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Advanced Composition
Finding a Reader's Reaction: Reader-Based Questions

March 17 and 18, 2004


This week, we will use reader-based questions to examine another student’s piece of writing. Students will work in pairs to learn valuable skills in assessing a piece of writing.

Reader-Based Questions

According to Peter Elbow, “Reader-based feedback gives you the main thing you need to improve your writing: the experience of what it felt like for readers as they were reading your words.” Knowing what readers feel as they read your words is invaluable (and a bit scary!).

Pair Work:

Go through the questions on the attached sheet one by one and answer each one in full sentences as required. If you and your partner disagree at any point then both students should write a response (label separate responses with your name, please).


Revise your piece according to the feedback given by the other students in class today. Attach your original essay, the feedback sheet you received, and your revised copy and bring to class next week.

Reader-Based Questions:

Read only one half of the student writing (Cover and read the title, introduction and first body paragraph) then STOP.

1. What were your feelings as you read? Write two or three sentences.

2. Which words or phrases are memorable? Write them down below and comment in full sentences.

3. What has been said so far? Write a brief summary of two sentences. What do you expect to read in the rest of this piece? Write two or three sentences.

Now read the final one half of the student writing.

4. What is the most important thing about this piece of writing? Write two sentences to explain.

5. Describe the ending of the piece. Compare the ending to saying good-bye to someone. Was it gentle, abrupt or ?

Sheet done by:                AND

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