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Along These Lines: Writing Sentences and Paragraphs is a grammar and writing text (with selected readings) designed for beginning writers. As we planned the book, we recalled our struggles to learn the basics of using a computer. No one method seemed to work for us. Listening to an instructor didn't work; he or she went too fast. Watching other students in the class provided some help, but we soon got lost trying to follow their lead. Reading manuals alone in our offices was no solution; either. And simply turning on the computer, clicking and double-clicking, often left us floundering. While no single method taught us everything we needed to know, a combination of all these strategies did the trick.
We realized that the way we learned to be computer literate is the same way students learn to write—not by any one method, but by a variety of strategies. Merely listening to a teacher talk about writing or simply reading about how to write is not enough. Beginning writers, like computer novices, need to try all approaches: reading, listening, practicing, and experiencing the collegiality of working with their peers. Therefore, this book is filled with exercises and activities, both individual and collaborative, that involve students in the process of learning to write. We designed this book as a menu of instruction and activities, providing ample options to accommodate a diversity of teaching strategies and student populations. Organizational Features
At the same time, this menu is structured around a simple, consistent pattern for writing. The word Lines in the title serves as a cue to the stages of the writing process:
Thought Lines: the time spent generating ideas Outlines: the steps of planning and focusing Rough Lines: the steps of drafting and revising Final Lines: the last step, proofreading
The writing chapters of Along These Lines: Writing Sentences and Paragraphs are structured around these stages. A chapter on "Writing from Reading" also uses these steps in explaining how students can write summaries, reaction paragraphs, or essay tests from reading selections. An eclectic mix of activities is thus supported by a flexible framework for thinking, planning, drafting, and revising, providing students with the security of a clear and simple process as they develop their writing skills.
The grammar chapters also follow a consistent pattern, providing three kinds of exercises:
Practice: exercises for simple reinforcement of the grammar principle being discussed Collaborate: more complex exercises to be done with a partner or group Connect: application of the grammar principle to paragraphs
Throughout the book, you will notice these features:
No more than two pages of print are without an example, a chart, a checklist, a box, a list, or an exercise. The text has a lively, conversational tone, including question-and-answer formats and dialogues. The design features small, simple clusters of information surrounded by white space rather than intimidating expanses of small print. Exercises are integrated throughout each chapter, so each concept is reinforced as soon as it is introduced. Distinctive Features
The grammar chapters include these distinctive features:
Clear, simple steps, as in "Two Steps in Recognizing Sentence Fragments" or "Three Steps in Checking for Sentence Errors with Modifiers" Numerous collaborative activities, including exercises that ask students to devise their own examples to illustrate principles they've just learned Exercises based on the work of writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Buchanan, along with historical figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Winston Churchill
The writing chapters have these distinctive features:
A clear and detailed example of one writing assignment, taken through all its stages Exercises placed immediately after explanatory material Collaborative exercises directing students to write with peers, interview classmates, react to others' suggestions, and build on others' ideas Numerous writing topics and activities, providing additional flexibility for the instructor Peer Review Forms, so students can benefit from classmates' reactions to their drafts
The reading sections include these distinctive features:
A separate and detailed chapter on "Writing from Reading," explaining and illustrating the steps of prereading, reading and rereading, annotating, summarizing, reacting (in writing) to another's ideas, and writing for an essay test Vocabulary definitions for each reading selection Readings that appeal to working students, returning students, students recently out of high school, students who are parents, and students who are spouses. The selections focus on such diverse topics as working in a service industry, engaging in risky behavior, reinventing one's life, and losing a beloved pet. Readings by authors accessible to a student audience—from Judith Ortiz Cofer to Maya Angelou to John Grisham Topics for writing sparked by the content or strategies of the readings—designed to elicit thinking and develop specific writing skills, such as unity, coherence, or support
Along These Lines: Writing Sentences and Paragraphs combines the traditional and the innovative; while it provides a comprehensive study of conventional grammar, spelling, and word choice skills, it does so by using both individual and collaborative exercises. The division of the book into two parts, grammar and writing, enables instructors to start with either part, or to skip back and forth, and to cover as little or as much grammar or writing as they prefer. Both traditionalists and innovators will find something useful in the many varied activities, assignments, and exercises designed to get students thinking, reacting, and connecting ideas.
Instructors who select from the varied menu can connect and integrate the skills most valuable to their individual classes. They will find the text easy to use, for several reasons:
Perforated tear-out exercises reinforce every instructional concept and eliminate the pressure instructors feel in preparing supplemental materials. Peer review forms, each clearly marked at the end of a chapter, provide easy access. Exercises serve as an instant lesson plan for any class period or as individualized work for students in a writing lab.
Years ago, when we first confronted the mysteries of the computer keyboard and gingerly tapped the mouse, we wanted the security of a manual close at hand and a teacher by our side. We wanted to write down the steps for using our email or saving a file, but we also wanted to practice on our own or ask a friend for help. Student writers are no different; they need to listen and read, and they need a plan. But they also need to work on their own and to learn with others. Along These Lines: Writing Sentences and Paragraphs addresses these needs. Through a structured yet stimulating approach, it is designed to involve students in their own learning without imposing instruction on a captive audience. As you and your students work through the writing process, we wish you much success along all lines.
From the Inside FlapReview:
Compatible with WebCT™, Blackboard, and eCollege platforms, ALONG THESE LINES Online includes the following features:
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From the Back Cover
Along These Lines Writing Sentences and Paragraphs with MyWritingLab Student Access Code Card (ISBN: 9780205669912)
Biays, John Sheridan;Wershoven, Carol
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