To discuss strategies for critical reading. To introduce the concept of summary and its conventions and apply them to the article we read for today.
Connection to Course Goals
Critical reading prepares students for closely examining the texts they’ll write about it this course and summary provides students with a key skill for this class and courses beyond CO150.
Attendance and Logistics (3 - 5 minutes)
Take roll. This may be the last day that new students may show up in class. If there are new students, you might ask them to stay after class for a minute so that you can give them class materials.
Ask students if they’ve successfully logged onto the Writing Studio. If a few students were not able to logon, meet with them at the end of class (leave about 3 - 5 minute of time) or ask them to drop by during your office hours. Usually students who can’t log on are experiencing difficulty because they are either entering the incorrect information, or you have mistyped their information in the system. One way to address this is to print off a copy of your class roster (from the Writing Studio). This should have students’ emails listed and you can show them how you’ve entered their email and ask them if it’s correct. Encourage students to use each other as resources, too - this will not only help build classroom community, but it will also help them become accustomed to the idea that they have access to a wide range of resources on campus, including their peers.
Provide an introduction to class. This can be a simple summary or reference to the day’s agenda listed on the board. “Today we will…”
Introduce Portfolio I - Part A (5 - 7 minutes)
Distribute the assignment and ask students to read it over. Ask students if they have any questions and address their concerns. Highlight important parts of the assignment and let students know that ALL the work you do in the next two weeks will prepare them for completing this portfolio.
Sample Transition: "Writing an effective summary and response will depend, in part on your ability to read texts closely and critically. So let's discuss critical reading and what it involves."
This activity asks students to think about how they can become close and critical readers. Use the PHG (pgs. 153 - 154), the Critical Reading Guide on Writing@CSU and the points below to guide discussion:
You might begin this discussion by asking students what they identified as Boyden's main point. You could list a few responses to this question on the board, and then point out that there are several possible ways to read his article. Ask students how they determined what Boyden's main point was, and what strategies they used to help them carefully read this article (these can also go on the board in a list). Use this conversation as a segue into a short discussion of the why's and wherefore's of critical reading. You might put the following on an overhead and go through it by comparing their list of critical reading strategies to "your" list.
What is critical reading?
Critical reading is "active" and usually happens when you're trying to learn something. It enables you to gain a deeper understanding of what you've read. (You're "actively" interpreting a passage you read. You're "actively" asking questions once you've finished reading a text) Casual reading is passive and usually happens when you're just reading for enjoyment.
Why read critically?
It will help you understand the texts you're reading and help you remember what you read (this is especially useful when you're later asked to write about these texts).
Strategies for Critical Reading
Preview or survey your reading. Look over the reading before you begin it. Read the introduction and scan the subheadings. Previewing allows you to estimate length/time requirements, activate what you know about the topic, and prepare yourself for the content in the article or book.
Reconstruct the text's rhetorical context: Give some thought to where the article is coming from. Who is the author? Why is s/he writing this? Who is his/her target audience? Putting the article in context will help you make more sense out of it.
Rereading: If you've ever watched a movie several times, you know that each viewing reveals something new. The same goes for reading. The first time through, you might just try to get a sense of the bigger picture - what's it about? On the second or third read, you may need to do more critical thinking to gain a deeper understanding of the text.
Dialoguing: ALWAYS read with a pen or pencil. Mark anything that stands out, such as:
Something you relate to
Questions or confusions
Ideas that seem important
Dialoguing involves more than just underlining or highlighting. You should also jot down notes to help you interpret the meaning of a passage and remember it for later on.
Glossing: When glossing, write down the main idea of each paragraph (either in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper). Glossing leaves you with a mini-summary of the entire reading. It also helps you to see the overall structure of the writing. This strategy will be especially useful when you write academic summaries.
**** See pgs. 159 - 162 in the PHG for additional ideas on how to teach critical reading.
Sample Transition: Critical reading strategies will help you to effectively write academic summaries.
You could begin this lesson with some discussion of summary in general and then compare this to academic summary. You might create two columns on the board: General Summary and Academic Summary. Then, list generated responses beneath the appropriate titles. Note: possible responses are listed in parenthesis.
What is summary in general? Where do you see summary used in our society?
When was the last time you summarized something that you did or saw (perhaps in an e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?
What is usually your goal or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give an overall impression without all the boring details)
Are your summaries objective (fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are they subjective, colored by your own opinions or point of view?
How do you think general summaries compare to academic summaries? What are the similarities and differences? (academic summaries are more objective and focus on main ideas rather than events)
What are the purposes for an academic summary? How is this different from a general summary?
After generating some responses, have students turn to pgs. 167 - 168 in the PHG and review guidelines for academic summary. You might add these points to the academic summary column on the board.
If Time: Generate Summary Points
If you have extra time, use this activity to get students started relating the idea of summary to the articles we're reading. Ask them to list out the points that they think would have to go into an academic summary of Boyden's article.
Conclude Class and Assign Homework (3 minutes)
Explain that we will use the concepts from today's class to write an academic summary and to read an article critically for Tuesday. Then, in class on Tuesday, we'll also continue addressing the discussion of racial and cultural issues precipitated by Hurricane Katrina.
Note: Let students know that, after this week, they should begin accessing homework via the Calendar feature on your class page on The Writing Studio. You should provide instructions for how they can do this (instructions are available online under the Help button, or at http://writing.colostate.edu/help/index.cfm?helppage=studentclass). You should also decide if you want students to create Writing Studio accounts before you enter them into your Studio Class or if you want to enter them first. If you want to enter students first, it's helpful to get their email addresses as soon as possible.
Homework (put this on an overhead):
Logon to the class Writing Studio and locate the class calendar.
Read the Anderson Cooper 360° blog selections and "American Dilemma" by James Q. Wilson. Print both articles and apply critical reading strategies (read the articles with a pen or pencil, underlining important parts and jotting notes along the way). Bring both articles to class on Tuesday.
Type a 200 - 300 word academic summary of "American Dilemma". Make sure to identify the article's context (writer, publication, etc.) and main point.