Quick Write

What is your best study or productivity tip?

Smart Reading

We read for ideas, to deepen our understanding, provide background information, sharpen critical thinking, and to look at alternative view points.
  • Read to deepen what you already know.
  • Read above your level of knowledge.
  • Read what makes you uncomfortable.
  • Read against the grain.
  • Read slowly.
  • Annotate what you read.


  • Survey the table of contents.
  • Skim to get a sense of the whole.
  • Browse the headings.
  • Look up terms or concepts you don’t know.
  • Summarize what you have read.
  • A purpose for reading. Are you reading for understanding, information, background knowledge, for support and evidence, or to answer a questions?

How to Read a Book Summary

The 4 Ps

  1. Previewing the text.
  2. Predicting what the text is about.
  3. Think about the prior knowledge you have on the topic.
  4. Author’s Purpose

Evaluating Your Sources

Remember the Acronym CRAAP

  • C current
  • R relevant
  • A author
  • A accurate
  • P purpose

Author’s Purpose

All writing has a purpose. When we write anything, it can be for any number of reasons. When you read a story, try to figure out why the author wrote it. What motivated them to write it? What are they trying to achieve with it?

What possible purpose can the author have? What purpose does the text have?

  • To Entertain
  • To Inform
  • To Persuade

These are the three main purposes a text can have. These are not the only reasons. In college, we write to learn, to build knowledge, to demonstrate learning.

  • To Learn
  • To Build Knowledge
  • To Show learning

When you are given an assignment, figure out what your purpose is. What is the text supposed to convey? Good writing is purposeful. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can figure out how to accomplish it and if you accomplished it.

We can also think about writing within a conversation. You can write to summarize a conversation, in order to understand it. You can write to enter a conversation. Trying to add to a existing discussion.

  • To understand
  • To Enter a Conversation
  • To Join a Conversation

There was a Man, There was a Woman (133)

There was a Man, There was a Woman Video

Creating Structure

Creating Structure. The structure of an analysis of literature can head in various directions. You can present a string of evidence to support a claim. You can examine similarities and differences. You can ask a question and explore ideas rather than a single point. In all these, you need to support a claim with reasons and evidence from the text.

You can think of these as the “chips and salsa” of a paragraph. The chips can be the reason supporting the claim and the salsa can be the textual evidence, quotes, lines, ideas, paraphrases, chapters, etc that support the reason.

  • Introduction leading to claim
  • First supporting reason + textual evidence
  • Supporting reason + evidence
  • 3rd, 4th, 5th supporting reasons + evidence for each
  • Conclusion connecting the parts and making the argument clear. Answer the “So what?” question and give the significance. Why does this matter? Why should we care? What should we take away from your analysis? How does it help us understand the literary work better?

This is just one sample structure. You decide what the reasons and evidence are and how to organize the argument best. What do you need to so to prove your reading of the text?

Use a formal style.

Cite your evidence using MLA citations.