Writing our Biology Pre-Draft: Performing a Close Reading

Performing a Close Reading: How to Stop Being a Tourist in Barbara Enreinreich’s Cancerland

Lesson objective: to practice the art of extracting as much meaning as possible (and as many possible meanings!) from a text.

Estimated time: 50 minutes

Assignment underway: the first draft of Essay #1: Observing Activist Narratives

Previous work: Before coming to class, students should read “Welcome to Cancerland” and highlight a paragraph that they consider key to understanding the essay.

The Assignment:

1) I will chose a paragraph and demonstrate to the class how to perform a close reading on it. Then I will take questions from the class.

2) Students will then perform a close reading on their chosen paragraph. They should write down the insights their close reading affords them.

3) Students will then switch paragraphs with the person next to them. Students will closely read the new paragraph, again writing down their observations.

4) Students will discuss the differences and similiarities between the readings with their partners.

5) Students will report back to the class with their results.

Download: Welcome to Cancerland: Conducting a Close Reading (pdf)

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