WRITING A SYNTHESIS ESSAY RESPONSE STEP 1: PREVIEW AND PREDICT • Read the introduction and assignment. • Based on the introduction and assignment, identify: • the topic • the universal idea • your initial position STEP 2: READ AND ANNOTATE • Read each document as if it is a voice speaking on the topic • Mark whether the voice behind the document is for (+) or against (-) the issue at hand • Mark in the text any particularly obvious sentences, words, phrases that indicate the position STEP 3: WRITE THE THESIS • Based on the documents, determine your position on the issue This is a crucial step! An unclear position means an unclear argument. • The synthesis thesis is similar to the argument thesis and composed of these parts: • qualifier (subordinate clause) • topic • causal verb • universal idea • directions (reasons/evidence from the documents) Model Synthesis Thesis Although a standardized curriculum may seem to be the answer to the current educational problems in America, such a curriculum undermines a student’s education because it relies on an elitist cannon, could exclude multicultural literature, and diminishes a teacher’s instructional choices. STEP 4: PLAN THE ESSAY I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Thesis Concession/Refutation Second Strongest Point Weakest Point Strongest Point Conclusion STEP 5: WRITE THE ESSAY— TOPIC SENTENCES CONCESSION/REFUTATION TOPIC SENTENCE Developing a standardized curriculum may seem to effectively streamline the English education process. BODY TOPIC SENTENCE A curriculum in which all English students read the same texts from the cannon diminishes their English education because the cannon represents the text choices of “gatekeepers,” literary critics, and others who may offer only a narrow view of what quality literature is.