They suggest including items such as the following: identifying one good part of the writing and explaining what makes it good, asking at least one question about the writing, and identifying one place where they would like to hear more.
A third technique that they recommend is having peer readers mirror what is in the essay by simply telling the writer what they think the writing says as a way of seeing whether or not the writer communicated ideas effectively.
In a point of view essay, for example, where students are stating an opinion, identifying reasons for that opinion, and supporting the reasons with elaboration, students could switch papers and use three different color highlighters to verify that the writer has stated an opinion (highlighting with blue), identified reasons (highlighting with pink), and supported those reasons with elaboration (highlighting with yellow).
This technique can also be used to draw attention to a stylistic device such as use of vivid verbs, a language convention such as spelling errors, or an organizational issue such as use of transition.
He instructs students to read each other's papers and use the following four symbols to give feedback: means "I like this" * means "Say more here" ?
means "This puzzled me" (check mark) means "Check for an error." Peer reviewers can use the symbols for individual words and sentences or put brackets around paragraphs or more extensive text with the symbol in the margin.
After that students move into guided peer review of each other's essays and finally end up becoming members of autonomous and flexible groups which can function during all stages of the process with limited teacher monitoring.
Scarborough (2001) emphasizes that during this kind of community building it is particularly important for content area teachers to engage students in collaboration that is tied to the content of the class and not just "touchy-feely" activities in order to maximize their value.
Second, the teacher must decide how to structure the activity. What kind of guidance will students get about the kind of feedback to give? Will students be given credit for reviewing each other's papers?
Will the teacher evaluate peer feedback for appropriateness? The answer to these questions will depend on the purpose of the activity, the dynamics of the class, and the nature of the writing assignment.