This article presents the authors’ innovative approach to the challenges of teaching students in a large lecture survey course to perform effective close readings, and sets forth a rigorous qualitative assessment of students’ learning. It describes a combination of teaching strategies integrated to encourage students’ skills acquisition as well as content mastery, and to make the course writing intensive without also being grading intensive. It demonstrates the effectiveness of these strategies by analyzing evidence of student learning. The authors advocate for an instructional model that gives students ample opportunity for active learning and for practicing close reading skills. The authors conclude with a brief coda calling for more scholarship and reflection on faculty-graduate student collaboration in both scholarship and teaching.

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