Guidelines for Outside Reading Reports

Each student gives one report on an outside reading, as shown on the assignment schedule and the outside reading list. Plan your presentation to take about 20 minutes, plus discussion. The readings are numbered in roughly the order intended for presentation. These are graded independent of the novel group’s work, although the group needs to take account of these reports in planning class discussion.  A student may also propose to substitute an essay not on the list, and may choose to report on one of the assigned Woolf essays.  All of the outside readings are available from me, or you may look them up at the library.

The goal of outside reading reports is to share with classmates information, ideas, or reading strategies that will illuminate our own readings of texts. These guidelines are intended to help you do that effectively.

Use Handouts

Every outside reading report requires at least one handout with full bibliographic information for the reading (in MLA form), and a summary of the author's main points. It might also include some quotations from the reading, an outline of your presentation, an outline of the reading itself, etc.
Sample handout (click here for Word format)

Provide Outlines as Previews

Every oral report needs a very clear and simple presentation outline or plan which the speaker announces at the beginning as a preview of the presentation. This outline may also be printed on a handout.

Make Your Topic Understandable

Plan your presentation so that classmates can fully understand and remember most of what you have to say. This may mean sacrificing complexity in the interests of simplicity. To avoid over-simplifying, choose a limited number of points to emphasize, leaving out material you cannot hope to present effectively and memorably. (You can include the omitted material on handouts if you like.) Remember, the point is not to cover every single thing in the essay, but to share what is useful.

Relate Outside Readings to Shared Readings

In reporting on outside readings, place the reading in the context of what the class has already read, discussed, or heard other reports about. Engage with the material analytically so as to relate it to the shared readings. Use the essay as a springboard for further discussion. In Woolf’s parlance, let the outside reading begin the "conversation."

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