Engaged Reading And Writing

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Text of Engaged Reading And Writing

  • 1. Reading to Engage and Close Reading Skills
  • 2. Every Reading Creates Meaning
    • Reading provides opportunities to create new knowledge . Some reading theorists argue that every act of reading is also an act of writing. An author writes to communicate ideas or share experiences but cannot possibly say all there is to say about any given topic. Readers must bridge the gaps of meaning. As they do, they contribute their own assumptions, experiences, and ways of perceiving. In this way, every reading is a process of creating meaning.
  • 3. Meaning is Created by Communities
    • BUT there is one more crucial step that all readers must realize. There are communities of readers who agree that a given text has a certain range of interpretations.
  • 4. Not All Interpretations are Equal!
    • THUS, not all interpretations are equal. Shared cultural meanings that surround texts will often help us notice interpretations that are too incomplete, personal, or out of the norm to be acceptable.
  • 5. Mapping out the Authors Argument
    • When you have to write about an article, you must read it carefully to map out the authors argument, taking notes as you read and reread. You then need to build evidence of your own to judge the strength of the authors claims.
  • 6. Ask Yourself:
      • What key claims is the author making?
      • How then does she go on to prove her claims?
      • What other claims does she make?
      • How does she qualify her claims?
      • What evidence does she provide?
      • What reasons does she offer?
      • And what contrary arguments does she acknowledge to make her argument more believable?
      • You may also look for argument weaknesses, errors in logic, problems with data interpretation, etc.
      • You do all this in an effort to locate your own stand on the topic in relation to the writers.
  • 7. Ethos: Earning the Respect of Your Readers
    • Such questions ensure that interpretations you make of her work are careful, respectful, and meaningful. If you dont read her argument generously before you offer critique and analysis, then your own readers are unlikely to offer you the same respect.
  • 8. Questions For Engaged Reading
    • What is the most interesting part of the essay?
    • What is the most important quotation or set of quotations you can find?
    • What is your phrase by phrase interpretation of a key quotation?
    • What other places in the essay must you visit to unpack key terms or claims that the author is making?
    • What are the key terms and how are they defined by the author?
    • What assumptions do you bring to the reading that lead you to understand it as you do?
    • How can you use the passage you have quoted to understand the title of the article?
    • How can you use the quotation and your analysis of it to understand the overall claims of the article?
    • What angle can you take on the article that would make other people interested in what you have to say?
    • Why should other readers care about the conclusions you have drawn?
  • 9. Close & Critical Reading Practice
    • From: Meditations on First Philosophy in Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between the Soul and the Body are Demonstrated
    • The opening moves . . .
    • Several years have now passed since I first realized how numerous were the false opinions that in my youth I had taken to be true , and thus how doubtful were all those that I had subsequently built upon them . . . .
    • Yet to bring this about I will not need to show that all my opinions are false , which is perhaps something I could never accomplish. But reason now persuades me that I should withhold my assent no less carefully from opinions that are not completely certain and indubitable than I would from those that are patently false. For this reason , it will suffice for the rejection of all of these opinions, if I find in each of them some reason for doubt. Nor therefore need I survey each opinion individually, a task that would be endless. Rather , because undermining the foundations will cause whatever has been built upon them to crumble of its own accord, I will attack straightaway those principles which support everything I once believed. (59-60)
  • 10. Close & Critical Reading Practice
    • Just so, great things are also to be hoped for if I succeed in finding just one thing, however, slight, that is certain and unshaken.
    • Therefore I suppose that everything I see is false. I believe that none of what my deceitful memory represents ever existed. I have no senses whatever. Body, shape, extension, movement, and place are all chimeras. What then will be true? Perhaps just the single fact that nothing is certain.
    • But how do I know there is not something else, over and above all those things that I have just reviewed, concerning which there is not even the slightest occasion for doubt? Is there not some God, or by whatever name I might call him, who instills these very thoughts in me? But why would I think that, since I myself could perhaps be the author of these thoughts? Am I not then at least something? But I have already denied that I have any senses and any body. Still I hesitate; for what follows from this? Am I so tied to a body and to the senses that I cannot exist without them? But I have persuaded myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world: no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Is it then the case that I too do not exist? But doubtless I did exist, if I persuaded myself of something. But there is some deceiver or other who is supremely powerful and supremely sly and who is always deliberately deceiving me. Then too there is no doubt that I exist, if he is deceiving me. And let him do his best at deception, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I shall think that I am something. Thus, after everytthng has been most carefully weighed, it must finally b established that this pronouncement I am, I exist is necessarily true every time I utter it or conceive it in my mind.
    • But I do not yet understand sufficiently what I amI, who now necessarily exist. (63-4)
  • 11. Identifying Key Moves and Terms
    • Just so , great things are also to be hoped for if I succeed in finding just one thing , however, slight, that is certain and unshaken.
    • Therefore (1) I suppose that everything I see is false . (2) I believe that none of what my deceitful memory represents ever existed. (3) I have no senses whatever . (4) Body, shape, extension, movement, and place are all chimeras . What then will be true? Perhaps just the single fact that nothing is certain.
    • But how do I know there is not something else , over and above all those things that I have just reviewed, concerning which there is not even the slightest occasion for doubt? (5) Is there not some God , or by whatever name I might call him, who instills these very thoughts in me? But why would I think that , since I myself could perhaps be the author of these thoughts? (6) Am I not then at least something? But I have already denied that I have any senses and any body . Still I hesitate ; for what follows from this? Am I so tied to a body and to the senses that I cannot exist without them? (7) But I have persuaded myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world : no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Is it then the case that I too do not exist? (8) But doubtless I did exist , if I persuaded myself of something. But there is some deceiver or other who is supremely powerful and supremely sly and who is always deliberately deceiving me . Then too there is no doubt that I exist, if he is deceiving me . And let him do his best at deception, he will never bring it about that (9) I am nothing so long as I shall think that I am something. Thus , after everything has been most carefully weighed, (10) it must finally be established that this pronouncement I am, I exist is necessarily true every time I utter it