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Critiquing the Essay

At the top of the document you will be responding to, write your name. Everything you think in response to the author's writing should be written in the text of the essay near what you are referring to.

Answer the questions below, being as specific as possible.

1. Read the first paragraph. Stop reading and write what you EXPECT will be the topic and purpose of the essay. Write your response after first paragraph.

2. Now, finish reading to the paper. Were your expectations met? If not, what do you now think the topic, purpose and audience are?

3. What do you think is the thesis of the essay? Underline what you believe is the thesis sentence. Does the sentence show what the topic is and what "side" of the topic the author will be supporting? Is that sentence supported in the essay by example? Is the sentence itself a strong statement (not a quote from someone else, not a question, etc)?

4. Mark the examples you find (could be whole paragraphs or just single sentences). At the end of each example, evaluate its usefulness or strength in supporting the essay by adding a comment. Remember to look for citations or places where source information is needed.

5. What did you like best about the essay? Star (***) the part and add a comment about what you liked about it

6. What did you like the least about the essay? Star (***) the part and add a comment about what could be improved about it. BE SPECIFIC.

7. Check the work cited--first double check against the parenthetical citations, do the names match? Are they all present? Then check the work cited page itself--is it in MLA format?

8. What TWO features of the essay most need improvement? Mark them and add a comment/suggestion about what/how they could be improved. Remember that just marking a problem area without explanation won't help the author fix the problem.

From this drafting process, the author is hoping to be able to improve her/his writing for a better essay (and hopefully, then, a better grade). Remember to give her/him as many responses and suggestions as possible to she/he can accomplish that.

It is especially important to be as specific as possible.

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