Reader Response Guidelines

As a writer, sometimes you need to know how someone reacts to your writing as a critic, but often you need to know how someone responds as a non-critical reader. This set of guidelines is designed to to help you express your reaction to someone else's writing honestly as if you were just reading the text rather than evaluating it.

In groups of two to four, take turns reading your papers aloud to each other. Reserve time after each reading for response. Move on to the next paper only after each paper has been responded to fully.

To the writer: Read your paper aloud clearly without trying to be theatrical. Don't apologize for your work. As you read, you will probably notice some sentences or word choices that you don't like. Make a mental note of them, but try to keep on reading without making changes as you read. Once you have read the paper, sit back and listen to the responses. Just let them wash over you, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, on the mark or clearly off the mark. All you should care about is how readers have "read" your text.

To the listeners: Listen carefully to the paper as it is read. Listen for themes or images or story lines. Don't listen for errors or for strong points: just listen to understand. When the reader has finished, take the initiative to give a response without being asked. Here are some ways to come up with responses:

As a responder, try to avoid praising, criticizing, or evaluating the text. Try to stay away from giving advice. Other kinds of peer critique call for you to be critical. This kind simply asks you to reflect your listening experience to the writer.