Guided Activity: More Reading Like a Writer

After walking through a reading like a writer (scholar) class session using an essay by Barbara Kingsolver, I want here to offer briefly a guided activity for students to complete in groups in order to practice reading like a writer as one step in their own growth as writers.

Here I ask students to read “Water Is Life” by Barbara Kingsolver, and then, to discuss and answer the following questions:

  • What appears to be Kingsolver’s target/primary audience? What is the evidence from the essay to support that?
  • How does Kingsolver create an effective opening? What techniques (literary, rhetorical), strategies does she employ? Give specific examples.
  • What are Kingsolver’s major claims? How does she elaborate on those claims? What evidence does she use to support her claims? Give specific examples.
  • Identify one or two of the best sentences in this essay. What makes them effective?
  • Does Kingsolver break the “rules” of grammar or that you were taught in school? Examples? What is her purpose in these situations?
  • What is the guiding tone of this essay? How does Kingsolver create that tone? Give specific examples. Does she ever break that tone? Example(s)?
  • What does Kingsolver want her audience to know or do? Give specific examples.
  • How does Kingsolver frame this essay in her closing paragraph(s)? Give specific examples.

These questions are common in the writing conferences I hold with students about their own original essays so this activity helps further reinforce the need for writers to be aware of and purposeful about these elements of essay writing.

One thought on “Guided Activity: More Reading Like a Writer”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s