A Reader’s Checklist
Your reader is an educated person who reads what you write because s/he wants to know what you have to say. Because reading is difficult work, writers are obligated to meet certain standards that engage readers and reward them for their attention. For example, readers need key sentences that direct their attention to important points; these sentences must be written to reveal the writer’s thought, not to obscure it. Readers appreciate correct spelling and punctuation because these are signs of respect from the writer. Readers also expect the writer to be knowledgeable on the topic and to use a tone that fits the purpose and occasion of the document. To help you consider your work from a reader’s perspective, ask readers to answer these questions about your draft so that you can confidently revise your writing.
When I read the paper does it…
- Reflect an awareness of who the writer is writing for and why?
- Focus on the assignment and topic without straying into irrelevant material?
- Have a significant and interesting focal point or thesis that I could easily paraphrase?
- Provide me with credible details, examples, arguments, citations or other kinds of to evidence to support the thesis statement?
- Offer verbal and typographical cues to help me follow the information the writer has chosen to present?
- Contain clear, fluent sentences that motivate me to read on?
- Avoid wordiness, clichés, pat phrases, and biased or judgmental language?
- Contain words I can be expected to understand?
- Show respect for my time by being carefully proofread?
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