write The Write Place: Guides for Writing and Grammar .............................Home
 

Guide to Peer Response

Responding in helpful ways to each other's writing is one of the most important activities in a writing classroom. This guide will provide some basic guidelines for how to approach peer response, along with some examples of strong and weak peer responses.

As you reply to your peer's writing, please follow these guides:

1--Respond in the spirit of helpfulness and respect.
2--Follow the peer response questions (provided to you) as you respond.
3--The best response are ones that are observational; they point directly to the writing in a specific way and observe something without making a judgment.  Share observations of what you notice in the writers text, but also share observations you notice of what occurs inside of you as you read the writer's text.
4--You need not respond in the role of the teacher or fixer of their writing.  Respond as a fellow writer and as a reader.

A word about being observational:
The peer response questions will guide your responses predominantly, but you should also be guided by your role as a reader of the author's text. Your job is to play the role of a reader and share your experience as a reader with the writer of the text. No one likes sharp criticism, and that is not your role. A better stance as you respond is to be observational--notice things without critical or evaluative statements.

Avoid this kind of response:
You didn't include a Works Cited page and you are supposed to for this assignment. You better do that.

Do this kind of response:
I noticed that you had no Works Cited page.

Don't feel that you have to tell them what to do or what they are doing wrong. Instead, provide them the information to make their own inferences and conclusions.

A word about being specific:
Peer responses that point directly to the writing and provide examples are much more helpful than general abstract responses.

Avoid this kind of response:
I got kind of lost in your paper. I was confused.

Do this kind of response:
I noticed that I got kind of lost in your section describing how the car crashed. I got confused about where they were and what exactly caused the crash. Was it the road conditions or was there something else? I couldn't tell.

Further Examples of Helpful and Weak Peer Responses

The Peer Questions for Response for these examples:
1. Address one concern the author has expressed about their story in their Draft Letter.
2. POINT to some examples of good description you liked in the story.
3. POINT to what you think is the central image or central event of the essay?
4. What MORE do you think is needed? Where? (any places in the story that need more description, any information you need to understand what is going on better)
5. What LESS is needed? (anything that detracts from following and seeing the core of the story)

Example of Good Response

1. Description was a concern expressed in the draft letter, whether or not she was able to show and not tell the audience.
2. I really enjoyed the details given when she showed the audience what happened recently when the story was brought up by her mother. I was able to picture her return to her room and begin drifting off and recapturing every detail of that day.
3. The central event was when the vehicle rolled back into the carport.
4. I'd like to know what happened when her mother came running over -- was anyone hurt? Was her mother angry or more concerned? Has this effected Christina's driving since then?
5. I don't think there is anything in the story we could do without -- every part of it came together to effectively detail the central event.

 

What was good about this response

  • it addressed the peer response questions
  • it points specifically to the writing
  • it is substantial; it offers a good deal of feedback that will be helpful for the author
  • it shared the peer responder's observations without making conclusions for the author

Examples of Poor Peer Responses

You were right about growing and maturing. We all go through changes as we get older and grow up. At least you are able to make the connection and continue to grow

What is not working in this response

  • it does not follow the peer response questions
  • it does not point specifically at places in the text
  • it offers little more than a connection to the message of the writing; there isn't anything that will be helpful to the author as they work on writing this piece
(1)I also think that there could be more description
I also think there could be more description.
(2) I got up to check the time, still groggy from the inadequate hours of sleep, but I fell back down. I figured that I was just unbalanced or needed to go back to sleep. For some reason the ground was shaking violently. I could my dad screaming, Oh my god.
(3) EARTHQUAKE!
(4)There could be more description and it could be a little longer.
(5)To much talk about the earthquake.

What is not working in this response

  • it provide a general impression without any specific example to clarify what they mean. More description? Where exactly?
  • it included a quote from the text but it doesn't clarify why they included that quote
  • the responses are so abbreviated to the point that the essay's author will have to interpret what the responder means.

More Examples of Good and Poor Peer Response on the Same Paper

Good Response

1. Address one concern the author has expressed about his or her story in the Draft Letter.
  You stated, "Originally, the story itself is very short so I just don’t know how to make it longer." I think you just need to slow down and describe more.

2. POINT to some examples of good description you liked in the story.
    Two examples of good description I liked in your story were you explained your excitement towards seeing the box,“Look daddy!!!! IT’S A BOX!” "I squeal."  I like the dialogue and hearing you.
Another example of where I thought you had good description was where  you said, "The hum of everyone's combined voices accompanied by the sweet, nutty smell of baked goods fills the air above our heads." I could really picture this scene because I could hear and smell it. I really like the "nutty" smell. It made me hungry.

3. POINT to what you think is the central image or central event of the essay?
  I believe the central image of the story is the gift you received and your expression towards the gift at Christmas. It is really your mistaken belief that you have opened the gift by only unwrapping it--that's what makes the story memorable. Your funny statement and belief that the box itself was your present.

4. What MORE do you think is needed? Where? (any places in the story that need more description, any additional information you need to understand).
     I like that your story it is short and simple, straight to the point, but maybe a little more detail showing the Christmas gathering more. Definitely I think you could describe you opening the gift more. What type of gift wrap was it? How did the box look underneath the wrapping? Show your expression of excitement more. I'd like to see the reactions of your family more too.

5. What LESS is needed? (anything that detracts from following and seeing the core of the story)

     Nothing is needed less in your story, just a little bit more description is needed.

What Makes This A Good Response

 

 

  • It answers the Peer Response questions thoroughly and not in short staccato fashion.

  • It elaborates on its observations. For example, here the observation is followed by some detail behind that observation.

  • It takes a helpful, complementary tone, but it is not afraid to offer additional suggestions.

  • It seeks to clarify for the writer, but it also speaks from the reader's perspective and what the reader needs and wants.

Poor Response

1. Address one concern the author has expressed about his or her story in the Draft Letter.

She knows it’s too short.

2. POINT to some examples of good description you liked in the story.

Sweet, nutty smell

Grubby little hands

3. POINT to what you think is the central image or central event of the essay?

I think the central event was when she discovered it was a box.

4. What MORE do you think is needed? Where? (any places in the story that need more)
I’d like to know what was in the box.

5. What LESS is needed? (anything that detracts from following and seeing the core of the story)

From what I see, everything in here pertains to the story’s core. Nothing less is needed.

 

What Makes This a Poor Response

 

  • Short responses indicate the peer responder is rushing and not considering the paper closely

  • Observations are not elaborated upon.

  • What it offers is only minimual--minimual observation, minimual elaboration, minimal clarification.

  • The writer is not given much feedback to go on with thinking about his or her essay.

  • The tone is flat and unhelpful.

Peer Response is a two way street. You will be giving peer response, and you will be receiving it. The more you do peer response, the more you see how helpful it is to get feedback from your readers as you work on a writing piece. As you review peer responses you have received, remember that you are the ultimate "author," and you decide what to use or not use from this feedback.

 

 

 

 

HTML Hit Counter
Free Web Counter
(Since 1/12/16)  

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License | Contact Lirvin | Lirvin Home Page | Write Place Home