Informal Writing Assignments: The Reading Response

Unless otherwise noted, you will write a response for every course reading we complete this semester. These responses are meant to demonstrate that you have read and attempted to understand the text and to get you “prepped” for discussion, but they also provide an opportunity for you to speak up about your own opinions and experiences. Many of the readings for this course are difficult, but that shouldn’t discourage you. Reading responses are a low-stakes method of practicing reading and understanding complex texts. Each Reading Response (min. 400 words) should include the following: A Summary detailing: 1) the author’s motivation for writing (exigence), 2) the text’s thesis or main argument (what does the author want us to do, or think after we have read the text?) 3) the text’s evidence or support, (how does the author convince us of his argument?) 4) any conclusions or implications of the text (why is this argument significant? For whom is it significant?) While these responses should be opportunities for you to practice quoting, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on the author’s words and phrasing, and instead, practice summarizing in your own words. A Synthesis where you compare this work to other readings. How is this reading similar and different to other readings? What new knowledge about the topic can you come up with when you put 2 or more readings together and explore their differences and similarities? A Personal Response describing your own reaction to the reading. How does it related to your experiences? What did you learn about writing? How might it better prepare you for professional writing? Reading Responses should be posted to your blog before class. Title blog posts numerically and include the author or authors’ names: e.g. “Post 2: Beaufort”

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