As READER, how will I interact with my student?

The specific details vary according to the course, but typically this is what to expect:

  1. Meet your student: Readers and students will have a 20-30 minute “Introductory meeting” to start off. In this meeting, readers and students will get to know each other and have a chance to discuss the student’s project. Students tell their reader what kind of writing they will be doing, the deadlines, and other pertinent information for the project. As reader, you may have to be proactive to elicit this information from your student. The meeting can take place per zoom/Skype/whatsapp, etc, through whatever medium is convenient for both.
  2. Receive first draft: Once the student has written a coherent draft of her/his paper, s/he will e-mail the draft to you for your feedback. For information about the kind of feedback we’d like readers to provide click here. Note that the deadlines for drafts and final papers depend on the directives and dates set forth by the instructor. Your student has the details on dates.
  3. Meet to discuss feedback: For most courses, you would provide students with your feedback on the draft prior to the live interaction. During the meeting you will share your experience as a reader and discuss the student’s questions. If needed, we can provide you with some questions from the instructor specifically tailored to the writing assignment and expectations of the course, around which to focus your comments.
  4. Give feedback on revised draft: The student will take your comments into account when revising the paper (along with any other feedback they get) and then e-mail you the new draft. You will again provide feedback and then interact a third time live to discuss the revised draft or final paper. If all goes well and the student is responsive and engaged you will receive a copy of the final paper at the end of the semester.

As a READER, what do I need to consider when giving feedback and priorities for interactions?

Leave the work in the student’s hands. Please, do not use editing tools such as “Track Changes”. They are not suited to help students become better writers since students can be tempted to passively accept your suggested changes rather than deciding for themselves which changes to make. Students will learn more if you can help them recognize where changes are needed, rather than doing the changing for them.

Share your thoughts, describe your reactions to what you read. Let the student know where you can follow the ideas and where you get lost; where you’re engaged and where you’re bored, confused, or frustrated; where you find an argument compelling and where you’re skeptical. It’s fine to do this without suggesting specific changes to address those issues. In fact, that’s what we expect you to do most of the time. That said, there will be many occasions where students will benefit from your advice.

Give advice where it seems warranted, but try to do so in terms of principles students can apply in the future, rather than as fixes to specific problems in their paper. For example, instead of: “You should insert a sentence here that says…,” try this: “When I read this kind of paper, I want to see an explicit statement of the question or problem that will be addressed so I can understand where the paper is headed. What would that statement be in your paper?”

Let students know what’s working. While you will want to let students know about difficulties you have trying to make sense of their drafts, you should also let them know what’s good. These comments will encourage them to keep doing the things they’re doing well. Even brief comments such as “This is clear” or “I’m following you here” or “That’s pretty convincing” give students valuable information.

As STUDENT, how will I interact with my reader?

What do I need to tell my reader?

  1. Explain my writing project. My reader does not know what I am expected to deliver. I need to inform my reader of all requirements and expectations for this assignment.
  2. Due dates and deadlines. My reader does not know what due dates and deadlines my instructor has set for us. I need to tell my reader about important dates and I need to arrange specific deadlines for my live interaction with my reader.

The specific details for interactions vary according to the course, but typically this is what is expected from the student:

  1. Meet your reader: Once you receive the email with your match, get in touch with your reader right away and schedule a 20-30 minutes introductory meeting. In this meeting, you will get to know your reader and have a chance to explain your project and your interests. You need to tell your reader what kind of writing you will be doing, the deadlines, and other pertinent information for the project. Your reader does not know any of this. You need to be proactive in providing this information. This live meeting can take place per zoom/Skype/whatsapp, etc, whatever medium is convenient for you both.
  2. Submit your first draft: Once you have written a coherent first draft of your paper, you will e-mail the draft to your reader for feedback. Again, your reader does not know your deadlines. Please plan accordingly and be proactive. Give your reader a reasonable turn-around time, aim for 4-5 days.
  3. Meet to discuss reader feedback: Once you receive the written feedback you will discuss and clarify the comments and suggestions with your reader in a real-time interactions.
  4. You will submit your penultimate draft to your reader for review and arrange a third live interaction: Once you have incorporated all changes and suggestions from your instructor into your paper, you will send it to your reader for review and repeat step 2 and 3. Please send a copy of the final paper to your reader at the end of the semester. Readers really enjoy reading the final product.

What can I expect from my reader?

My reader will provide me with a detailed analysis of my writing from the perspective of an informed and engaged audience member. This feedback can take the form of annotations and comments to a document or a recorded read-aloud response.

My reader will be available for 2 live interactions, one after each submission of a draft. During these conversations I will engage with my reader and develop ideas how to improve my paper drawing on the reader’s professional expertise and advice.


Email the Reader Project coordinator at