Major English Paper —-Summary/Response

| November 20, 2015

Major Paper #3–Summary/Response

The Assignment:

This assignment will have two parts:

1.) Summary

Summarize in 150-200 words the article your instructor has chosen from the assignment: “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” on pages 270-274 of your 9th edition textbook (or on pages 276-279 of your 8th edition textbook or pages 287-291 in your 7th edition textbook).  In this summary, you should relay the article’s main points, completely and accurately, in your own words.  If you find yourself in a situation in which the author’s words needed to be quoted directly (perhaps for emphasis), you must make it clear that these words are the author’s by using quotation marks appropriately.  You will not want to quote anything over one sentence in length, and you will want to limit yourself to no more than 2-3 direct quotes, if you use any at all.  Remember that the whole point of this portion of the assignment is for you to restate the author’s points objectively in your own words.

In general, I recommend you structure your first sentence something like this:

In “Children Need to Play, Not Compete, Jessica Statsky…

This will function as the thesis statement of your summary, so this first sentence will need to convey the main point(s) of the article to give your reader an overall view.

2.) Response

Write a 2 pages  response to “Children Need to Play, Not Compete.” Before you even begin drafting, you will want to decide on the terms of your response.  Once you decide on the terms (or grounds) of your response, you’ll want to figure out how you can support your points—using logic, outside evidence, examples from your personal life—whatever is appropriate.

Please keep in mind the following:  Before you even begin drafting, you will want to decide on the terms of your response.  Once you decide on the terms (or grounds) of your response, you’ll want to figure out how you can support your points—using logic, outside evidence, examples from your personal life—whatever is appropriate.

Please Note:  The sample Strong Response section for this unit is included on the “Lecture Notes”


Lecture Notes

A Sample Strong Response

The following is an example of how one student responded to the article “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names.”  (Again, remember: “Sticks and Stones” is not the article that you will be reading and responding to.  However, this example does provide a good example of how to craft the strong response, in general.)

As you read this example, ask yourself what you notice about the strong response—in terms of purpose, focus, tone, organization and formatting.

Sticks and Stones and False Concerns

I strongly disagree with Richard Estrada’s article, “Sticks and Stones and Sport Team Names.”  As a Native American myself, I have no real problem with the use of ethnic mascots.  In my opinion, this is the least of our problems.  Further, I feel Richard Estrada has no authority whatsoever in writing about this subject.

First, allow me to discuss my own Native American heritage.  I am only one-quarter Native American; my father is half.  My adopted brother, Reeve, is also half Native American.  In other words, our family has a strong sense of heritage when it comes to our respective tribes.  (My father’s side is Cherokee; my brother’s tribe is Cheyenne Arapaho.)  All three of us are registered with our tribes, and we still occasionally attend tribal events.  So I am sensitive—and actively engaged with—Native American issues.

Unappealing mascots, however, are the least of our problems.  Most of the Native Americans I know have a sense of humor about the whole mascot issue.  They’re surprised people even bother to talk about it.  Who cares if a bunch of white people want to flap their arms in public and pretend they even know what a “tomahawk chop” is?  Who really cares what goes on at a football game?  Who really believes that a bunch of beer-drinking ball-following hicks are seriously capable of demeaning us?

The answer is simple:  Not Native Americans.  At least not any of the Native Americans that I know.

Our tribes face must bigger problems in the real world.  We have been pushed to the corners of this country, environments and economies unsuitable for sustaining our livelihoods.  We have sought solace wherever we could get it through generations—including in the bottle.  What does Richard Estrada have to say about this?  Nothing.

Estrada would claim that mascots are a symbol of cultural appropriation—white society taking what it wants from Native American culture.  I agree that the appropriation of our culture is a problem.  However, once again, unappealing mascots are the least important aspect of this phenomenon.  How many white people own dream catchers, turquoise necklaces, trickster figures and the like?  How many of those people know anything about the traditions that are behind all of these “cute little trinkets”?  How many of those people know anything real about Native American heritage?

But this, again, is a minor problem in reality.  The real problem we as Native Americans face is the appropriation of our voices.  How many Native Americans have been asked if they are offended by mascots?  How many articles on Native American issues are actually written by Native Americans?  The answer is practically none.  Instead, the Richard Estrada’s of the world are doing all of the talking.  Is Richard Estrada a Native American?  I highly doubt it.

As a Native American myself, I’m tired of the false concerns of all of the non-Native-American liberal do-gooders.  If you really want to know about the problems of Native Americans, stop talking.  Try listening.


Again, what did you notice?  What does the strong response include?  How is it formatted?

The first paragraph of this section defines the terms of the response and the student’s claims.  In the example above, for instance, the student is focusing on his own Native American heritage and how Estrada’s article challenges his beliefs and values.  You will want the terms of your response to be clear in the first paragraph as well, so that your reader will know where you’re going.

The last paragraph of this section provides a sense of conclusion and restates the student’s claims/terms of response.  You will also want your closing paragraph to wrap things up, and reemphasize your points.

Between the first paragraph and the last paragraph, however, what’s happening?  The student is devoting at least one paragraph to each of his claims.  For instance, paragraph 2 describes the student’s own Native American heritage.  Paragraphs 3-6 offer examples of the kinds of “real problems” that the student believes Native Americans face.  Paragraph 7 offers examples and explanation to support the student’s claim that Estrada’s lack credibility.  I recommend you use this 1-3 paragraphs per claim structure, which should help keep you organized and the reader on track.

But how do I get from here to there?

As with the summary, I recommend you consider the materials in your chapter as a guide in crafting your strong response.  In particular, the last five reading strategies in Chapter 12 offer a helpful guide to determining the grounds of your response.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1.)  Do you want your response to focus on the patterns of opposition within the article, and the ways these challenge or support your values and beliefs?  In other words, do you want to reflect on the values and assumptions made by the author and how these compare/contrast with your own?

2.)  Do you want your response to focus on evaluating the logic of the argument?  In other words, do you want to critically analyze whether the reasoning and support offered in the article is believable and sufficient?

3.)  Do you want your response to focus on the issue of emotional manipulation?  In other words, do you want to discuss areas in the article where the author seems to be exaggerating or using other tools inappropriately to gain your sympathy or compliance to his/her point of view?

4.)  Do you want your response to focus on the credibility of the author?  In other words, do you want to consider whether the author seems appropriately knowledgeable and fairly considers other arguments or points of view?

You may be able to focus your entire response on just one of the above issues.  Or you may decide to discuss two or three issues that seem related.  (For instance, in the sample strong response, the student chose to discuss his own beliefs—number 1 on this list and the author’s lack of credibility—number 4 on this list.)

Please keep in mind that while the strong response must be “analyzing” the article in some way, this does not mean that it has to be negative.  Despite the example above, a strong response may discuss the ways in which the article is successful and convincing (or the reasons why you agree with the author).



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In the introduction, how has the writer tried to show that the problem is interesting, significant, and problematic? How could the writer engage you more fully with the initial problem?
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