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Rhetorical Reading Response ACADEMIC

The purpose of this assignment is to encourage rhetorical reading and writing. Rhetorical reading
calls attention to the authors intentions on readers and focuses on how texts work to change
readers minds. As you read, youre not just learning about the world; rather, youre learning
about the authors worldview demonstrated in the text.
While Youre Reading:
1. Do a fast preview of the text for as much information as possiblelength, complexity, original
publication context, author, time required to read it thoroughly, etc.
2. Slowly and carefully read the essay; take marginal notes so youll remember your reactions (or
use sticky notes). Jot down any questions you have.
1. Write a rhetorical prcis (PRAY-SEE) in your own words (with no words borrowed
directly from the text):
Format for Writing:
a. Sentence 1: Name of author, genre, and title of work, date in parentheses; a rhetorically active
verb (such as claims, argues, asserts, defines, explores, or suggests); and a that clause
containing the major assertion, main idea, or thesis statement in the work.
b. Sentence 2: An explanation of how the author develops and supports the thesis (i.e.,
evidence), usually in chronological order.
c. Sentence 3: A statement of the authors apparent purpose, followed by an in order to phrase.
d. Sentence 4: A description of the intended audience and/or the relationship the author
establishes with the audience.
2. Write your response to the text. This should be a separate paragraph (3-5 sentences)
below your prcis.
Are you confused? Annoyed? Delighted? Tickled? Do you agree?
Examples of Variations on a Prcis:
Example 1: Derek Bok, in the editorial Protecting Freedom of Expression at Harvard (1991),
argues that even private institutions such as Harvard should protect free speech. He supports his
thesis by giving examples of expression at Harvard, developing reasons for his claims, and
explaining Supreme Court rulings. Bok hopes to arouse sympathy for freedom of expression in
order to motivate faculty, students, and others to protect it. His audience is the Harvard
community, but also other members of private institutions who might think the First Amendment
doesnt apply to them.

Example 2: In the editorial, Protecting Freedom of Expression at Harvard (1991), Derek Bok
claims that we shouldnt censor peoples expression of offensive views just because theyre
offensive. He uses logical reasoning and offers a variety of reasons and examples for his view,
including his interpretation of Supreme Court rulings and Harvard situations. Boks purpose is to
suggest alternatives to censorship, such as ignoring it, speaking to the person, and trying to get
them to understand it in order to curb the rate of offensive speech. His audience is the Harvard
community and others concerned about both protecting freedom of speech and creating fair, just,
and sensitive communities.
Pick out four pieces non-fiction that we have read thus far. Write a prcis and your response
for each piece. You will be assessed using the following rubric:
Rhetorical Prcis Rubric
1 = serious problems 2 = developing effectiveness
3 = adequate effectiveness 4 = comprehensive & clear

Sentence 1 clearly states the author, genre, title of

publication and publication date; demonstrates a
concise and accurate understanding of the focus of
the passage.


Sentence 2 explains how the writer develops and

supports the thesis following the organization of the


Sentence 3 states the authors apparent purpose and

gives a reason.


Sentence 4 describes the intended audience and the

relationship the author has established with his