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Faculty Development Center

Assignments for Interaction with the Text


Marginal notes approach — Copious notes instead of underlining. Ask the students to write why they think the passage is worth underlining. Show them how to use the margins to summarize the text, ask questions, disagree or agree.

Focused Reading notes — Give students a sheet with four or five columns, each with a keyword at the top. Students write reading notes under the keywords as they read the text through.

Reading Logs – Students may write regularly about readings but are free to choose what to say: summarize text, connect to personal experience, argue with it, analyze it, evaluate it.

Summary/Response Notebook — Students keep a reading log with two opposing responses to a text. First page is a restatement of the passage in their own words (summary, flowchart, diagram, careful notes). Second page is personal reflection on the article. This calls for serious effort and engaged thought.

Guided-Journal Questions — Build these into the course; provide questions for their journal assignment.

Imagined Interviews with Author — Students write dialogues in which they interview the author, argue the points and invent the resulting dialogue based on the text.

Summary writing — Students write summaries or abstracts of articles or texts. Separate main ideas from supporting details to find the hierarchical structure of the article or text.

Multiple-choice Quiz Designed by Students — Instructor provides the guidelines. Students read more perceptively when they have questions in mind.

Writing ‘Translations’ — Students translate a difficult passage into their own words. Activity focuses attention on precise meanings of words, shows the use of syntax in complex texts.

Ideas derived from Bean, John C. (2001). Engaging Ideas, 143f. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publ.