Journal 11-1-2011

	The two texts cover the importance of “critical” reading and its relation to the writing process. The Leki text focused on L2 readers and how their reading process impacts the writing process and how similar that is to L1 readers. This text, taken in connection to the Haas & Flower text, seems to suggest that reading as a process functions similarly across languages, and if this is the case, there needs to be similar application in teaching L2 learners to think critically. Or, on a broader scale, there needs to be inclusion of the process of critical reading in writing composition classes.
	While these statements seem to be no brainers to most people the way the curriculum is set up does focus on writing over reading, not seeing them as mutually beneficial units. As I read the Leki text, I tried to think of ways of applying some critical reading exercises for my classroom (my one day classroom :] ). I came up with the idea of a grab bag that had papers with each article name and a variety of “purposes.” Since each article would have multiple purposes, when the discussion occurred the students would see how purpose is connected to reading and we could then connect that to writing. In addition, the exercise would suggest to students that there are multiple perspectives on each reading, based on purpose and personal skills, and that note taking might be a good skill to acquire so that nothing is missed on assessments. The assessment is still in progress for me, but I am mulling over a “test” based on all perspectives, which would assess note taking and discussion processing or “tests” based off their favorite article and perspective (covered in class), which would probably be their own perspective. The assessment is the difficult part of this exercise. 
	As I got into the Haas and Flower article, I noticed a lot of things that I saw examples of in my current consulting sessions and a few questions that I am curious about. When the authors talk about the representation the reader constructs as multifaceted and interwoven – like a network or roadmap (123), it made me think of a paper as a roadmap and the thesis as a guide to this. It made me wonder if our process of writing like a roadmap helps or is connected to presetting the reading construction of the text. I know we want to try to build a paper for the point we wish to convey, but are subconsciously trying to preset what constructing the reader will do? Even though, as both articles note, there are many different elements involved in reader construction.  This talk of representation also reminded me of one of my consultations today. The girl had excellent ideas and good paragraphs with about her topic, with stories as evidence, but it was disorganized. If I looked at it as a web, it makes complete sense how she got from her points to her points and conclusion. Is our push for organization just a means of pulling out ideas from one person’s web and putting it in an order of sensible elements for others to build their own constructions/ webs out of? 
	I also noted the idea of freshmen as “tied to content” (125) and the discussion of content on page 125 is an excellent example of why standardized tests hurt our students. Because of this approach to assessment, our students are good at the “knowledge-getting” (132) process but fail at the rhetorical process of reading and writing. The purpose of all the reading they do until college is to gain knowledge to regurgitate on a standardized test. Reading is not done to gain “critical” skills, and students teach themselves to read towards the test purpose. If we were to require our students to do more that vomit up content answers, they would know or at least move themselves more towards rhetorical readings. 
	The last thing I noted in the Haas & Flower text was the comment about “discourse acts” (135). It made me curious if this was one of the reasons TAMUCC focused so much on discourse communities and different types of discourses. Because I come from a more traditional background, these things were not focused on at SFA; I had not really considered how they worked in the classroom. Seeing them now, I like what they help students realize and think it fits with both articles. I question if this comes from a combination of reading/writing research or if, as Leki suggests, the two are so interrelated that what works for one benefits both. These texts open some areas that I might focus on for research because some of the questions I have would make great studies.