Cara Adam’s Part-Whole Reading Assignment

Cara’s Project: Close Reading Sources

Homework: Write Research Journal #10: Choose four quotations from “The Siege of Miami” by Elizabeth Kolbert that surprise and/or interest you and respond to them in a double-entry journal.

In class:

Come in with seven significant passages from the Kolbert essay marked.

Ask students to form groups of two to three students and assign each group to reread one of those sections, focusing on what it most significant about the section. Some questions for them to consider:

What information is the section providing, and how?

Who do we meet and what do we see?

What is the section’s main purpose?

What does the section add to the overall argument of the essay?

Lead a whole-group discussion in which each group reports what they found significant about their passage. As groups report back, ask them to effectively close read the passage for the class by (a) asking them where they see evidence of their claims; and (b) drawing them out to interpret that evidence effectively. Use the discussion to help students to better understand the essay as a whole.

One key thing to ask to draw students’ attention to the relationship between form and content: Why might Kolbert have chosen to end the essay with the essay’s final image? What effect does that image have on the reader?

Other uses/connections: Discuss popular vs. scholarly sources and what makes this a popular source. Later in the semester, refer back to this essay during lecture/writing exercise about writing effective conclusions.