Posted in Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 011/111: Readings for Reflection

Your third and final essay for English 111 will be a reflection on your work over the course of the semester. Think about what you’ve accomplished, and ask yourself what element or elements of our class have contributed the most to your development as a writer, a reader, and a thinker. You are welcome to focus on one component of the course—such as studying Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, or planning, drafting, and revising one of your previous essays—or you may reflect on a variety of features, including the ones I just mentioned as well writing for an online audience, studying model essays in The Norton Field Guide to Writing, writing in your journal, drafting longhand, writing snail mail, or playing Scrabble.

In your essay, you will cite at least one text that’s relevant to your reflection. For example: If your reflection addresses how the study of Educated benefited you as a writer, you might quote a short passage of Westover’s memoir that you found particularly instructive. If you reflect on developing your word power and creative problem solving skills through Scrabble, you might quote The New York Times article “New Scrabble Words Get the ‘OK’ (Now Worth 6 Points).”

As an opportunity for you to think about the aspects of the course that you may address in your reflection and for additional practice in introducing quotations with signal phrases, I developed the following exercises for this week:

Option One:

  1. Read the article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” by Matt Richtel.
  2. Compose a short passage of twenty-five words or more that addresses your experience maintaining a blog this semester and includes a relevant quotation from the article.
  3. If you name Richtel in the signal phrase, do not include a parenthetical citation. If you do not name him in the signal phrase, include a parenthetical citation with his name alone: (Richtel).

Sample: Here’s what I would write if I were reflecting as an instructor on your blog requirement.

In “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel reports that Andrea Lundsford’s students who maintain blogs for their composition classes at Stanford, “feel as if they’re actually producing something personally rewarding and valuable, whereas when they write a term paper, they feel as if they do so only to produce a grade.” That value some students find in writing for a broader online audience is one of the reasons that I require my students to maintain blogs. It gives their writing a life beyond the classroom.

Option Two:

  1. Read the article “Skim Reading is the New Normal” by Maryanne Wolf.
  2. Compose a short passage of twenty-five words or more that addresses your experience reading away from the screen this semester (primarily before remote instruction began) and includes a relevant quotation from the article.
  3. If you name Wolf in the signal phrase, do not include a parenthetical citation. If you do not name her in the signal phrase, include a parenthetical citation with her name alone: (Wolf).

Sample: Here’s what I would write if I were reflecting as an instructor on our time spent reading away from the screen.

Psychologists’ studies that indicate “students who read on print [are] superior in their comprehension to screen-reading peers” (Wolf) have led me to devote more class time to reading on the page rather than the screen.

Remember to check your CVCC email and Blackboard regularly for updates and assignments.

Works Cited

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” The New York Times,, 20 Jan. 2012, Accessed 20 Apr. 2020.

Wolf, Maryann. “Skim Reading is the New Normal.” The Guardian,, 25 Aug. 2018, Accessed 20 Apr. 2020.





8 thoughts on “ENG 011/111: Readings for Reflection

  1. During my maintaining a blog this semester, I’ve found that it tricks my mind into thinking I’m writing for personal entertainment and not just for an English class. In the article “Blog vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel writes that “students often find their ideas much more crystallized after expressing them with new media,” and I fall into that category. Publishing my essays for an audience to read gives me a sense of satisfaction, similar to my stories back at home. It teaches that writing can give pleasure, even if it’s for a boring paper.

  2. I read “Skim reading is the new normal” and I believe that reading on digital devices might be the new future. Since I was in fourth grade, I’ve been using computers and iPads to read articles for school. Everyone is now using a a digital device. However there are people who like to be old fashion and read books. I myself like reading out of books.

  3. In the article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” Matt Richtel talks about the different responses and feelings students get when it comes to writing a term paper to writing a blog post.

  4. Unfortunately, the proverbial nail was hit on the head with Wolf stating that “skim reading is the new normal”. She notes that many who have conducted studies on the differences in comprehension between digital and print media agree that “print reading adds an important redundancy to information”. This concept is one I have always agreed with. Yes, it would cut down on clutter to switch to an e-reader like a Kindle, but you lose the physicality of reading. The scent of old paper, the gritty feel of the pages that slip through your fingers. Submersing yourself in a book is a different experience than reading a digital article. In the digital world, it is easy to lose yourself in distractions such as gaming apps or your internet browser. Personally, I find reading to be much more enriching when I have the physical text in my hand. I do, however, prefer getting my news in digital form to a news paper. They each have their place in modern society, and I know that there will always be a nostalgic romance about the dusty volumes, tucked away on high shelves, waiting for someone to take the time to get acquainted with them.

  5. In “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, Matt Richtel talks about professor Davidson and her perspective on this topic. Professor Davidson says “This mechanistic writing is a real disincentive to creative untrained writers”. She would like for her students to feel as though they can heard though this type of writing. When first starting a blog I was very anxious because other people are now reading my work. At the same time feeling as though i can be heard through my writing now that it is not only for my teacher to read.

  6. i read the post and i feel like the hardest thing to keep the blog is the consistency of keeping up and putting all my effort into the post. “OF all the challenges faced by college and high school students, few inspire as much angst, profanity, procrastination and caffeine consumption as the academic paper.” i really do struggle with procrastination a lot which i need to improve on.

  7. Teacher Mark Edmundson explains how “many college students actively avoid the classic literature of the 19th and 20th centuries because they no longer have the patience to read longer, denser, more difficult texts.” (Wolf) which has made me realize how almost taboo reading off screen truly has become. It’s more important than ever that we help our children understand that reading without technology is much more beneficial to their future education.

  8. In today’s society, people are so dependent on technology, from the youngest to the oldest,” The negative effects of screen reading can appear as early as fourth and fifth grade (Wolf).” Studies show that college students today would prefer avoiding literature that is long because they have zero patience. It is because students who spend most of their time on their devices have shown to have reading comprehension difficulties. It is essential to look away from the screen from time to time to help better understand and comprehend the information given to us. During this semester I have avoided spending time on technology and successfully been able to enjoy reading and writing more than ever before.

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