Peer Review: Essay #4 Step 1: Read your essay out loud to your group

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Peer Review: Essay #4
Step 1: Read your essay out loud to your group. Reading your essay aloud is an excellent way to identify errors that you may not have noticed. As you’re reading, make check marks next to mistakes that you’d like to fix. Your group members should follow along on their own copies, noting on the paper where they’d like to make suggestions for improvement or to point out strengths. You and your group members should also pay attention to the following:

  • Places where what is read is different from what is written

  • Places where the reader stumbles for any reason

  • Places where the listener gets distracted, confused, or bored

Such instances are likely instances of error or lack of clarity. Reviewers, mark these on the paper so that the problem is clear. As a reviewer, however, your job is not to correct errors for the writer.
Step 2: Get a brief verbal response to your writing. Ask your partners to point out to you where they found your essay confusing or difficult to follow. Also ask your partners for general comments on the essay as a whole. Have a general discussion about the strengths and areas for improvement for each paper after each group member reads. You should address, at minimum, the following:

  • What worked well?

  • Is anything important missing?

  • After reading the essay just once, what improvements can the writer make to it?

Step 3: Take out the essay assignment and read it over before you review your partners’ essays. Then read and review one of your partner’s essays, then the other. For each, answer all of the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Mark the essay when the question asks you to. You will hand both the essay and your response back to your partner.
As you’re reading the essay, put check marks next to any grammar errors. Your job is to identify them, not correct them.

1. Introduction: What does Orwell say about poverty? Review the essay’s introduction. Make suggestions for improvement.

  • Does it introduce the novel by stating the author’s name, the title of the novel, and the date of publication?

  • Does it adequately summarize aspects of Down and Out in Paris and London that relate to the thesis? Is anything essential left out? Does it go on too long?

  • Does the introduction clearly express what Orwell says or implies about poverty? The introduction should clearly present Orwell’s characterization of a specific aspect of poverty. It should also briefly summarize what in the book contributes to this characterization.

2. Bridge: What does your research reveal about poverty? Review the bridge paragraph.

  • Does it introduce (author’s name, title, date of publication) and briefly summarize the research sources that will be used in the essay?

  • Does the writer synthesize the sources, to create a single analytical/evaluative principle about poverty? The bridge should clearly express what your research has revealed about the aspect of poverty introduced in the introduction.

3. Thesis: In light of your research, Orwell’s characterization of poverty is _______. Identify and underline the essay’s thesis statement. Give suggestions for improvement. If you find that it’s perfect, explain what it does well.

  • Does it present a clear and interesting/provocative evaluation of Orwell’s characterization of poverty?

  • Is the thesis focused, addressing a specific aspect of poverty? Or is it a generalization? Write down what aspect of poverty the writer is taking on.

4. Do the following paragraphs prove the claim made in the thesis? Make suggestions for improvement. Explain to the writer where he or she is missing any of the components below.

  • Each supporting paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that states one point in support of the thesis, likely one evaluative statement abut Orwell’s characterization of poverty. (POINT).

  • That point should be supported by evidence—references to specific passages and quotations from the novel and research (INFORMATION).

  • The writer should then connect that evidence with the topic sentence. How does the evidence prove the point in the topic sentence? (EXPLANATION).

  • Label each paragraph’s P, I, and E. (And note where you can’t find them.)

  • Explain to the writer if his or her paragraphs lose focus, or wander off topic, at any point.

  • Do any of the paragraphs go on too long without providing a “break” for the reader?

5. Are the research materials well-chosen and well-integrated? Is it clear how each cited source helps the writer to make his or her evaluation? Do any of the quotations go on too long, essentially making the point for the writer or distracting from the writer’s own point? Do any of the quotations seem to be just randomly inserted?

6. Find all quotations and put a checkmark next to them. Does the writer introduce, integrate, and explain each quotation? Does he or she follow the other criteria we established in class?
7. Assess the overall unity of the essay. Re-read the thesis statement prior to skimming each of the body paragraphs again. Does each body paragraph support the claim made in the thesis? Do any body paragraphs veer off topic, addressing something that the thesis didn’t prepare you for?

8. Overall, how well has the writer proven his or her evaluation of Orwell’s characterization of poverty?

9. Are sources cited according to proper MLA format? Is there a “Works Cited” page written according to MLA format? (You may want to consult your handbook.)

Step 4: Explain your responses to your group members after you finish this for both essays. You don’t need to read everything you’ve written, just clarify your main suggestions.
Step 5: Write a revision plan. Take a few minutes to read over your partner’s comments, and write down what the major improvements are that you’d like to make to the essay. You will turn this in with your final draft.

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