Reading and Conceptual Skills
Necessary for Good College Writing

Comments and Questions to: John Protevi
LSU French & Italian
LSU Women's & Gender Studies
Protevi Home Page

To find your own voice, you must first be able to:

1. Read a text carefully and determine what it says, its "literal meaning."

2. Paraphrase this literal meaning accurately, both overall structure and specifics.

3. Identify exposition, opinion, evidence and argument (both premises and conclusion).

4. Render explicit any implicit premises by articulating the author's presuppositions.

5. Provide principles from examples ("induction") and examples for principles (exemplification).

6. Render explicit the implicit metaphors and oppositions of the text.

7. Critique the text:

    a. show internal inconsistencies or conflicts between

        i. explicit and implicit premises

        ii. premises (either explicit or implicit) and conclusions

        iii. principles and examples

        iv. thematic and performative or operative levels of the text

    b. show how another perspective allows for:

        i. explanation of areas of human experience or of the natural world the text ignores

        ii. revelation of the complicity of the text's interpreters in unjust practices

8. construct your own arguments and texts.