Reading Response Assignment

Reading Response Assignment INSTRUCTIONS

During the course, you will be responsible for writing four reading responses. Three of these should be for texts we read together. The fourth should be an article you find on your own that addresses your chosen research question.


Approached with curiosity and seriousness, these reading responses will be helpful to both you and me—they’ll give you a lot of prewriting ideas for your papers, and they’ll give me more ideas about how to use these readings in our class and in other classes in the future. I’ll also get an earlier look at how you’re responding to the unit themes and turning them into potential essay topics, so I’ll be able to follow your progress more closely.


  • Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains.
  • Course vocabulary, both about sports and about critical reading and writing.
  • Engagement with the text’s topic and knowledge (understanding); contextualization of the topic and awareness of related issues (application and synthesis).
  • Writing skills: organization, supporting claims, editing.


  • Demonstration of writing skills (see above).
  • Engagement with a text at five levels of depth.
  • Summary, description (understanding).
  • Supporting an analytical claim (analysis).
  • Supporting a claim about applicability or synthesis.
  • Developing an evaluation based on critical reading, supporting that evaluation.


Your reading response will be about two double-spaced pages made up of five paragraphs, one of which demonstrates each of the following:

  • Understanding of the reading. Summarize and describe the text. What is it about, in general? Where did it appear? When was it written? What is its genre? What else is part of it (pictures, videos, sub-sections, etc.)?
  • Analysis of the reading, its context, and the authorial choices that make it effective. For example, to whom is it aimed (if this claim would require support)? What seems to be its purpose? Why did the author make the rhetorical decisions s/he did?
    • It is important that your analysis paragraph have a topic sentence that makes a claim (“This reading is primarily aimed at women, which is clear because of …”), and the body of the paragraph provide textual evidence supporting that claim.
  • Application of the reading to your life and/or our course. Why is it relevant to us? What current topic or personal experience relates to it? Have you experienced something similar? What was the same or different?
    • You must address the following at the end of the paragraph: How does your experience help you to understand the reading differently, or how does the reading help you to think about your experience (or news event, etc.) differently?
  • Synthesis of the reading with others from class (assigned or your own research texts, but in either case you must name a specific text). How does it connect to other pieces we’ve read? What thematic similarities do you identify? What is added, complicated, called into question, or reinforced by having read these two texts together?
    • It is important that you name another essay you have read and make a specific connection here. You must then explore how that connection makes you re-think, re-consider, or re-understand something from one or both readings.
  • Evaluation of the reading. Did you like it? Is it useful? What would you do differently? Who might like it? To whom would you recommend it? Choose one specific way to evaluate (from the examples here or otherwise) and support your evaluation briefly.

You do not need to answer each of the questions listed, but you must cover each of those five categories in a way comparable to the suggestions I’ve provided.

Criteria for Success

I will grade your reading responses out of 10 points based on your completeness and thoughtfulness.

A 10 point reading response

…thoroughly engages with each of the five categories, especially taking care to address the sub-points in analysis, application, and synthesis.

A 7-9 point reading response

…contains all five categories but may lack some depth or miss the sub-point questions; may not summarize the text quite correctly or quite thoroughly enough. Alternatively, it may have four excellent paragraphs and lack one required category entirely.

A 6-point or lower reading response

…will lack an entire paragraph or more, and/or will not demonstrate that the writer understands the categories and/or the reading. May lack organization. In some cases a low-scoring reading response may have five paragraphs, but some do not do the correct work of engaging with the text in the way assigned—it may have two paragraphs of application and none of synthesis, for instance.


Each one is worth 2.5% of your total grade, for a total of 10% of your grade in this course. This is a formal, academic writing assignment.

Format and Submission

This is a formal writing assignment. It will be formatted as all formal work is in our course, with a heading, headers on subsequent pages, 1” margins on all sides, evidence of thorough editing, and so on. You will submit the assignment by the deadline on Canvas as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file.


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