The key to effective discourse, written or oral, is the depth that you bring to the table. Passion is good; it inspires you to explore those things that truly interest you. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it isn’t long before you become just another boor. So do your homework; learn your issues. Order yourself intellectually, before entering into discussion.
To be effective, it is imperative that you inform yourself through reliable sources. To do so you must move past your initial google search and take note of the site (s) that you look to for expertise. At the end of this post, I’ve linked several excellent web sites. There certainly are others, however these provide a solid start. Each is legitimate journalism, and have superior inside search engines that can direct you to quality news reporting. Going straight thru Google may also serve as an effective way to search, however you have to be careful that the sources you access are trustworthy. Always check the source at it homepage before relying on its authenticity . Run your stories and sites by Mr. Wood if you’re not sure of their reliability.
Next, is active reading.
You must take that article apart mentally and physically. In order to dig into a passage, you must do it not only with your eyes but with your brain and with your pen. To be effective, make that passage bleed….What I mean – is write all over the piece; underline, circle, star – draw a picture – whatever it takes for you to take this reading to a deeper place – do it. This should help you tremendously in understanding the specific passage. It will also assist you in writing – any kind of reflection. It only stands to reason, that if you fully understand the passage that your essay will be more convincing. Go here for examples of effective active reading.
Above is a podcast that will walk you through the active reading process. Open up the examples of active reading and follow along.
Then write it up!
This is an example of a well written reflection…
Above is a podcast that will walk you through the previously posted essay. Open up the written essay and follow along. We will use the format below for all reflective writing assignments – be it Economics, Government, or Senior Current Issues….
- Title the article. Provide author and source.
- Who, What, When, Where, and Why – briefly.
- Quote – from the essay. And a one to two paragraph explanation on why that quote captures the essence of the essay.
- Summary – three to five paragraphs. Additional for exceptionally long essays.
- Reflection – three to five paragraphs that weaves the assigned essay directly into your reflection.
- Q & A – compose a question that fully contemplates the assigned essay. Provide a one to two paragraph answer to your question.
Final grade on any Active Reading / Reflective Writing Assignment will rely on the reliability of the journalism that you draw upon. Make sure that all of your sources are legitimate.
- Legitimate News Sources
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Los Angeles Times
- Christian Science Monitor
- The Atlantic Magazine
- The New Yorker Magazine
- The Nation
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Detroit Free Press
- BBC News (UK)
- The Guardian (UK)
- National Public Radio (online podcast)
- The World (online podcast)
- Here and Now (online podcast)
- All Africa.com
- Oakridge Media Center Data Bank