide a guiding statement for the whole piece (the general “what was this about” kind of indication).
  • Work through your divisions and/or the outline to articulate the frame of the work and its supporting claims or thoughts.
  • Conclude with a new articulation of the big picture, but as influenced by supporting points.
  • Revise, Rethink, and Proof Read – make sure your prose works together, check all information and arguments for accuracy.

Students need to limit their use of quotations from the text to no more than 1 quotation.

Evaluation
Reading Response 1 will be graded on their overall written quality (Is the prose readable? Is it relatively free from grammatical and punctuation issues? Does it offer a sense of clarity of thought? Is it concise? etc.), the performance of the summary (the depth or degree of summation, or the ability to wield the key concepts of the work in a clear and impactful way), and the ability to stay within the guidelines of the assignment (word count, quotation rule, etc.).

Goals: Reading Responses are seen as a course resource. They are opportunities for students to stumble upon key ideas or concerns that they might later pursue in course work. Summaries provide concise descriptions of texts which help students get a sense of where particular conversations reside and what issues are likely to emerge in relation to those conversations.

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