- Proofread the text of the riddle, either via proofreader's marks or a corrected re-writing, so as to make it conform to the standards of edited academic American English as defined in the grammar handbooks included in the standard course textbooks. Students are encouraged to make use of the reference guides to aid them in making the corrections.
- Offer a solution to the riddle. Students are told that the "correctness" of the answer is not so important as what happens with whatever answer is given in the next part of the assignment.
- Explain how the solution to the riddle they provide fits all of the clues given in the text. Even if the answer is not the "right" one, a sound explanation of how the evidence in the text supports the answer provided is appreciated.
In past terms, students have tended to struggle with the work early in the semester, but improve throughout the term, until by the end of the course, they are doing fairly decently--and they appear to be deploying the skills so practiced in their more formal assignments. I have therefore viewed my use of riddles as a successful teaching practice, and have continued to do it.