Skip to Main Content

Library Instruction and IL in the Writing Program

WR 115 Introduction to College Composition

WR 115, Introduction to College Composition, introduces students to the expectations of college-level reading, thinking, and writing. Students will be introduced to rhetorical concepts and engage in a collaborative writing process to produce projects for a variety of purposes and audiences, across more than one genre. Reading, writing, and critical thinking activities will focus on inquiry and the development of the metacognitive awareness of individuals as writers. Students will produce one formal essay of 700-800 words and a total of 2000-2500 words of revised, final draft copy over the term that incorporate source material and practice MLA citing and attribution conventions. Courses may include multimodal projects.

WR 115 Information Literacy and Research Expectations

Focus = Introduction and Practice using Library Resources, Reading Sources for Comprehension, Summary and Response

WR 115 Course Outcomes: Research and Documentation

  1. Use MLA style documentation and attribution (signal) phrases to integrate resource material into writing
  2. Compose at least one essay that incorporates research and thesis (as an introduction to argumentation)

In WR 115, students practice asking and answering interesting questions, often about shared readings and topics. Students are required to use an outside source to build understanding around a class topic. Students will practice writing with sources, including citing source material. Students are introduced to the library and how to use online library tools such as databases to find background sources. WR 115 students often work with news sources and some library instruction may include how to distinguish various types of news sources (e.g., editorial, letter to the editor, investigative journalism, etc).  WR 115 is also an opportunity to think about how books and book chapters fit into the research, and what they imply about the organization of information (i.e., books can provide great examples of how a broad topic is chunked up into smaller units/chapters). Library instruction typically involves some combination of the following

  • Doing a library search
  • Finding a print and/or eBook on a broad topic
  • Looking at chapters for ideas about how to focus a topic
  • Looking at news sources (how to find, choose, evaluate)
  • Doing a database search to find articles

The Summary Response is often assigned in WR 115 and is a building block for WR 121 and WR 122. To support students who are learning to do a summary response, librarians help teach active reading by modeling and being explicit about reading strategies used to navigate the various kinds of texts and information platforms introduced in the instruction session and in one-on-one reference encounters.

WR 115 Common Assignment / Common Assessment: Analytical Summary (Summary Response)

WR115: Analytical Summary (100 minutes)

Read the essay “TITLE” by AUTHOR. Write a short analytical summary of the essay.

Your analytical summary should provide a clear general idea of the content and argument of the essay. You may find it useful to think about the following questions as you read:

  • What is the author talking about?

  • What does the author have to say about it?

  • How does the author support and explain the ideas in the essay?

In your analytical summary, you must:

  • tell me the topic of the essay, either by paraphrasing or quoting

  • paraphrase the thesis (main idea) or quote the thesis statement

  • paraphrase or summarize three main supports the author gives to accept her thesis (there may be more, but you can choose only the most important three)

Write your summary using Standard Written American English and complete sentences and paragraphs. Write a short introduction and conclusion, and use transitions between ideas. Do not turn in an outline or list. Maintain a formal tone.

Proofread and edit your work carefully. Basic writing is a major part of your grade.

You have until the end of class to complete this assignment. Use the time you have and make sure you’re turning in your best work. When you are finished, you may turn it in and leave.

Analytical Summary Student Support Materials (students have access to these materials)




This essay raises the following question, problem, controversy, decision, judgment...


Write a noun phrase here. This is the TOPIC. Make sure it’s not too broad or too specific. It should not suggest issues not actually raised by the MAIN IDEA leave out anything that is covered by the MAIN IDEA.

e.g. The topic of his essay is free tuition at public colleges and universities.


The author wants me to believe / agree / do (or thinks that) ...



Write a complete sentence that incorporates the topic here. This is the THESIS / MAIN IDEA (same thing!) Make sure it expresses a reasonable, debatable opinion. Make sure it’s not too broad or too narrow. It should not raise issues not supported by the body and there should not be anything in the body the thesis doesn’t relate to.

e.g. His main idea is that free tuition at public colleges is a bad idea, and he is against it.



1. _________________________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________________________

3. _________________________________________________________________________

Write complete sentences here; the reasons to agree with the thesis; the facts or expert opinions or logical conclusions that make the thesis believable and acceptable. Should always make sense if placed after THESIS + BECAUSE... Don’t just list the details that illustrate the point. Find the way the writer ties the support back to their thesis. Find their reasoning.

e.g. Kelly’s first support is a reminder that “free” college is of course not free, but rather represents shifting the cost from the students and their families on to all taxpayers.

Sample Analytical Summary

This sample analytical summary is just meant to provide you with one model of what a successful analytical essay of this length might look like. There are many different ways to accomplish this task, and each essay you summarize calls for its own approach, so you shouldn’t necessarily copy this sample in all ways.

Summary of “The Problem Is That Free College Isn’t Free”

“The Problem Is That Free College Isn’t Free” is a short essay written by Andrew Kelly, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The topic of his essay is free tuition at public colleges and universities.

His main idea is that free tuition at public colleges is a bad idea, and should not be implemented. He proposes that public money for higher education be spent on those who need the most help rather than spreading it out to all students.

Kelly reminds us that “free” college is of course not free, but rather represents shifting the cost from the students and their families on to all taxpayers. It does not control the actual costs of providing a college education. It will probably actually lead costs to increase, as enrollment grows dramatically and some colleges may increase spending per student.

If future taxpayers are not willing to pay higher taxes to meet these new needs, colleges will have to reduce quality and turn away potential students they cannot afford to serve. The poorest students will have to compete with middle- and upper-income students for resources now equally available to everyone and will be disproportionally hurt.

Using community colleges as his test case, since federal financial aid already subsidizes most of the already very low tuition for low-income students, he points out that the majority of students don't get degrees within six years of starting, and the numbers are worse for the poorer students who get more public help. The real obstacles to getting Americans college degrees, he says, are the quality of the education being provided and the poor readiness for college of many incoming students.

He presents his thesis statement in his final paragraph: “Rather than spread scarce federal money across all students, policymakers should instead target those resources toward those who need it most and empower them to choose the option — public or private — that fits their needs.”