Introduction to College Writing

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9780130803283: Introduction to College Writing

Using a step-by-step approach to writing, this book reminds its readers (and writers) that every professional person is a professional writer. It motivates them to learn about writing, challenges them to find something interesting to write about, and offers guidance while developing ideas into paragraphs and essays. Collaborative activities, extensive coverage of the writing process, a thorough usage review, and in-depth, practical instruction in rhetorical, are just some of the effective teaching tools in this guide to producing better writing. It also features quotations and anecdotes about writing from such experts and successful authors as Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, Ellen Goodman, Ken Macrorie, and more. Other reading selections include diverse topics and works by Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Colin Powell, Alex Haley, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gwendolyn Brooks. For preparation in the professional world of writing — letters, reports, proposals, evaluations, presentations, and speeches.

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From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE TO THE INSTRUCTOR

This book is the product of both research and classroom experience. I have benefited from years of teaching, reading, and exchanges of ideas with colleagues who share my enthusiasm about teaching developmental writers. As I planned this book, seven principles shaped the content and organization:

Effective learning experiences stimulate the human brain to restructure itself in exciting ways analogous to the rewiring of computer hardware. During active learning, dendrites are formed, brain cells form complex alignments, and new neurological connections are made. Research shows that writing, talking, and reading activities stimulate these important changes. Developmental students benefit when motivational material is presented early in the semester. Many developmental students enter college unaware of the relationship between writing skills and professional success. Class discussions of real-world writing activities instill a positive attitude about college writing requirements. A process approach to writing often works well with developmental students. They usually like the idea of writing by steps rather than tackling an assignment in a single strenuous effort. Because many students suffer from "writer's block" when they face a blank piece of paper, discovery activities are especially helpful. Students like to write about a variety of topics: personal experience, career and consumer information, and current issues. Sharing personal writing helps build cooperation and trust in collaborative groups. When students have learned how to work together, they enjoy sharing information and opinions about more public topics. Student writing should have a purpose. Too often students merely write out a list of causes and effects, or annotate the steps in a process, without demonstrating how this information will benefit readers. By contrast, on-the-job writing always has a purpose—exploring the causes of a successful advertising campaign, or explaining the steps in a medical procedure. "Making meaning"—a phrase coined by author Anne Berthoff—is important to all writing instruction. Writing assignments for developmental students should vary in length and complexity. Students usually prefer to tackle single paragraphs first: As they gain confidence and fluency, they can move on to essay assignments. The conventions of written English present a particular challenge. Many developmental writers lack confidence with punctuation, spelling, and other usage issues-and they are intimidated by sophisticated grammatical terminology. Special Features in This Book Active learning is promoted through structured collaborative activities and a variety of reading and writing tasks. Students learn how to work effectively in groups—a skill helpful both in college and professional life. Motivational material in the Introduction and Chapter One demonstrates why writing is important to today's college students. This book offers unusually broad coverage of the writing process. One entire chapter is devoted to Discovery Activities because students produce better writing when they've found an intriguing topic to write about. An additional benefit is that the reading tasks and Thinking Tools in this chapter can be carried over to other academic subjects. Students are guided through the transition from single paragraphs to essay-length writing. Chapters One and Two focus solely on single-paragraph writing; Chapter Three helps students move from paragraphs to essays. Chapters Ten through Fifteen, which cover modes of development, all begin with one-paragraph assignments and move on to multiple-paragraph essays. In Part One (Chapters One through Nine), students practice using details, examples, and description to develop their ideas, and they are introduced to word processing and the World Wide Web. In Part Two (Chapters Ten through Fifteen), students learn about additional types of development: processes, classifications, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, narration, and definition. Methods of development are always tied to the writer's purpose. For example, students are asked to describe a process for an informative or persuasive purpose-explaining how to perform a task more efficiently, or convincing readers to stop a harmful practice. Usage problems are covered extensively. Part Three, Editing Skills, reviews fragments, run-together sentences, and sentence variety. In Part Four, three chapters are devoted to punctuation; Part Five includes chapters on verbs, word choice, and pronouns. Wherever possible, explanations are worded clearly and simply. Ample practice material is included. Each usage chapter stands alone so that as needed, instructors can select the content most important to their students. Supplemental Material

An instructor's manual containing a syllabus, an answer key, teaching suggestions, and additional classroom activities is available. To the Student

This book was written with you in mind. I tested many of its ideas, activities, and assignments in the first-year writing courses I teach at a community college. Through these classes hundreds of students—many of whom may have writing backgrounds like yours—have become successful college writers.

You might be surprised to learn how many writing experiences you and I share. I've often had to search for writing topics. Parts of this book had to be rewritten over and over, and often I've struggled to find time for writing in my busy daily schedule.

Feedback has been helpful to me, as it is to all writers. I've discovered that it's wonderful to receive compliments about my work, but it's equally important to hear ideas about making it better.

I've learned that anyone who has the desire to succeed, along with access to professional writing instruction, can become an effective writer. If you didn't excel in your high school writing classes, you're not alone. Many proficient writers (including me) weren't stars either. What counts is willingness to work on your writing.

If "work" makes you think of boring and repetitious drills, think again. Much of what writers do involves imagination and critical thinking. Finding subjects to write about, and ideas and examples that develop your ideas, can be a fascinating challenge. As you complete the exercises and assignments in this book, I encourage you to sharpen your observation and thinking skills. What intrigues you? What are your interests, likes, and dislikes? What is unique about you and your life?

My experiences and interests have influenced much of what you will be reading. For example, several years ago I bought a copy of ballerina Suzanne Farrell's book Holding on to the Air because I'd been thrilled when I saw her dance on stage in New York. When I read her life story, I was surprised to learn that she had lived in a building in my old neighborhood—the aging Ansonia Hotel, which I remembered well. One of her stories appears in Chapter Four.

I've always been intrigued by news stories about the astronauts living at space station Mir. What, I wondered, is it like to live for months in a weightless environment far from earth? To find out, I borrowed Peter Smolders's Living in Space from the library. Now a section of that book appears in Chapter Ten.

Anything you find interesting—current events, a summer job, romance, favorite sport, or friendship—has the potential to become a thought-provoking essay. Some of my students use a small notebook to jot down ideas gleaned from news stories, college events, family life, and the working world. In this book I've suggested many ways to discover subjects for writing, along with practical suggestions for developing and organizing your ideas. There are model essays to study, tips for avoiding usage errors, and checklists to guide you as you write and revise your work.

Most important, remember that every professional person is also a professional writer. At work you are likely to find yourself writing letters, reports, proposals, evaluations, presentations, and speeches. Keep your career goals in mind as you develop your writing skills in this course.

I wish you success both in college and your life after graduation. My deepest hope is that this book will help build your confidence and contribute to that success. Acknowledgments

It has been a joy to work with Prentice Hall. I especially want to thank Craig Campanella, Leah Jewell, Corey Good, Maggie Barbieri, and Joan Polk. I am grateful to Pine Tree Composition, Inc., especially Marianne Hutchinson, for expertly transforming my manuscript into a published book. Many other people assisted me, including Hugh Anderson, Dean of Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences at Polk Community College; the Learning Resources staff at PCC; and Margaret Gorenstein, Vickie Nelson, and Virginia Read.

I am especially grateful to the reviewers for their thoughtful and helpful suggestions: Harvey Rubinstein (Hudson County Community College), Stanley Coberly (West Virginia State University at Parkersburg), Lisa Berman and Maria C. Villar-Smith (Miami-Dade Community College), Spencer Olesen (Mt. View College), Miriam A. Kinard (Trident Technical College), Margo L. Eden-Camann (DeKalb College-Clarkston Campus), Elaine Chakonas (Dominican University), Donald Judson (Providence College), Amanda S. McBride (Durham Technical Community College), and Thomas Beery (Lima Technical College).

My husband, Charlie Reynolds, has provided encouragement, humor, and support throughout my writing career. I extend my loving thanks to him.

Jean Reynolds

From the Back Cover:

Using a step-by-step approach, INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE WRITING motivates students to learn about writing, challenges them to find something interesting to write about, and offers guidance as they develop ideas. It features collaborative activities, extensive coverage of the writing process, and a thorough grammar usage review. Additional features of the text include:

  • Rhetorical modes in the context of a writer's purpose, presented as strategies for real-world writing situations.
  • Two motivational chapters to show students that writing is essential to their immediate and future success.
  • An entire chapter devoted to computers and writing (Chapter 9).

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