Reading Response Guidelines

In ~350 words (ideally 2-3 short paragraphs), you have two goals: 1) to show me that you’ve read and thought critically about the reading; 2) to help advance our discussion about the reading, its utility, and how it fits into the course.

Basic Requirements

  • 300 - 400 words
  • Clear, concise, and meaningful (no fluff!)
  • No quotations, except short phrases that you want to critique directly
  • 3-5 citations to specific pages, like (Burdick, 22)
  • Posted to your blog before you go to bed the day before class

What to comment on

Below are a list of themes and questions you should be asking yourself and comment on in your response. This is not an exhaustive or restrictive list!


  • what did you take away as the main point or points?
  • what examples did the author(s) give to help make their point?
  • how does the piece fit into the course and other course readings?


  • how convincing was the author(s)?
  • how well was the main point supported by evidence?
  • do you agree or not with the premise of the piece?


  • who is the target audience? what does the author(s) think their audience knows?
  • was this relatively easy to read? what made it so? or not?
  • were you motivated appreciate the significance of the piece?


All responses will be graded on a 0-2 point scale, with the following logic:

  • 0: You shouldn’t have bothered. The assignment does not show any serious engagement with the material, or is so sloppily written I can’t decipher it.
  • 1: Clear evidence of casually reading the assignment, some critical thinking, and clear enough writing that I wasn’t totally confused.
  • 2: Significant engagement with the material, original thinking that ties it to other readings (or discussions), and a clear exposition of your ideas.
  • 3: I know I said 0-2 points, but sometimes you’ll be inspired by the reading to have some really great ideas, and to convey them in a particularly engaging and energetic way. So you get a bonus point for turning it up to 11…or 3, in this case.