LITR 4332 American Minority Literature
Student Presentation

Reading Discussion Leader

Length: 8-12 minutes for presentation; Discussion may continue indefinitely


  • Open discussion by inviting class to raise questions, problems, or overall observations regarding reading assignment. (Questions may be addressed to instructor as well as discussion leader)

  • Identify idea, theme, problem, issue, or literary feature in reading assignment.

  • Relate this idea to a course objective (or, if not, indicate why it doesn’t fit).

  • Direct class (page numbers or via webpage) to one or two passages from reading assignment

    • read selections aloud

    • apply to opening theme or idea.

    • (If online text, discussion-leader or instructor may locate passages on projection screen.)

  • (All these opening steps may be rearranged.)

  • Ask a question or questions to start discussion. Questions should follow from your interpretation or appeal more broadly to challenges in the text or intertexts with other class readings.

  • At least one question should be from instructor's Discussion Questions.

  • You may also ask questions along the way, at end of each passage for instance.

  • Lead discussion. You may follow up or re-start discussion with follow-up questions as prepared.

    If students don't respond . . .

    • Keep pressing the question--restate, approach differently, or ask students if they understand what you're asking.

    • Invite challenges to analysis

    • Ask students what they saw in the passages or elsewhere in the assignment that mattered

  • Conclude discussion by highlighting major points from discussion + relation to course objective


  • Don't march through entire reading assignment, seeking complete coverage.

  • Don't focus on author's biography or force the text to conform to external facts.

Instead of biographical reading try:

  • Intertextuality: connect the text to other texts instead of to its author.


  • Posting or Summary for Web Page--email ahead of time to instructor for posting, or bring file on thumb drive.

Advice for successful presentation:

  • Don't save questions & discussion for very end. Mix in questions & discussion at intervals during presentation.

  • Start discussion as soon as you can. Students are ready to talk as soon as the passage  is read.

  • Mix discussion with your own analysis. Instead of telling class what you think, ask what they think, then add what they didn't say for you.

  • When in doubt, ask a question.

  • When in doubt about a question, review objective(s)