Reading Notes

As you work through our class readings, I recommend getting in the habit of taking notes. What aspects of the text seem important to you, and why? What questions do you have? More specifically, it would help to address the following prompts and questions:

  • What is the main aim or purpose of the text (we could say main argument, idea, or theme here as well)?
  • Discuss the context in which the text was written. Why might the author have written this? What are they responding to? Who is the likely or intended audience?
  • What specific keywords or passages from the text seem important? What makes them significant? How do they contribute to the main purpose of the text?
  • How would you assess the uses and limits of the text? What makes this text valuable, useful, or interesting? How does it contribute to a larger conversation about the topic? Do you see any limits in the text, anything it misses or any ways it could be developed further?

While I would recommend doing this at least informally for all our readings, you can get extra credit if you write up your answers to these questions and submit them to me. The extra credit will apply to our main papers. Here’s how it works:

Paper 1
To formally submit your notes for extra credit, you should write out your answers to these questions for a given reading. Your notes for each reading should be 300-500 words; submit them the day we discuss the reading in class. We have eight readings for Paper 1: Burke, Lang, Hunter, smith, Smarsh, Ehrenreich, Villanueva, and Royster. You will get a 1/3 letter grade bonus if you complete notes for at least three of the readings in the unit (e.g., your Paper 1 grade would be raised from B > B+), at least one of which should be one of the academic articles (Villanueva and Royster).

Paper 2
To formally submit your notes for extra credit, you should write out your answers to these questions for a given reading. Your notes for each reading should be 300-500 words; submit them the day we discuss the reading in class. For Paper 2, we have readings and texts from three authors: McIntosh, Febos, and Petersen. You will get a 1/3 letter grade bonus if you complete notes for three of these texts (e.g., your Paper 2 grade would be raised from B > B+).