Reading Roles

Study Circle Roles are a way of dividing up the approach to a reading among members of a discussion group. Our class is so small, we'll rotate the roles for each text we read. Each class member will have one of the following roles.  We can then use your notes and reactions as jumping off points for class discussion. On occasion, for some of the roles, you might consider doing something more creative--like finding some kind of visual or audio aid (especially for the "mapper" or "illustrator" roles). Please remember that the SOCS discussion board allows you to include active hyperlinks and documents. If you wish to give us a link to a particular image, please include the URL in the appropriate field.

  1. ABSENCE READER: What is not there in the reading, but either implied or ignored by the author? What questions do these absences raise in your mind? What kinds of information or analysis are needed to address these questions?

  2. ANALYST: What roles do fact, theory, history or religion play in the reading, and how would you account for these roles?

  3. CLARIFIER I: What terms do you need to understand to understand this text?  Find definitions and facts that will help us grasp the meaning of the text. (The Oxford English Dictionary can be your best friend if you just let it.)

  4. CLARIFIER II: What concepts (historical, cultural, religious) do we need to understand? Find explanations or examples of the concepts to help us grasp the meaning of the text.

  5. ILLUSTRATOR: Find or create visuals (artwork, photos, graphs, icons) that illustrate the reading. Your job will be to draw us into the process of interpreting the visuals in relationship to the topic you’re studying.

  6. IMPRESSIONIST: What is shocking or controversial in this reading? What in the reading is particularly striking—tone? word choice? method of argument? approach to the topic?  

  7. INVESTIGATOR: Dig up some background information—anything that will help the group to understand the reading better. Find something that really interests you, something that struck you as curious or puzzling as you read. Submit the link to the discussion board.

  8. LINK-MAKER: What does this reading bring to mind—in other readings or in the world as you know it--by way of comparison or contrast? What do these different materials suggest about one another?

  9. MAPPER: What places does the reading talk about? Get or draw a map; locate the events in the world; provide some description of what this place is like and how it is connected to other places.

  10. PASSAGE MAVEN: Choose a few special sections of the reading to which the group should return; help us pay attention to the most interesting or puzzling or important sections of the text. In discussion, read the passage, or find another way to call our attention to it.

  11. REFERENCE-TRACKER: Each of these texts will have a number of references to other texts. What are they? Where do they come from? What's the significance of their presence?

  12. SYNTHESIZER: What are the writer's key points?  What is the central argument, and how is it supported?  Are there parts of the text that are difficult to place within the overall argument or seem to contradict it?  How would you connect those points with the author's central position?  

  13. METAPHOR-MAVEN: Your job will be to decode the metaphors within the text. Identify them and try to break them into their component parts.