1st Paper: Summary & Strong Response
For your first writing assignment, you’ll use the strategies outlined in Chapter 6 of Allyn &
Bacon, “Reading Rhetorically,” to write a summary/strong response essay based on ONE of the
• “The World Might Be Better Off Without College For Everyone” by Bryan Caplan
• “The Writing Revolution” by Peg Tyre
• “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr
Your essay will include (1) a summary of the text, and (2) a strong response in which you “speak
back” to that reading based on your own critical thinking, personal experience, and/or values.
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You are not limited to exclusively a rhetorical critique, an ideas critique, or a personal
reflection, but can think of your response as a “blended” approach where one or all of these
strategies might appear in your paper. Envision your audience as fellow students or instructors
who have not read the article and who might want to use it as a resource.
Elements of the Summary/Strong Response Essay
• Sets up the problem or topic as context for introducing your chosen text.
• Introduces your text with the author’s name, title, context (where the article appeared,
for instance), and author’s central claim or main idea.
• Concludes with a tension-filled thesis that sets up clear expectations for the direction of
your essay and gives your reader a sense of the points you will develop and discuss.
Your thesis will express your judgment about the text in terms of rhetorical strategies,
successes or problems, or possibly questions it has raised in your mind.
Summary of the article
• Retains the balance of the original article. You can generally follow the order of the
original, keeping the proportions of the summary roughly equivalent to the proportions
of the original.
• Includes author tags to distinguish the author’s viewpoints from your own. The
summary does not include your opinion.
• Includes at least one direct quotation, folded into your own sentence. Use author tags
and introductory phrases to incorporate direct quotes into your sentences.
Response paragraphs supporting your thesis
• Relate to your thesis and organize your response for your reader based on your thesis.
• Address the author’s argument, main points, and/or ideas.
• Relate logically to each other, easing your reader through your ideas with transitions.
• Support your judgments with reasons and concrete evidence from the text or your own
experience (examples/paraphrases/direct quotations).
• Leaves the reader with a clear understanding of your stance toward the text. Consider
also pointing your reader toward ideas beyond your own response to the text or a
restatement of your thesis. Could you, for example, suggest how this text might be
applied, or what its implications are, or how it contributes to the larger conversation
surrounding the topic?
New page entitled Work Cited or References
• Give the formal citation for your article in MLA (Works Cited) or APA (References)
format. You can find models for MLA and APA citations by consulting:
1. your textbook, Ch. 24
2. the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
3. the UH Writing Center
Length: no fewer than 3 full pages and more than 7 full pages; approximately 5 pages will be