"They Say / I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings

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"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. Now available in two versions, with and without an anthology of 32 readings.

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About the Author:

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.

Russel Durst, who edited the readings in "They Say / I Say" with Readings, is head of the English Department at the University of Cincinnati, where he teaches courses in composition, writing pedagogy and research, English linguistics, and the Hebrew bible as literature. A past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, he is the author of several books, including Collision Course: Conflict, Negotiation, and Learning in College Composition.

Review:

“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 demystify the moves that matter. I like this book a lot.”
- David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh

“The new reading chapter gives readers a roadmap for following the moves authors make as they situate their discussions in larger conversations--and gets past the agree/disagree pattern of response. The idea that any text is part of a larger conversation is as helpful for reading as it is for writing.”
- Eileen Seifert, DePaul University

“Excellent explanations of the instinctive moves that good writers make. A very useful teaching book.”
- Elizabeth McKetta, University of Texas, Austin

“What effect has "They Say" had on my students' writing? They are finally entering the Burkian parlor of the university. . . . The only thing that's been lacking is readings, so I'm thrilled to see this new version.”
- Margaret Weaver, Missouri State University

“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.”
- Patricia Bizzell, College of the Holy Cross

“I like the readings--they're current, and relevant to students' lives. They present a well-balanced range of different ideological perspectives--and they don't shy away from some pretty controversial issues. They will provide a fertile ground for class discussions, and students will definitely enjoy writing about them.”
- Tina Zigon, SUNY Buffalo

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