Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Second Edition

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9780130488954: Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Second Edition

In the REAL WORLD, do we write just ONE mode in isolation? With a strong focus on writing and the writing process, WORDSMITH: A GUIDE TO PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS, Second Edition also groups the methods of development in threes - to better show students the relationships between them, and to give students strategies for using more than one in their papers: The Showing and Telling chapter covers Description, Narration, and Example. The Limiting and Ordering chapter covers Definition, Classification, and Process. The Examining Logical Connections chapter covers Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument. Throughout the text, WORDSMITH: A GUIDE TO PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS 2E also provides extensive exercises for students to practice their skills: Practice and Review Exercises are brief, short-answer style exercises. Editing, Group and Writing Assignments require working with or creating writing samples. Progressive Writing Assignments connect writing process concepts from other chapters. With a focus on writing and a variety of exercises, WORDSMITH: A GUIDE TO PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS 2E illustrates how the elements of good writing are rarely performed in isolation.

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Preface: Updates to the Second Edition

For the convenience of instructors, the new Instructor's Edition provides answers to exercises as an integral part of the text. The back pages of the Instructor's Edition contain icebreaker activities, suggestions on using the chapters and readings, an examination of grading issues, and model syllabi for ten-week and fifteen-week courses.

Updates to Part 1: Composition

  • The section on writing paragraphs has been expanded. The number of exercises has doubled, and there are now three chapters on paragraph writing instead of one. Separate chapters on writing a topic sentence, supporting the essay, and providing unity and coherence allow students to focus separately on each aspect of the paragraph.
  • A chapter on writing a summary report has been added to help students make the transition, from personal writing to academic writing. The chapter includes a discussion of the differences between academic and personal writing, a section on paraphrasing and summarizing, and a model summary report.
  • The chapter "Revising and Proofreading" is now titled "Revising, Proofreading, and Formatting." It discusses various methods of formatting a paper and provides general instructions on formatting handwritten and word-processed documents.
  • A new Progressive Writing Assignment allows students to choose a topic and develop it as they move from prewriting in Chapter 2 to revised draft in Chapter 6. Each chapter's assignment guides students through one step of the paragraph. In Chapter 2, students focus on prewriting. In Chapter 3, students complete a topic sentence and outline, and in Chapter 4, they provide support for the topic sentence. The Chapter 5 Progressive Writing Assignment guides students through the process of checking for unity and coherence, and in Chapter 6, students revise and proofread. By the time they finish the chapters they have a completed the entire paragraph, step by step. I have used some form of the Progressive Writing Assignment in my own classes for years. Here are some of the advantages I have found in using a Progressive Writing Assignment:
    • It guides students through each step of the writing process and each part of the paragraph.
    • It promotes understanding of how each part of the paragraph relates to the other parts.
    • It provides the opportunity for instructor or peer feedback at each stage, resulting in a strong, carefully written composition.
    • It emphasizes process and careful crafting. It allows instructors, if they wish, to assign some form of credit to each portion of the assignment, thus placing emphasis on the process as well as the product.
  • Boxes in the methods of development chapters (Chapters 7, 8, and 9) specifically point out connections among the methods of development. In addition, these chapters now end with assignments headed "Mixed Methods." These assignments deliberately direct students to mix the methods in the chapters. For example, an assignment in Chapter 7, "Showing and Telling: Description, Narration, and Example," asks students to use techniques of narration and example in a single paragraph.

Updates to Part 2: Grammar

  • Practices in the grammar chapters now have titles to remind students exactly which principles are being discussed and practiced.
  • Minor changes have been made throughout the text. For example, a chart summarizing five methods for correcting run-on sentences has been added to Chapter 16, "Run-on Sentences."
  • Eight Editing Exercises have been added at the end of the Part 2, Grammar.

Updates to Part 3: Readings

  • Three carefully chosen readings have been added and three old ones removed. The additions include Cara DiMarco's "Setting Boundaries," which discusses the process of setting personal boundaries and models the techniques of process and example. Shoba Narayan's essay, "I Wonder—Was It Me or Was It My Sari?" is a delightful narrative that shows how the author's decision to wear the clothing of her native India for a month affected people's perception of her. Finally, in the haunting narrative "What If My Friends Hadn't Run?" Bill Pippin reexamines a longago impulse to pick up a gun in anger.

Preface To the Instructor

Thank you for choosing Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Second Edition, as your textbook.

Like you, I am a teacher of writing. Like you, I struggle to find the best way to teach a subject that, on its surface, seems as simple as touching pen to paper. Yet writing is remarkably complex, incorporating the personality and experience of each writer and each reader. It requires adherence to agreed-upon rules of grammar, punctuation, and form. It is, in fact, a craft that might be best taught to a small group of students in a series of unhurried sessions and individual conferences over an extended period of time. But our reality is the fifty-minute hour, the class of twenty or more, the term that is measured in weeks. How best to handle that reality?

Most of us constantly refine our teaching methods, striving to make difficult concepts clear and tedious details interesting. Most of all, we try to ignite the spark that will help our students see writing as a meaningful, life-enriching activity. A good textbook should reinforce our efforts. I have spent considerable time trying to analyze what a good textbook should do, above and beyond presenting information in a given field. Here is what I have come up with: The book should be orderly and user-friendly, with a flexible format. Explanations should be clear and supported by numerous exercises and examples. The book should contain much more than is strictly necessary: it should be a smorgasbord, not just a meal. Finally, if it includes a little bit of fun, so much the better—for us and for our students. I have written Wordsmith with those principles in mind.

Features of Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays

  • A three-part layout allows the freedom to mix and match writing chapters, grammar chapters, and readings.
  • A structured yet flexible approach to writing encourages clarity and creativity.
  • A direct, conversational, student-friendly approach is used throughout.
  • Lighthearted chapter openings promote a positive and playful approach to learning.

Although each of you will use the book in a different way and adapt it to your own students' needs, the following overview of each section may give you some ideas. For more ideas and for sample ten- and fifteen-week syllabi, check the Instructor's Guide in the back of the book.

Part 1: Composition

Part 1, Composition, takes the paragraph as its primary focus but provides an extensive chapter (Chapter 10) on the five-paragraph essay and a chapter (Chapter 11) on the summary report. Include or omit these chapters, as you prefer. The book begins with an overview of the writing process (Chapter 1), followed by a chapter on prewriting (Chapter 2). Planning and drafting, the next two steps in the writing process, are addressed in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. Chapter 6 addresses revising and proofreading.

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 address methods of development. I have sacrificed some flexibility by grouping the methods, so let me explain why. The first reason is philosophical. I believe it is more realistic to group the modes, since they are seldom used in isolation in "real-world" writing. Modes with a similar purpose are grouped together, and the optional "Mixed Methods" assignments at the end of the chapter show how the modes can be used together in a single piece of writing. The second reason for grouping modes is more practical. No matter how hard I try, I can never cover nine rhetorical modes in one term. Grouping them allows me to assign a chapter containing three modes and address only one or two in depth. If all three rhetorical modes chapters are assigned, students are exposed to all nine modes even if they practice only a few.

Special Features of Part 1: Composition

  • A student paragraph is presented in all drafts and stages along with a transcript of a student writing group's discussion of the work in progress. (Chapter 1)
  • A section "For Right-Brained Writers" gives tips for students who tend to think in terms of "the whole" rather than in terms of a step-by-step process. (Chapter 1)
  • The five steps in the writing process are presented in the order in which most writers address them: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and proofreading. (Chapters 1-6)
  • Methods of development are grouped into three chapters to highlight their relationship to one another and to allow students to read about all methods even if they use only a few. (Chapters 7, 8, and 9)
  • Two paragraphs provide models for each method of development. (Chapters 7, 8, and 9)
  • Throughout Part 1, topics for paragraph, essay, and journal writing provide a basis for assignments and encourage further practice.
  • Students are introduced to academic writing in Chapter 11, "Writing a Summary Report."

Part 2: Grammar

Part 2, Grammar, can be used in a variety of ways: with direct, in-class instruction, in a lab setting, as a supplement, or for independent study. Part 2, Grammar, also works well for instructors who want to address more difficult grammar topics in class while assigning easier material or review material for independent study.

In the grammar chapters, explanations are clear and each topic is taken one skill at a time, with numerous practice exercises for each skill. At the end of each chapter are review exercises in increasing order of difficulty, ending with a paragraph-length editing exercise.

Special Features of Part 2: Grammar

  • Explanations are clear, logical, and user-friendly.
  • Step-by-step, easy-to-understand presentation is sui...

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