How to Use your Reading in your Essays

Second edition

by Jeanne Godfrey

Short but powerful writing tasks to give students

Included in How to Use your Reading in your Essays
  • writing a paraphrase of an essay or assignment title
  • writing down some questions of a text before they start reading
  • making notes on and then questioning, evaluating and locating a text
  • writing an informal reflection on their reading
  • writing a one-sentence, then a two or three-sentence summary of their reading
Other powerful student writing tasks
  • asking the students to use the last five minutes of a lecture or seminar to write a one or two-sentence summary of what they have heard
  • paraphrasing a key sentence you have highlighted in a text
  • editing a poorly written essay with other students via a wiki
  • keeping a 'Writing Journal' and reflecting on any/all parts of their writing process
  • keeping and collecting the results of stages in the writing process to produce a portfolio
  • *discussing their written work and the process it took them to produce it, as the focus of a seminar
  • writing a paragraph on the usefulness (or otherwise) of the written feedback they have received on their work
  • *peer reviewing the written work of other students and adding their own written comments, counter claims and questions
  • giving written comments on their own essay and giving it a mark
  • *specifying one or two aspects of their work they would like tutor comments on

*These tasks are taken from the excellent website of the Writing in the Disciplines Project at QMUL, developed by Sally Mitchell and team. Their website gives ideas for and examples of, successful writing in the discipline initiatives in different subject areas. www.qmul.ac.uk/thinkingwriting

© Jeanne Godfrey, 2009, 2013, How to Use Your Reading in Your Essays, Palgrave Macmillan.