Quill’s first writing and reading tool – Quill Reading for Evidence – is designed for ninth through twelfth graders. Each Reading for Evidence activity takes about 10-20 minutes to complete. These activities ask students to read a nonfiction text about a social or civic dilemma, highlight sentences about a key idea, and then complete a stem about a key idea to write three sentences using evidence from the text: one using "because" to describe a reason, one using "but" to describe a contrast, and one using "so" to describe a result or consequence. Throughout, they receive multiple rounds of feedback and opportunities to revise.

Table of Contents:

  1. Student Onboarding Pages

  2. Reading the Passage

  3. Highlighting Sentences about a Key Idea

  4. Completing and Revising the Sentence Stems

  5. Final Reflection

  6. Additional Resources for Teachers


Student Onboarding Pages

When students begin a Quill Reading for Evidence activity, they will click through four onboarding pages that will walk them through important things to know about the tool. Once a student has completed 3 Reading for Evidence activities, they will no longer see these onboarding pages at the beginning of activities.

The first page tells students what they will be doing in a Quill Reading for Evidence activity:

  1. Read and highlight a text;

  2. Write sentences using what they read;

  3. Revise their sentences based on feedback.

Students will click the “Next” button on the bottom of the page to go to the next page.

First onboarding slide with the next button highlighted

The second page tells students that the activity is not graded. We want students to focus on understanding the text and revising their sentences based on feedback, not on the grade they will get on the activity.

Students will click the “Next” button on the bottom of the page to go to the next page.

Second onboarding slide with the next button highlighted

The third page tells students that they will receive their feedback from a feedback bot. This is our way of explaining to students that the feedback they get in Reading for Evidence activities is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, which means it’s not a human teacher and it won’t always give perfect feedback. Please let students know we very much want to know if they receive feedback they think is off or unhelpful—they can do this right under the feedback when they receive it by clicking the “Report a Problem” button (pictured below). They can also share feedback at the end of every Reading for Evidence activity.

Screenshot of Quill Reading for Evidence feedback with

Students will click the “Next” button on the bottom of the page to go to the next page.

Third onboarding slide with the next button highlighted

The final onboarding page tells students that they will have up to four attempts to revise their sentences. Just like our other activities, students will get specific, targeted feedback on their responses.

Students will click the “Start” button at the bottom of the page to begin the activity.

Final onboarding slide with the start button highlighted

Reading the Passage

Before students begin reading the passage, they will see a list of the steps they will take in the activity.

Students will click the “Start” button at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot of directions in a Quill Reading for Evidence activity

Then, students will see directions to read the passage and highlight two sentences in the article.

In some Reading for Evidence activities, students will see a Building Essential Knowledge section before they begin highlighting. This section will provide background information on the topic they are reading about.

Students will click the “Got it” button to begin reading the passage.

Students will read the passage by scrolling on the left side of the screen. Once students get to the bottom of the passage, the “Read the whole passage” step will be checked off. If a student tells you they can’t click the “Done” button, they most likely haven’t scrolled through (read) the whole text.

Highlighting Sentences about a Key Idea

To highlight the sentences in the text, students will click on the sentence they would like to highlight. The sentences they click on will appear highlighted in the text, as well as on the right side of the screen underneath the “Highlights” section.

Scrolling to the bottom of a Quill Reading for Evidence activity and selecting two sentences to highlight

Students will click the “Next” button to move on.

Next button highlighted at the bottom of the page

Completing and Revising the Sentence Stems

After students read and highlight the text, they will see the checklist with the first step checked off.

Students will click the “Next” button to begin completing the first sentence stem (”because...”). It may be helpful to know (and share with students) that the highlighting prompt will usually prepare them to find evidence relevant to this first stem.

Next button highlighted at the bottom of the page

Students will now be in the heart of a Reading for Evidence activity. Note the layout of the page: the text will be on the left side, and students can scroll up and down to view the whole text; the prompts and sentence stems will be on the right—this is where students will write and receive feedback.

Quill Reading for Evidence activity showing the passage on the left and the text box on the right

Students will click in the text box to begin drafting a sentence. When you are ready to submit, click the “Get feedback” button.

Sentence submitted on a Quill Reading for Evidence activity with the feedback underneath

Just like other Quill activities, students will receive targeted feedback on each submission. The tool will provide feedback on the accuracy and relevance of evidence, use of the conjunction, the quality of paraphrasing (discouraging plagiarism), and use of opinion (encouraging students to only use textual evidence). Only when students have corrected any issues in these areas will they get feedback on grammatical or mechanical errors.

As much as possible, the feedback will try to lead the student to make a revision without directly telling them what to do. However, scaffolds are also designed in the feedback for when students are struggling. For example, if students are having trouble identifying a relevant piece of evidence, a section of the passage will be highlighted for the student to re-read.

Example evidence highlighted in the passage of a Quill Reading for Evidence activity

“Hints” provide annotated exemplars. For example, students may see an annotated exemplar of an effective use of “because” if they are struggling to provide evidence of a reason for the stem.

Screenshot of Reading for Evidence hints appearing below the feedback

If students do not submit a strong, evidence-based sentence by the fifth attempt, they will see examples of strong sentences submitted by other students.

Final attempt screen with example sentences at the bottom of the page

If students do submit a strong, evidence-based sentence, they will see a green box with a checkmark.

Strong sentence feedback with a check mark

Students repeat this process for each of the three sentence stems, making up to 12 revisions in total (4 per stem).


Final Reflection

After students complete the last sentence stem, they will be brought to a reflection page that celebrates them for their efforts. Note that, as indicated in the onboarding section of the activity and reiterated on this page, students won’t see any grade or score for their responses, but they will get to see their 3 final revisions alongside exemplar responses for each stem (2 exemplars per stem). This is a great page to leverage for class discussion!

Completed activity screen for a Quill Reading for Evidence activity

Following the reflection page, students can also complete an optional emoji survey on what they think of the activity. Our team reviews these responses and revises activities accordingly, so please encourage your students to provide their feedback here!

Emoji survey following a Quill Reading for Evidence activity

Additional Resources for Teachers

As you begin assigning Quill Reading for Evidence activities, check out our Teacher Center section about this tool. There, you will find a comprehensive list of resources, recommendations for best practices for using Quill Reading for Evidence, a student-facing PDF to use when introducing the tool, and lots more!

Please email support@quill.org to report any issues you or your students have with Quill Reading for Evidence activities. Please include: the date/time of the issue, the name of the activity, and the name of the class and/or student(s) who experienced the issue. Screenshots are also very helpful if you have them! Thank you in advance!


Have more questions?

Please feel free to live chat with us through the green message bubble on the bottom right corner of the screen or email us at hello@quill.org.

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