Reading for Meaning

Reading for Meaning

Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating

Communication is the most obvious use of writing and reading, and in fact all of our communication involves a form of writing, even it simply involves quickly composing our statements in our heads. I've had plenty of practice at communicating in class, as it was involved in every assignment and practiced every day. Less obvious are the ways writing and reading are used for inquiry, learning, and thinking. Writing is often used to inquire. You need to compose a clear question in order to get the answer you're looking for. I practiced writing and reading for inquiry each time I did research for a writing project. The most interesting thing about this is that the audience I was creating my query for was the computer software that works for internet search engines. This sounds strange, but it is important to know how to create a query for an internet search in order to get useful results. I use reading to learn almost every day. Even if I just read a news article, I've learned something. We used reading in class to learn how to be better writers by reading the book. We also used writing to learn how to write. By writing something down, you can read what you've written, and understand how it can be better. Finally, I've also practiced using writing and reading to think. This is a little strange sounding, but if you write something down, you can begin to think of it as something that didn't come from your head as much. It's like when you come up with a joke, and it turns out it sounded better in your head. When you write something down and read it, you begin to understand it better. I practiced these skills quite a bit on our weekly argument response blogs.

Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources

For each of our writing project, we had to find sources to back up the claims we made in our arguments. The personal argument project is a perfect example of this. For my personal argument project, I had to use both primary and secondary sources. For my primary source, I took a survey to show that the misconceptions I was correcting in my personal argument were actually misconceptions. Primary sources like that survey provide useful first-hand information that makes any argument more persuasive. The inclusion of secondary sources is also important. Often, secondary sources can make research easier as they are usually the result of research somebody else has already done. Choosing reliable secondary sources is also important to the effectiveness of an argument. In my personal argument, I used numerous secondary sources. Having a variety of sources for an argument is important and can make any argument more persuasive.

Integrate their own ideas with those of others

Incorporating the ideas of others into your own arguments is important. It helps to validate your claims when you show that somebody else, preferably somebody reputable, has come to some of the same conclusions or has some of the same ideas. I practiced this on my proposal project. On that project, I used the ideas of somebody who has studied in detail the issue that I was proposing a solution to. I showed that my solution took into account what the other person had learned about this issue. By using the ideas of another credible writer, I was able to make my argument more convincing.

Understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power

They say knowledge is power, and there is definitely power in persuasion. What I've learned in this class will certainly help me throughout my life. If I can create effective arguments, and evaluate the effectiveness of others', then I can achieve far more goals than I would be able to otherwise. Even if my goal is something as simple as getting a raise, the skills I've practiced in this class will be helpful.


Kristen McNicholas