Reading responses are due Tuesdays by 6PM in the designated area on BlackBoard. These responses will feed into your discussions for that week, so your instructors will look forward to reading them very much.
· Over the course of the semester, you must complete 7 of them. If you do not complete 7 responses, you will get an F for the “reading responses” portion of your final grade (15%).
· Your graduate instructor will be evaluating your responses, so please do attend to their explanation of this assignment and their expectations for it. An approximate length for these reading responses will be 150-200 words.
· If you so wish, you can write more than the required 7. Your cumulative grade will be based on your top 7 scores.
· You will have 10 opportunities to write (Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Once the semester gets rolling, your instructor may choose to distribute a prompt for the reading response.
For now, a good general prompt is: “You’re not going to believe this, BUT I can prove it.” Your reading response does not need to speak about something extraordinary. And you should not do any research for it. Here is a litmus test by which to judge your response: If you can’t picture anyone arguing with it (i.e. “pushing back” on what you’ve said), then your key point is not risky enough—you might just be summarizing the text.
Your response should be clearly-stated, well-supported, and risky. Consider these criteria and questions as you compose your responses. They are good general guides for great writing.
For these responses, a single sentence at or near the start should lay out the line of thought that you are going to pursue.
Be sure you move from one idea to the next in a logical fashion. Consider this: Would a reader “get lost” in any points in the response?
Did you make good use of textual evidence? This means quoting from the text or citing specifics that do not merely paraphrase the plot. Rather, the evidence attends to details that are not immediately obvious.
Did you pay close attention to the text’s language and imagery? This includes its literary devices (such as metaphors) as well as word choices (why did the author chose that particular word or turn of phrase over others?)
Did you come up with a savvy interpretation of the text based on what was written (not what you wish was written)? That is, you should attend to the textual world that the author has created (and not just its accuracy based on, say, information from The History Channel).
Brief quotations from the text usually enhance an essay. Consider this: did you set up your quotations well? This means preparing the reader for the quote, quoting, and then commenting on the quote. (Don’t just “plop” the quotation into the reading response.) This particular criterion could in fact serve as the basis for an entire response, if done well.
Did you pursue a line of thinking that (in theory) someone else could disagree with? (For example, a plot summary—no matter how compelling the plot is—is not a risky argument).
Were you attuned to the text subtext: not just what’s going on (in terms of plot) but what else is going on (i.e., is the author hinting at something without explicitly saying it?)
Here is the grading scale that the instructors will use to evaluate your reading responses:
5=truly exceptional. If we weren’t practicing social isolation, I would run out of my office and knock on my neighbor’s door to tell them how excited I was by this response.
4=really good. Your response made me think of the text in a new light.
3=satisfactory. You are keeping up with the reading and paying attention in lecture. Nice work.
2=needs work. You would do well to read the text more carefully and attend closely to what the assignment is asking you to do.
1=missed the mark. This in-class writing suggests that you did not do the assigned reading.
0=denotes that no writing was submitted.
(i.e. failure to complete 7 posts)
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