Identifying the moves that matter in academic writing in ways that students can readily understand and apply."They Say / I Say" shows that writing well means mastering some key rhetorical moves, the most important of which involves summarizing what others have said ("they say") to set up one’s own argument ("I say"). In addition to explaining the basic moves, this book provides writing templates that show students explicitly how to make these moves in their own writing.
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Gerald Graff, a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and 2008 president of the Modern Language Association of America, has had a major impact on teachers through such books as Professing Literature: An Institutional History, Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education, and Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind.
Cathy Birkenstein is a lecturer in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has published essays on writing in College English, and, with Gerald Graff in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and College Composition and Communication.
“I like the way the Graffs pick apart what's really happening in an argument. Many students get to college not knowing how to make the moves necessary to put forth an argument, and this book helps them work through that process.” (Christine Cozzens, Agnes Scott College)
“Especially for beginning writers, "They Say / I Say" offers an excellent roadmap to the new world of academic discourse.” (Daniel Zimmerman, Middlesex County College)
“The argument of this book is important-that there are 'moves' to academic writing . . . and that knowledge of them can be generative. The template format is a good way to teach and demystify the moves that matter. I like this book a lot.” (David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh)
“I absolutely love the governing idea of this book. As a teacher and WPA, I'm constantly thinking about how I can teach my students-and how I can help instructors teach their students-to make specific rhetorical moves on the page. This book offers a very powerful way of doing that.” (Joseph Bizup, Columbia University)
“Graff and Birkenstein's basic argument is both persuasive and congruent with my own experience: these are the moves I needed to learn as a student. A very, very smart book.” (Lisa Ede, Oregon State University)
“This book demystifies rhetorical moves, tricks of the trade that many students are unsure about. It's reasonable, helpful, nicely written?and hey, it's true. I would have found it immensely helpful myself in high school and college.” (Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles)
“Demystifies academic argumentation. I like this book very much!” (Patricia Bizzell, College of the Holy Cross)
“Brilliantly simple . . . adds to the argumentative strategies students already possess . . . distills the essence of academic discourse in a way that students can understand and employ in their own writing.” (Russel Durst, University of Cincinnati)
“A joy to read . . . like having a private tutorial with gifted teachers.” (Sarah Duerden, Arizona State University)
“The ability to engage with the thoughts of others is one of the most important skills taught in any college-level writing course, and this book does as good a job teaching that skill as any text I have ever encountered.” (William Smith, Weatherford College)
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