This introduction was written after a wonderful lecture by Sandy Goldberg on talking to students about reading. Note that Sandy often assigns better writers than I do, so not everything may apply in all readings.
How should you read the various pieces of writing I assign? Carefully, accurately, repeatedly, and thoughtfully.
You should read each piece of writing carefully. Most authors have placed considerable effort and care into their writing, precisely structuring their arguments. You owe it to yourself and to the author to make sure that you understand the argument.
You should read each piece of writing accurately. Strive to understand what the author intends at each place. Note that most authors of argumentative texts will use a number of forms to support their arguments. These include
I expect that you will eventually be able to classify each part of any writing I assign. That is, I may choose a section of the writing (e.g., a sentence or paragraph) and ask you whether it is a claim, evidence, objection, response, summary, or conclusion. You should also understand the relationship of that piece of text to the larger argument.
When possible, you should read each piece of writing repeatedly. Often, it is not possible to understand a serious piece of writing on the first (or second or third) reading. Through repeated readings, you familiarize yourself with the author's perspective, the structure of his or her argument, and the ideas he or she raises.
Finally, you should read each piece of work thoughtfully. Once you begin to understand a piece, you should begin to consider its implications. As you read, you are likely to develop questions. You are expected to send me two questions on each reading by noon before the day we are scheduled to discuss that reading.
Monday, 22 March 1999
Saturday, 21 August 1999
Disclaimer Often, these pages were created "on the fly" with little, if any, proofreading. Any or all of the information on the pages may be incorrect. Please contact me if you notice errors.
This page may be found at http://www.math.grin.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/Tutorial/99F/Handouts/reading.html
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