Chapter 2: Reading in Writing Class

2.2. Active Reading Strategy

Our Shared Active Reading Strategy: Reading Entries

What is a Reading Entry?

The Reading Entry template was created as a guide meant to help you comprehend texts and begin thinking about textual analysis. In combination with textual highlighting, Reading Entries should help you contextual the text (author, publisher, history, etc.), summarize main ideas in a text, and respond the text’s purpose.  You are not expected to spend hours completing them; instead, they should be written without over-worrying about “perfect” word choices, grammar, mechanics, etc. Reading Entries and highlighting textual features are required to help you learn active reading activities.

You will complete a Reading Entry for every article read in class. Historically, that means approximately 12-18 reading entries. You must type each Reading Entry. Each time a Reading Entry is assigned you must have access to it in class whether you print it, hand write it, or have it available electronically. You will earn Informal Writing Points for each Reading Entry completed on time and this will be marked by a stamped given to you (by your instructor or SLA leader) on the day it is due. You will then keep the Reading Entry in your Homework Journal/Folder that also includes your In-Class writing assignments collected mid-way through the semester and at the end of the semester.

Grade Break Down:

Stamped Reading Entry 5 points
Collected Reading Entry in Homework Folder 5 points
Total points earned: 10 points out of a possible 10 points

This might seem confusing, so here is an example:

Your assigned homework is to read an article from The Engaged Reader and write a Reading Entry. You type the Reading Entry and bring it to the class the day it is due. Your instructor (me) stamps your Reading Entry and we discuss the reading as a class. You have now earned five (5) participation points. Once the class is over, you place your Reading Entry in the Homework Journal/Folder and your instructor collects the whole folder two weeks later, where you will earn another five (5) participation points for making notes and correcting the entry.

Below is the Reading Entry Template I want you to use for the remainder of the semester. Feel free to add onto the Template in any way you find helpful.

Reading Entry Template

Label each reading entry as: Reading Entry #1: “Title of the article” & author(s)


Find textual features by highlighting the text using the following key:

Yellow                     =          Introductions/Summaries

Pink/Red                  =          Arguments (made in paragraphs, not just the “thesis”)

Green                      =          Examples to support arguments

Blue                         =          Counter-claims, concessions, and/or rebuttals


Contextualize the text by answering all of the following questions. You should perform Internet searches to adequately answer each question:

  • Who is the author and what are his or her credentials?
  • Who originally published the text (e.g. The New York Times; The Atlantic)?
  • Based on who originally published the text, what level of credibility does it suggest?
  • When was the text written? What does that mean?
  • What is the topic(s) of the text?
  • What is the author’s argument/claim/position?
  • Who is the audience? Are you a part of that audience? How do you know


Question the text by writing at least one serious question you have concerning the text, author, topic, etc.


Increase your vocabulary skills by listing 2 vocabulary words and their definitions


Respond to the Text by writing a short paragraph concerning the author’s argument and how well it is supported by examples, data, logic, etc. Based on that, do you believe the source is credible?



Practice active reading strategies by rereading Anne Lamont’s “Shitty First Drafts” and complete a Reading Entry for it.