Reading Response Assignment


Students will sign up for one response paper that will critically engage the assigned reading for the day that the response is due. While you need to demonstrate that you comprehend the main argument in the reading, this is an opportunity to “play” with the ideas in the article by exploring connections and making your own intervention into the debates at hand. You can do this in a variety of ways: 1. by comparing and contrasting the arguments, ideas, concepts, or keywords in the assigned reading with those in another reading; 2. by analyzing the author’s methodological or rhetorical approach; 3. by drawing connections to contemporary events or extending the author’s ideas to something new; or 4. by critiquing a specific aspect of the author’s argument. Be sure to include at least one short quote that substantiates / provides evidence for the point you are making. These essays do not need a thesis statement but they must be clearly written and carefully proofread.

At the end of your response paper, you should include two discussion questions. These will serve as possible discussion prompts during class and as prompts for other students’ comments on the blog. These response papers should be copied and pasted onto the course blog by 9pm on the evening before we talk about the text in class. For example, if the text you signed up for is listed under a Tuesday lecture, then you should write and upload your response by Monday night at nine o’clock. Mark the “reading response” category when uploading the blog post. You should also print out and turn in a hard copy in person at the beginning of the class period during which we discuss the reading.


Essay Expectations

  • Paper should be approximately 600 words (2 pages) long, while using one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point font, and double-spaced formatting.
  • Proofread, edit, and spellcheck for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Write simply and concisely, prioritizing the clarity of ideas. Use the free services of the Student Academic Success Center for editing assistance.
  • Cite all ideas that are not your own by using MLA style; PLAGIARISM (using someone else’s words and ideas without citing them) is a university-wide offence and can be reported to the Judicial Student Affairs office. Even when paraphrasing, you should use citations. MLA requires in-text parenthetical documentation, which can look like this:
  1. Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).
  2. Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).
  3. Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).* [Note that this last example paraphrases Wordsworth but still requires a citation.]
  • There should also be an MLA-style works cited page at the end of the paper. For example: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.*
  • See the OWL at Purdue website for more extensive MLA guidelines, including information on how to cite electronic media:

* above examples provided above are from the OWL Purdue website.


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