ERIC Number: ED327872
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Writing about Literature: The Paper of Many Parts.
This paper describes a writing assignment given in an introductory literature class at an open-admissions university. In what can be called "the paper of many parts," students write six short pieces in which they do different things with a poem. The paper begins and ends with response statements: an initial one and one at the end that extends or reflects upon the first response. Sandwiched between these are paraphrase, parody, report, and interview. The assignment gets students to live with a text for a while, reading and re-reading it, then reflecting on the experience. While the parody and the interview often produce good results from students, the report is the least successful part. Students often copy from an encyclopedia, so they must bring their source to class and re-work it. If the purpose of having students write about literature is to help students become better readers, the best writing assignments are those closely connected to the text. Teachers should shift some of their focus from analysis and argument to description. Furthermore, teachers should place less value on organization, which removes the student several steps from the reading experience. The result of the assignment is a set of papers that the instructor can actually enjoy reading. (A sample assignment is attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing about Literature; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (80th, Atlanta, GA, November 16-21, 1990).