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Exchange papers with your partner. Write "Read by ____" with your name in the blank at the top of the paper. Read and mark the paper, making written comments about the following as you read:

  • Particularly strong writing
  • Good uses of evidence
  • Effectiveness of transitions
  • MLA format for paper
  • Quote mechanics (each quote having a signal phrase, quotation, citation, and discussion)
  • Areas that are funny or powerful
  • Areas that are confusing or feel as if they are randomly placed
  • Correctness of Works Cited page

When you are done, write a note that devotes a paragraph to each of the following questions:

1. The Introduction: does the introduction start with an effective first line that sets up an issue rather than simply stating a fact? Is the author/director of the text and its title clearly identified before the specific comments about the text are made? Is there a clear claim in the introduction that the paper must address? Are the major points of the body of the paper previewed in the introduction? For each subquestion, comment on the effectiveness of the author's opening, complementing when it is deserved and cautioning when improvement is needed. Be specific in your advice.

2. Use of Evidence: does the author use quoted evidence from the primary text(s) to set up his or her points? Do the explanations linked to that evidence directly tie into the point of the individual paragraph in which it is found? Does it tie into the larger thesis for the paper? How effective is the use of secondary research? Are there a range of sources, or does the author rely too much on one source? Does the research feel forced into the paragraphs, or is it a vital, organic part of the paragraph? What can the writer do to improve?

3. Overall Response: overall, is the paper working for you as a piece of college writing in terms of the set up of the argument, the organization, the evidence, the analysis, and the polish (both grammatical and with format)? What works and needs work overall? How might the author improve the draft beyond completing it if it is incomplete?


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