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Humanities Quarterly Reading Critiques

                      

  COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS:

 CC.11-12.R.L.1/CC.11-12.RI.1:  Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CC.11-12.R.L.2/R.I.2  Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text. 

 CC.11-12.R.L.4/R.I.4  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10)

CC.11-12.R.L.5/R.I.5  Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging..

CC.11-12.R.L.6/R.I.6  Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text 

 CC.11-12.R.L.10/R.I.10  By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11–CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CC.11-12.W.1  Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 

CC.11-12.W.1.b  Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases. 

      The Assignment:  Every quarter you will choose a book from the Supplementary Readings List that informs you about the current unit of study.  It may be fiction or nonfiction; it is your choice. Your objective is to analyze the book according to its validity, power (author’s success or failure at convincing you, the reader, of his/her point), organization or plot development, effective use of language, and thesis development and proof.  Please remember that even fictional works have a thesis:  It’s called the theme.  You will publish your work on the class blog for responses and assessment in addition to providing a copy for me for submission to Turnitin.com.  To maximize your grade, please include the following elements.  Class rubric follows.

1. A summary of the book in not more than 5 sentences.  This will prevent you from writing a condensed version of the book or painstakingly copying the book’s flyleaf.  It will also teach you to focus on the main points the author is making and be succinct.

2.  Identify its thesis (or theme).  Assess how well the author supported his/her thesis, and how he/she did so.  (Examples:  Controlled experimentation?  Observation?  Meaningful statistics?  Comprehensive background study with sources clearly referenced?  Clearly developed reason?  Character development?  Choices in syntax, diction, setting, or tone? )  How does the book fit in with the particular unit we are studying?  No vague statements.  Back up what you say with specific examples.

3. Analyze the author’s purpose.  Why did the author write it? What are his/her credentials for writing it?  If it’s a nonfiction work, what influences do you see on the work from those thinkers/writers who have come before?  How are the arguments/thoughts/hypotheses advanced by this author different than these others?   If it is fictional, what school of literature is the author a part of?  Rebelling against?  How do you know?  Historical context is not enough.  What qualities of the fictional book reveal its connection to a school of thought?

4. Critique:  What parts of the book were particularly strong/weak? What was the work’s main aporia?  (Aporia= the place where the argument is flawed because the author contradicts his point or his theme.)  What is your personal evaluation of the book?  In which parts did the author “speak” to you? Should others read the book and why?

5.   Think about the book beyond this assessment.  What makes it worth reading?  How does it inform the reader beyond high school?  If it doesn’t, explain why.  What could have made it better?  Should it be taken off the list?  Be specific.

Due Dates for Critiques indicated on the syllabus.  Late assignments will not be accepted. 

Independent Reading Critique Rubric

         

Objective and Point Value:

Outstanding

Excellent:

Needs Improvement:

Unsatisfactory:

Summary:

(5 Points)

Summary consists of a strong discussion of major thesis, theme, idea, and/or character in less than 5 sentences.  The sentences are strong and vividly worded.  Student’s voice is clear.

Summary consists of a strong discussion of major thesis, theme, idea, and/or character in less than 5 sentences.

Diction is less striking.

Summary is hit-or-miss.  Some ideas are clear.  Others are not or are not mentioned.  Ideas are vague and/or general and could apply to any book.

Summary is incoherent, does not identify main ideas, or is longer than the prescribed 5 sentences.

Plagiarism of flyleaf or critical blurbs seems likely

Quotes and MLA Format

(20 Points)

All direct quotes are cited by using page numbers in parenthesis via MLA specifications.

Statements are backed up by quotes, and they are parsed (analyzed for a meaning that informs your interpretation of author’s thesis).

All direct quotes are cited by using page numbers in parenthesis via MLA specifications, but there are fewer of them.  The quotes are analyzed but not as deeply as in an “Outstanding” paper.

Quotes are used occasionally or just thrown in randomly.  They do not prove what you are trying to communicate.

Their format is still correct.

Quotes aren’t used at all or are documented incorrectly.  MLA format should not be in question in your senior year. 

Author and Sources:

(10 Points)

Author’s qualifications/voice and historical context are accurately detailed.  Student is articulate and clear about influences that affected the author’s work through extra research.

Author’s qualifications/voice and historical context are accurately detailed.  Student is articulate and clear about influences that affected the author’s work.

Author’s qualifications or voice are vaguely alluded to.  Sources may or may not be briefly examined.

Author’s qualifications/voice are not mentioned.  Historical context is vague or ignored.  Student judges based on egocentric standards.

Critique

(25 Points)

Aporia of the work is clearly identified.  Student offers clear criticism about effectiveness of author’s work.  The student reacts to themes, author’s aims or intents, and how well the book is written.  Specific details are utilized skillfully to back up the student’s work.  Student’s voice is enthusiastic (even if he/she didn’t like the book).

Student offers clear criticism about effectiveness of author’s work.  The student analyses themes, the author’s aims or intents, and how well the book is written.  Specifics are utilized to back up the student’s work.

Critique consists of thoughts, responses and reactions to the work.  The student discusses only one aspect of the work.  Points of view like “Well, I like it” or “I hated it” are offered with no clearly developed critical lens for that judgment.

Critique offers a basic opinion based on personal feeling.  It is not considered a critique because these feelings do not address a theme, intent, or writer’s style.

Organization

(10 Points)

Structure flows through the careful use of transitions from paragraph to paragraph and from sentence to sentence.  Logical development makes the sequence of topics effortless to follow and comprehend.

Structure of the paper flows but 1 or 2 transitions may be lacking or faulty.  There is some illogical order in the sequence of events but here is still a clear-cut introduction, body, and conclusion.

Structure of the paper does not follow a logical order.  The writing or ideas jump around; it is not cohesive.  There is not a clear introduction and/or conclusion.

Structure of the paper is illogical.  There are no transitional phrases that make it easy to read the paper OR the objectives of the assignment (summarizing, analysis of intent, critical stance, and evaluation) are not in evidence.  The assignment was done just to get it done.

Mechanics

(10 Points)

Uses a variety of sentence structures for a well-paced and compelling paper.

Uses complete sentences with a variety of sentence structures.

There are 1-2 incomplete sentences or fragments.  There are also run-on sentences.

There are more than 2 incomplete and/or run-on sentences.

Spelling/Grammar Usage

(10 Points)

No spelling or grammar errors.

1-3 spelling or grammar errors.  Proofreading was done, but student “missed a couple.”

4-8 spelling or grammar concerns.  No proof reading apparent.

Over 8 errors indicate proof reading was not done before turning in assignment.

MLA Format

(10 Points)

No MLA format errors.

1-2 format errors.

3-5 format errors.

More than 6 format errors.