Reader Project



About the Duke Reader Project: Bringing Duke student writers together with Duke community readers.

The Reader Project, a teaching initiative offered through Duke’s Thompson Writing Program, offers Duke students the opportunity to get feedback on a class writing project from someone outside the classroom setting who has professional experience relevant to their project.

This feedback can help students learn to anticipate the needs and expectations of readers, and to revise their writing to make it more effective for the intended audience. Students in participating undergraduate courses will have the opportunity to be paired with a Duke alumnus or employee who has a professional interest in their writing project.  By participating in the Reader Project, members of the broader Duke community can play a direct role in helping our students develop the communication and reasoning skills that are so important for their success in both professional and civic life.



While the Reader Project is generally open only to students participating in Duke Courses, undergraduates writing research grant proposals can do participate too!

How it works

Students who sign up are matched (on a first-come basis) with volunteer readers who have backgrounds in the general area of their proposal and professional experience as readers or writers of grant proposals. Students send at least one draft of their proposal to their reader and meet at least once to discuss the draft. Additional interactions are optional—at the discretion of student and reader; that said, we encourage students to try for two real-time interactions. Additional meetings can be early—to discuss the project at the idea/outline stage, or late—to get feedback on a complete draft prior to submission.

 What you can expect?

While we try to match every student who wants to participate, we cannot guarantee it. If you are matched, you will receive an email from the Reader Project coordinator within a week or so of the sign-up deadline. This email will include contact information for your reader. You should email your reader as soon as you get this email to make plans for your meeting(s). Below you will find a suggested timeline for interactions. Since students progress on their proposals at their own pace, you should figure out with your reader a schedule that works for you. You and your reader will also need to decide whether to meet in person (and if so, where), by webcam, or phone. Ideally, your reader will receive your draft at least a few days before you are scheduled to meet and so have time to make written comments that you can review and discuss at your meeting.

What’s expected of you?

The Reader Project depends on the good will of volunteers and the responsible behavior of students. Participation is optional; if you sign up, we expect:

  • Mature, respectful behavior. Our readers are volunteers. They give share their time and expertise generously. In exchange, they only ask that the students they work with treat them respectfully. If you sign up, you should take the initiative to set up meetings, be diligent about sending drafts, and generally stay in touch with your reader about your interactions. If unavoidable delays or issues arise, notify your reader immediately so you can adjust plans accordingly. Finally, please do not send drafts to your reader and expect them to give you written feedback within a day or two; they are busy people with their own obligations. You should work around their schedules, not the other way around! Also note that our volunteers are not and editing service. If you sign up you will be expected to meet with your reader to discuss in real-time any drafts that you send.
  • Help Duke assess the Reader Project for grant proposals. In order to make things work as well as we can, we need to know about your experience: what worked? What was good? What was problematic? We ask that everyone who participates in the Reader Project complete a short survey about their experience.

 How to sign up

Go to Click the STUDENT tab > then click SIGN UP. You will be asked for information about your writing project. You must include these two things:

  • The field of your research proposal (e.g., Cultural Anthropology or Medicine.)
  • A one-sentence or more statement of the topic of your proposed research (e.g., “I plan to investigate whether permethrin-impregnated fabrics are effective in reducing the risk of tick-borne illness.”)

Time line 

Feb 2 and 3: Info sessions (Dr. Grunwald and Dr. Moskovitz)

Mon, Feb 9: Student sign up deadline: (Students must submit summary with signup?)

Fri, Feb13: Matches announced

Feb 14 – 21: Student send draft to reader; optional: early meeting to discuss rough draft or outline; reader sends written comments to student within 4 days of receiving draft

Feb 21 – 28: Student and reader meet (in person, webcam, or phone) to discuss draft and comments

***  Optional: additional meeting to discuss complete draft before submission


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