Having students include a short cover letter (one page or less) with their writing gives them an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve accomplished as well as set the terms of a workshop experience or other feedback exchange. Especially early in the semester, it’s a good idea to give students written instructions for the cover letter—for example: Please include a cover letter with your draft in which you answer the questions below and present any other concerns that you have. Think of the cover letter as an opportunity to ask for the kind of feedback you need. All cover letters should be about a single page double-spaced. What do you see as your main idea or point? What idea or point do you feel you’ve made most successfully? least successfully? What’s the number one question about your paper that you’d like your reader to answer for you? If you were going to start revising today, what would you focus on? In the Spotlight: Sample Draft Cover Letter Sample Cover Letter Prompts For a critical argument Your draft cover letter (1 page, single-spaced) is an opportunity for you to distill your motive and argument into a few sentences and note specific areas in which you would like feedback. Please address the following questions: What is the paper’s motive? Describe it in 2-3 sentences. How does the analysis respond to this motive? Can you articulate this in 2-3 sentences? Which area of the analysis feels strongest? Why? What areas of the essay would you continue to develop if you had the opportunity? What difficulties did you encounter in the writing process? For a draft research paper Please write a letter addressed to your readers in which you answer the following questions and present any other concerns that you have. Remember, your letter is an opportunity to ask for the kind of feedback you think you need. It is also an opportunity for you to think about your draft as an original piece of research. Your cover letter should be about a page long, single-spaced, but may be longer (don't restrict yourself!). What do you see as your main idea or point? What is the evidence you are using? How have your sources informed your reasoning? What are the biggest problems you’re having at this point in the writing process? What idea or point do you feel you’ve made most successfully? least successfully? What’s the number one question about your essay that you’d like your reader to focus on to put you in a strong place for revising? Use the Writing Lexicon to be specific (e.g., thesis, structure, use of evidence, etc.) For a paper engaging with two or more secondary sources Include a cover letter that (1) briefly paraphrases the motive and thesis of this essay and then (2) summarize the source work in this paper— Whose voices have been invited to the conversation? What evidence do the sources bring to the table? How do these different sources relate to one another, and how do they relate to the development of this paper’s argument? In addition, please note anything else you’d like your reader to know or to have in mind as they read your work. Your letter should be addressed to include your writing group and be aware of them as an audience; “Dear Readers” is a fine way of opening your cover letter! For a graded assignment that involved an earlier draft Reflect back on the stages of this assignment and make specific commentary about what changed between draft and revision, noting reasons for your most significant changes (e.g., perhaps you liked the way a classmate structured her paper and decided to change your structure in certain ways as a result). In addition, referring to the grading rubric for this assignment, summarize where you think your paper is succeeding and where you have room to continue growing in this course.