Silent Reading Session

Guidelines and Procedure for the Silent Reading Session

SES #21 will be a Silent Reading Session: you are to bring a revision of one of the essays you've written this semester to which you would like response from readers, and you will all spend the class period reading and responding in writing to each other's work.

For the Silent Reading Session, bring with you two copies of your revised essay. Be sure your name is on your submission, and that it is typed and double-spaced, and stapled or paper-clipped together, with a couple of sheets of blank paper attached to the back of each copy so readers have room to write their responses. You should feel free to include a cover sheet if you want, saying what particular questions you have about the writing you have submitted and in what particular ways readers can help you in their response.

The procedure for the class period will be this: when you come into class, you will place your two copies of your submission on the table, pick up a copy of another person's writing, read it and respond with comments on the blank pages at the back, then return that piece and pick up another. We'll continue this until the class period is over.

As a reader, your responses, as always, should be friendly and constructive and should take the form of a brief letter. Begin by addressing your comments to the writer by name. Your response should conform roughly to the process of our class workshops: you should first comment on the strengths of what you've read–what the writer has done well, what you learned from reading the piece, what aspects of it especially interested or pleased you, particular insights you gained from it, etc. Then you can, if you are so moved (and especially if the writer has asked for suggestions), make some suggestions for how the writer might add to or revise the piece to improve it–ideas for further elaboration, things that might be included or left out, what you wanted to know more about, where you were confused or needed to know more. In closing, sign your name.

As always, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have as you prepare for the session. I'll have something of my own out on the table also, for you to read if you choose.

Enjoy this occasion to share with each other the fruits of all your labors this semester!