practice in critical reading, i.e., developing the

English 100
Reading Response Journals
Primary goal of Assignment: practice in critical reading, i.e., developing the
ability to formulate the central ideas of what you read and identify the way the writer
develops and supports his/her argument.
In Upper Right Hand Corner of Paper write or type the following in this format:
Name: First and Last
Class: ENG 100
Class Period:
On the top line of paper or centered as a title if typing:
Title of the Reading
Title format: “Chapter One: Everything’s an Argument”
Summary paragraphs should take the following form:
a. First sentence (Topic Sentence): State the central idea of the reading, which might also
be considered the writer’s motive for writing it, or a way of explaining what the
writer wants to accomplish, what he/she wants the reader to understand or
believe by the end of the essay.
Example: Chapter One Of “Everything’s an Argument” explains what an argument is, the
purposes of argument, the occasions for argument, the kinds of argument, and discusses
audiences for arguments and the types of appeals used to draw the readers to one’s argument.
(Note: the first sentence of your summary identifies the title, the genre,and the author, if an
b. give a brief (two sentences at the most) summary of the main content areas and
format (narrative, description, example, argument, cause-effect—or more
some combination if appropriate)
Example: The chapter defines an argument as any text – written, verbal or visual that expresses a
point of view. Additionally, it makes a distinction between argument and persuasion.
Argument is used to discover some version of the truth. Persuasion is used to convince others
when you think you KNOW the truth.
(NOTE: You would write similar explanations for each of the main points in the text. In this
case, you would add sections about the purposes, occasions, kinds of argument, etc. See the
things identified in your first sentence – see above.)
c. identify the kinds of support the writer uses and give examples (these don’t
necessarily have to be quotes, but they should be as specific as possible)
Example: Some examples of the purpose of argument in which you are arguing to inform would
include a movie poster or a bumper sticker for an election such as “Obama 08.”
d. (to be used when reading essays, articles or readings other than a textbook)
describe the tone or significant features of style the writer uses to appeal
to the reader on an emotional level.
Critical Thinking
Summary paragraphs should take the following form:
a. First Sentence (Topic Sentence): Write a thesis statement or argumentative
statement. Think critically. Don’t just accept everything you’ve read. What
questions do you have about what you’ve read. How do you categorize or evaluate
the information? What relationships do you find. What is YOUR point of view?
(see handout “What Do We Mean by Critical Thinking”)
Example1: The claim in Chapter One of Everything’s an Argument that one of the
purposes of argument is to meditate or pray clearly questions my thinking about
Example2: According to Chapter One of Everything’s an Argument, it is important as a
writer to consider my use of pronouns such as you, we, or us so that I don’t possibly
exclude a reader who doesn’t think like me and weaken my argument.
b. Write several sentence that use evidence in the form of quotations and paraphrases
for the argument you are making.
Example: “The most powerful resource any of us can have as we study and teach in
university settings is full understanding and appreciation of the richness, beauty, and
primacy of our familial and community backgrounds.”
- Bell hooks, “Keeping Close to Home: Class and Education” (30).
c. Write several sentences that interpret the evidence in relation to your argument.
Example: The textbook makes the assertion that the use of such pronouns can weaken
my argument. I definitely do not feel a connection to the quote above. It’s use of us,
makes me feel included, but because I don’t really relate to what is being said, it makes
me feel stupid- as if I don’t get something that I should. I want to be sure that my writing
does not make someone feel this way. Feeling lost definitely does not get me to agree
with this writer’s argument.
d. Write a concluding sentence(s) that sum(s) it all up.
Example: Therefore, I will be sure that I use pronouns carefully when I write so that I
don’t falsely include/exclude my reader. I will be sure to have a peer reviewer check for
this when asking them to read my writing. Awareness of this should improve my writing
and strengthen my arguments.