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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Improve Nonfiction Reading with the Berkeley Protocol

Eddie Perez, whose work as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in the Department of Political Science at Berkeley earned him the Outstanding GSI and Teaching Effectiveness Award, developed this set of reading questions for his graduate students at Berkeley. He used these questions both as a protocol for student reading and as a formative assessment.

Learning to apply this protocol to complicated texts will improve students' ACT and SAT reading scores. What's good for Berkeley is probably good for our students too.

The Berkeley Protocol
  1. What does the article say?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. And why does it matter?
  4. What is the question--the problem or puzzle--being asked in this article?
  5. What is the author's main argument or thesis?
  6. What claims does the author present to support his or her thesis?
  7. What are the author's conclusions?
  8. On what assumptions does the author's main argument rest?
  9. Is the argument persuasive?
  10. What evidence does the author use to support the argument?
  11. What evidence is omitted?
  12. Do you agree with the author's assumptions? Why or why not?
  13. What criticisms can be made of the author's argument?

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