TIPS FOR PAPER READERS Compiled January 8, 2007 By Mamie Webb Hixon, Writing Lab Director Betty Acree Burleson, Writing Lab Coordinator And Members of the 2007 Writing Lab Staff Revised July 1, 2009 PowerPoint June 7, 2010 By Rustian Phelps Graduate Writing Lab Assistant Materials for the paper reader Each paper reading station should be equipped with the following: • Computer • Pens (preferably green, but blue is ok) • Writing Checklist post-its • Pocket Real Good Grammar, Too • Set of grammar reviews The computer’s desktop should include the following: • Paper Reading E-Contract 1 • Paper Reading E-Contract 2 • No-Show Contract • Link to ArgoMail • Contracts folder for appropriate semester Desktop continued • Link to Dictionary.com • Link to MLA at OWL at Purdue • Link to APA at OWL at Purdue • Link to Turabian at University of Georgia Libraries Desktop continued • Mini-Lessons folder • Procedures Folder • MLA Sample Paper • APA Sample Paper • Turabian Sample Paper In the PR room, you will find the following: • Syllabi and assignment sheets for participating instructors’ courses • Documentation handouts for MLA, APA, and Turabian • Style Guides for MLA, APA, and Turabian • Grammar handouts PR Room continued • Often-used handouts for Comp I, Comp II, and Intro to Lit classes • Writing aids handouts • Sample papers • Samples and templates for thesis writing Paper Reading Services Final Draft Paper Reading: a one- hour, interactive paper reading which focuses on the ungraded paper’s content, manuscript format, documentation style, and correctness of expression. Grammar Check: recommended for long essays, theses, dissertations, resumes, and business correspondences. A one-hour, interactive conference which focuses only on the ungraded paper’s correctness of expression (language, word choice, punctuation, etc.) and formatting. Paper-in-Progress Brainstorming: a one-hour, interactive session which takes the writer from the brainstorming/invention stage of the assignment to a skeletal outline of the paper. May not fulfill course paper reading requirement. Paper-in-Progress Reading: a one-hour, interactive session in which the paper reader helps the writer incorporate cited research material into an already prepared text or in which the paper reader helps the writer to format the works cited or reference page. Copies of research materials required. Paper Tutoring: an interactive session focusing on understanding and/or revising a graded paper with errors identified by the instructor. Since this reading is composition based, the reader should review mini-lesson PowerPoints of areas in which the student has recurring errors. Documentation Check: recommended for ungraded and graded papers including abstracts, chapters from a larger text, research papers, and proposals with required documentation. The interactive session focuses on MLA, APA, or Turabian documentation features only: title page; parenthetical documentation or footnotes; and the works cited page, reference list, or bibliography. Group Paper Reading: All members of the group must be present unless each section is a stand-alone part of the paper. A one-hour, interactive paper reading which focuses on both the organizational and surface features of the group paper: grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, etc. Procedures for Paper Readers Check-In: When students arrive for their paper readings, they should follow the signs into the PR room, sign in on the sheet at the front of the room, and sit on one of the sofas to wait for their readers. Appointments are scheduled for the top of the hour, so readers should pay attention to the front of the room at that time and check to see if their students have arrived. The Labbie from the appointment desk will inform readers of walk-ins. No-Shows: If a student scheduled for a paper reading doesn’t appear by five minutes after the hour, go to the back door by the copier and make your way to the back of the appointment desk to confirm the no-show with the labbie at the desk. To prevent unnecessary congestion in front of the appointment desk, avoid going through the front door by the sign-in sheet. Once your no-show has been blocked out in fuchsia on ScheduleView, you will need to fill out an E- Contract indicating a no-show and send it to the instructor. Assuming the appointment has been made properly, the information you need will be available at the appointment desk. Greeting the Student: Greet the student and make him or her feel comfortable. Be sure to introduce yourself and call the student by name. If you are unsure about how to pronounce the student’s name, or if you are unsure about which name to use (Chinese names, for instance, traditionally have the family name first and the given name last, but many people Westernize their names by altering this order upon coming to the U. S.), just ask. In the interest of sensitivity to certain cultural customs, it may be best not to shake hands with the student unless he or she extends a hand first. The Paper Reading Session: Describe the paper reading session, and tell the student that it is supposed to be interactive. Explain the objective of the paper reading, your role as the paper reader, and the student’s role as the writer. Your Role: Identify the type of reading you are doing. Remind the student that as the paper reader, you will not write, grade, or proofread the paper (e.g. find all the mistakes); that you will recommend changes; and that as the writer, he or she should decide whether to accept the recommended changes and apply them. Then ask if the student has any questions about the interactive session. Print your name and sign/initial the top of the student’s paper. Your Responsibility: Fill in all the blanks on top portion of the E-contract. The student can tell you what you need to know about the class, the instructor, etc. Pay attention to detail, making sure to check the “Instructor’s Assignment Provided” and “College” boxes, fill out the box for the number of pages, and indicate the type of paper reading. This extra detail will help the instructor determine why a final draft reading, for instance, lasted only 20 minutes. Save the bottom portion of the contract for after the student leaves. The Student’s Responsibility: The student should read the Writing Lab’s policies and sign his or her paper to indicate agreement. The student’s paper should be typed in Microsoft Word, double- spaced, and printed out. You will read the hard copy. Read the student’s assignment sheet, and ask the student to explain what his or her instructor is looking for. Inform the student that the paper reading is an interactive process involving both you and the student. If he or she does not desire to be interactive, you do not have to read the paper. Some students may need to be reminded to turn off their cell phones. Determine what type of paper reading the student needs. Read the paper as thoroughly and as accurately as possible, noting problems in these areas: -Surface errors (grammar and punctuation, word choice, etc.) -Content (thesis/claim, subclaims, evidence/data, transitions, organization, logic, etc.) -Format (MLA, APA, Turabian/ Chicago, title, margins, headers, pagination, etc.) -Documentation Style (parenthetical citations, Works Cited/References/Bibliography Non-Interference: Resist the temptation to interfere with the student’s ownership, knowledge, and voice; do not write the paper for the student. If you interfere too much, the authorial voice will be yours instead of the student’s. Remember, the writing belongs to the writer, so refrain from suggesting specific ways for the student to say something or to organize the paper. Allow the student to give you his or her own rewording of a sentence; if the student verbalizes a brilliant thought, write it down for him or her. Marking the Student’s Paper: Be sure to fix the problem. Make the agreed-upon changes in green or blue ink on the student’s paper. It’s better to make the correction than to tell the student to fix the problem later because the student probably will not remember what changes need to be made. You should also circle corrections so that they are clearly visible to the student. Correction Symbols: If you use correction or editing symbols, be sure to give the student a key for those symbols. Identifying Surface Errors: Use the reading as an opportunity to teach the student writing skills so that he or she will improve his or her writing and eliminate these mistakes from future paper. Grammar Rules: Refer the student to handouts and/or textbook sections that relate to the rule(s) he or she violates in the paper, OR use the mini-lessons on the desktop. Appointment Duration: Check the clock periodically, and end the session about ten to fifteen minutes before the hour so that you will have time to complete the contract and send it before the next appointment is scheduled to begin. Use your own discretion about extending an appointment beyond one hour. If, for instance, a student, in your professional opinion, needs additional help, either schedule another appointment for him or her or continue reading for an additional one half to one hour (if you have no appointment immediately following this one and there are no walk-ins waiting). Be sure to fill out the “Appointment Duration” box at the top of the E-Contract. Do not edit the student’s paper. Your job is to help the student fulfill a course requirement – to produce a final polished draft, not a “perfect,” error-free, publishable draft. Sample Papers: For Comp and Intro to Lit papers, there are sample papers in the bookcase at the rear of the PR room. These samples are an invaluable resource for checking formatting for Comp II projects, getting a sense of what particular instructors consider a “good” paper, understanding logic and organization, etc. Limited Comments: Do not give the student a subjective assessment of the essay or any part of it because the student may assume that his or her instructor’s assessment will be the same as yours. It’s all right to give the student encouraging comments about successful syntactical and grammatical constructions, but be cautious in your praise of his or her content. Never, assign the paper a letter grade as in “This paper should get an A!” Comments Section: Your comments should describe the interactive session: Indicate whether or not the student was prepared and participatory. Describe specifically what features of the paper the two of you worked on and what recommendations you made. Avoid subjective comments. Do not use words that evaluate a paper’s possible grade. Do not write that you could not find anything wrong with the paper. Avoid vague comments. Do not say that you corrected grammar errors. What kind of grammar errors? Be detailed in your observations. Use the Lab’s COMMENTARY TEMPLATE. Remember, if you don’t know how to correct a problem in a student’s paper, other labbies are here to help! Save and Send: Save the completed document as a Word 97-2003 document before exiting the contract. Log on to Gmail by going to gmail.uwf.edu. The ArgoNet username is writinglab (one word), and the password changes each semester. Attach the appropriate document, and send it to the student’s instructor. Be sure to spell the instructor’s name correctly and to send the contract to the right person. What Paper Readers Should Look For Topic Knowledge: Does the paper show a deep understanding of the subject matter? Does the writer have an informed opinion about the subject? Are there a sufficient number of specific details and useful examples? Is there plenty of topic-specific vocabulary? For example, in a discussion of a literary work, do terms such as authorial voice and genre appear? Topic Knowledge continued: Does the writing reveal evidence of the writer’s own thinking, or does it simply recount the ideas of outside sources? Does the writer evaluate alternative beliefs and solutions? Organization: Is there a clear structure with an obvious beginning, middle, and end? Are opinions and generalizations supported by facts, concrete examples, and direct references to the text? Does the writing contain effective transition words? Does the writer avoid sentence tags like in my opinion and I think? Language and Mechanics: Are the sentences well constructed and richly varied? Is the writing generally free of mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization? Is the writing proofread and edited? Is the language of the style expected in academic and/or business writing? Language and Mechanics continued: Does the language reflect a reasonable level of mastery for college writing? Does the work have a polished look and feel? Is the writing free of inappropriate slang; unidiomatic expressions; colloquialisms; dialect; jargon; and sexist, racist, and homophobic language? Manuscript Format: Is the work neatly and appropriately formatted? Are the heading and title placed correctly? Are spacing, paragraphing, and pagination consistent? Documentation: Is a standard format used to document sources properly? Is information from other sources appropriately referenced, using quotations and paraphrasing, and avoiding plagiarism? Ending the Appointment • Accompany the student to the log- in/log-out sheet. • Initial the appropriate space on the sheet. • Finish the contract and send it to the instructor – unless you are a new reader; then send it to the Lab Director.
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