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)?
  • 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 200-400 words (except Stewart, which is longer; your notes should be 400-800 words). Save these notes electronically and submit them the day we discuss the reading in class, either before or after class. We have five readings to go with Paper 1: Burke, Lang, Hunter, smith, and Stewart. 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+). You will get a 2/3 letter grade bonus if you complete notes for all the readings in the unit (e.g., B > A-).

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. Save these notes electronically and submit them the day we discuss the reading in class, either before or after class. We have two readings for Paper 2: Villanueva and Royster. You will get a 1/3 letter grade bonus if you complete notes for both readings (e.g., your Paper 2 grade would be raised from B > B+).