20+ Free Writing Ebooks to Become a Better Writer
- Books , Promotion , Writing
There’s a wealth of valuable writing advice in this list of free writing ebooks. I’m sure that like me, you’ll be amazed at just how generous these writers are, and how much enthusiasm they have to help you reach your writing goals.
I know we’re all enchanted by the idea of making a living with nothing but our words, but don’t forget to support your favourite writers when you can!
Free Writing Ebooks
1 | The Real Good Writer’s DNA by Rachel Giesel This beautiful ebook asks what I think is one of the most important questions for any of us to answer: what makes you a writer? Rachel explores this question with readings, exercises and prompts that I’m sure will inspire and motivate you. I say download it now before someone convinces her to charge for it! ;)
2 | The Writerologist’s A-Z by Faye Kirwin Faye’s meticulous research is evident in every article she writes. In The Writerologist’s A-Z , she details some fascinating psychological phenomena and gives you exercises to help you apply them to your writing. The series will probably form the go-to textbook on the subject once it’s complete, so I suggest you get in early and read it while it’s still free.
3 | Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 tips for fascinating characters by Roz Morris This ebook is full of fast-paced advice on creating characters. It’s great to dip into, and you’ll probably find yourself highlighting everything . :)
4 | How To Write A Novel The Easy Way Using The Pulp Fiction Method To Write Better Novels: Writing Skills by Jim Driver I read this ebook (digital) cover to cover, and if you’re a writer who also suffers from literary snobbery, I think you should too! There’s some great advice on market research, as well as some sound advice adapted from golden-age pulp fiction writers.
5 | Pimp My Fiction: Write A Bestselling Novel By Learning Powerful Writing Techniques by Paula Wynne This ebook does a fantastic job of synthesising the advice of some of the best books on writing. Paula’s style is quick and accessible, and I highly recommend you pick this up while it’s still free.
6 | The Quick Start Guide to Building Your Writer Platform by Kimberly Grabas A great, actionable ebook that walks you through building a writer platform, step by step.
7 | The Guide to Writing Epic, Evil Villains by Kaitlin Hillerich This ebook is full of advice for creating villains that your readers will hate, fear, and love to read!
8 | Author 2.0 Blueprint by Joanna Penn A goldmine of information on publishing from one of the leading indie writers. Don’t miss this one!
9 | Ditch the Publisher: 40 Indie Authors on Their Unique Self-Publishing Journeys by Russell Blake et al. A fantastic collection of articles from various writers, full of advice on writing and publishing for indie authors.
10 | Reader Magnets: Build Your Author Platform and Sell more Books on Kindle by Nick Stephenson I’ve been using Nick Stephenson’s amazing training to grow my readership, and I can vouch that it works a treat. Make sure you also watch his free videos!
11 | Emotion Amplifiers by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi I’m so happy to be able to include an ebook from these two lovely ladies! Their Positive Trait and Negative Trait thesauri are two of my most-used reference ebooks, and the Emotion Amplifiers are a wonderful addition to the collection. Don’t miss this one!
12 | More Than a Muse: how to invoke the 21st century muses by Eva Deverell Of course I had to nestle one of my own ebooks into this list! ;) More Than A Muse is a guide to invoking the modern muses, and it even has a set of cards that you can print out and use to play inspirational writer (mind)games.
13 | Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson et al. Another great collection of articles by various authors, grouped under the categories, “Art”, “Craft”, and “Business”.
14 | Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life by K.M. Weiland A great offering from K.M. Weiland. This ebook has advice on naming characters, describing them, choosing their careers, and more. There’s also a list of 11 “dichotomous” characters to draw inspiration from.
15 | 65 Bestselling Word Counts by Christine Frazier Christine has broken down the word count structures of 65 ( sixty. five. ) bestselling novels from a dozen different genres. Word counts are wonderful tools because they give writers a concrete goal to work towards, but this ebook is a fascinating study in itself. Be sure to pick it up!
16 | NaNo for the New and the Insane by Lazette Gifford Lazette Gifford’s ebook has been the classic NaNoWriMo instruction manual for as long as I can remember. It’s full of solid writing advice, whether you’re participating in NaNo or no.
17 | 100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered by Carol Tice Carol Tice has created an ebook of the questions she was asked most often by writers. If you’re wondering what it would take to making a living as a freelance writer, this is a great resource to read.
18 | Editors Unleashed: Magazine editors growl about their writer peeves by Linda Formichelli Linda Formichelli interviewed ten editors of national and trade magazines about what writers do that ticks them off.
19 | 14 Prompts: Unusual Prompts for Surprising Creativity by Joe Bunting If you’re a fan of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones , I think you’ll really like this ebook. It offers only 14 prompts, but they’re presented in a wonderfully simple yet thought-provoking way.
20 | How to Write Fiction by Elicia Hyder This is a quick read with lots of top tips and good examples. I think it’s aimed specifically at younger writers, which is probably why it’s done so well on Wattpad.
21 | On Writing by Paolo Coelho I’ve long been a fan of Paolo Coelho’s novels, and I love how ready he is to share his wisdom online. This is a quick read, and more motivational than practical, but I love it!
I hope you enjoyed this list. If I’ve missed any ebooks, if any of the links aren’t working, or if any of the ebooks are no longer free, please shoot me a quick tweet . Thank you!
Now go write, right now…
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The practice of creative writing : a guide for students
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15+ Creativity Books for Free! [PDF]
On this occasion, we want to introduce you to this collection of books on creativity in PDF format , which was born from the need to research on creative topics and processes. The ability to have original thinking and a prolific imagination capable of making new connections between ideas is highly desired and in demand today.
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The Lego Foundation
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National Endowment for the Arts
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Karen Halsey, Megan Jones, Pippa Lord
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Writing for Success
Copyright Year: 2015
ISBN 13: 9781946135285
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of use.
Learn more about reviews.
Reviewed by Tracy Peterson, Adjunct Writing Instructor, Southwestern Oregon Community College on 8/16/23
Index is highly comprehensive. It includes the title of chapters as well as each subsection that can be linked directly from the index to the page within the document itself. Chapters include all major areas of study within my WR90 course. read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less
Index is highly comprehensive. It includes the title of chapters as well as each subsection that can be linked directly from the index to the page within the document itself. Chapters include all major areas of study within my WR90 course.
Content Accuracy rating: 5
Information is accurate and well thought out. It would be great to have PDFs of exercises given in the book. As it is, I’m not sure how usable the exercises are in the digital only format. I do, however, appreciate the focus on sentence skills. These are greatly needed among my Wr 090 students.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
Content is pretty timeless, and I don’t believe updates will need to be made often.
Clarity rating: 4
Text is clear, though perhaps a bit hard to access for many of my Writing 090 students. Terms such as “Rhetorical Modes”, for example, would not be understood. Simpler language would be more useful in a lower-level course. The occasional flowchart is useful; I would love to see more diagrams and/or images and less heavy text. While examples are given (generally one or two per concept), more would always be helpful.
Consistency rating: 5
The text is very consistent with the way ideas are presented, giving tips and highlights, key factors, examples, exercises, learning objectives, etc. All of these things are reproduced in each section and within each chapter in the same way, making them easy to find and identify.
Modularity rating: 5
Chapters may be easily separated and rearranged according to the needs of the instructor. Subsections within each chapter are able to be completed independently.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
The organization of the text is logical and rational. It begins with an introduction to writing, moves on to sentence skills, refining writing technique, the writing process, writing an essay, different rhetorical modes of essay writing, research and citations, presentations, and example essays.
Interface rating: 3
Title page could be a little more appealing. There are quite a lot of formatting issues, large oversized text boxes with writing in bottom quarter only throughout the entire text (Ex: pg 5), strange front sizes, and too much space on page (Ex: pg 72).
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
The text contains no grammatical errors. It was well worded and well written.
Cultural Relevance rating: 4
The text is pretty neutral. I would appreciate bringing in a little more cultural relevance into the text: images of multi-racial students, etc. However, the text does includes a section for English Language Learners which I greatly appreciate. These subsections could be added throughout the course, or done as a single unit.
Overall it is a well-made text. I personally would rather see a more project based textbook, but not finding any like that, I think this text creates a good jumping off point, from which the instructor can create and deliver more project based assignments.
Reviewed by Tonya Rickman, Adjunct Instructor English Department, Old Dominion University on 7/25/23
The content presented in this book is quite appropriate for college students, especially those students who are new to college and/or struggling with the rigors of reading and writing assignments required at the post-secondary level. The text is... read more
The content presented in this book is quite appropriate for college students, especially those students who are new to college and/or struggling with the rigors of reading and writing assignments required at the post-secondary level. The text is comprehensive as it encompasses a wide range of topics and strategies related to reading, writing, and academic work at the post-secondary level, making it a valuable resource for students and instructors alike. There is a glossary that includes key terminology – much of the language included in the book is straightforward (one does not need an extensive knowledge of English terminology to understand this book).
The text appears to be error free. There were a few examples provided in the grammar section (beginning on page 51), where the author discusses editing fragments that begin with prepositions. In those examples there appears to be a word repeated (e.g., when, When). However, it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that the repeated word “when” is not a typo, but it’s the format used to demonstrate a common error.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
Even though the text was published in 2015 the information is still relevant and aligned with most of the reading and writing learning outcomes expected in a freshman and/or sophomore English course as well as other disciplines. Based on the current cultural climate in academia and shifting cultural norms in the broader society, the author might update examples in the book to convey a bit more of a feel of cultural inclusivity as well as a broader sense of technological advances (AI). That said, the systematic academic styles and simplistic tone certainly puts the reader at ease, especially when reading grammar rules that students might find confusing when presented in a more complex resource. Additionally, the exercises used to provide the reader with practice (i.e., Writing at Work) are not only a thoughtful way to help the reader make connections with the content of the text, but also useful in expanding the reader’s thinking beyond the use of a particular skill for academic purpose to a real-world application (i.e., the workplace).
Clarity rating: 5
Readers of this book have likely encountered the vast majority of terms used in the book at other times throughout their time in academia. The author actually described grammar and punctuation in a way that is understandable (i.e., short descriptions, rudimentary examples).
The format pretty much remains the same throughout the text – the author consistently articulates learning objectives, concepts, strategies, practice, and key takeaways. Additionally, visuals and links to external resources are regularly available to aid readers in gaining a deeper understanding of ideas. There is a logical progression of ideas as the reader moves forward in the text. For example, the reader is introduced to strategies for time management and study skills before learning strategies for conducting research.
Absolutely, this text can be read in sequential order (i.e., chapter one, two, three…), or the reader could refer to any chapter of interest based on his/her learning needs. As an English instructor, who has directed students to a variety of grammar resources online, I could see the benefit of directing students to a page in this text instead of several different online resources. Based on the quality of content in this text, it’s an efficient and effective way put a useful resource in the hands of students.
The sequential order of topics in the text is sensible – the structure enables the reader to know what’s coming next. The concepts in the text become increasingly complex as the reader progresses through each section of the text. The end of the text gives the reader the opportunity to apply understanding of concepts discussed earlier in the text. The progression in the complexity of skills is most notable in the steps for completion of a research paper – here the reader is challenged to apply several skills discussed earlier in the text (e.g., identifying the scope and sequence, considering steps in writing process, managing time).
Interface rating: 4
The majority of hypertext links are useful in navigating to other sections of the text and many of the links to external sources are still active (e.g., Library of Congress Subject Headings link). After visiting the external website, the reader is able to easily navigate back to the original text. The actual images (e.g., charts and tables) in the text are appropriately displayed – the color, spacing, and fonts are visually pleasing.
A huge part of the text is dedicated to the use of grammar – there don’t seem to be issues with grammar.
The text feels a bit culturally neutral - most of the examples are pretty generic. The reader likely feels the author is most concerned with providing examples for the purpose of highlighting development of essential skills that are part of the reading and writing process. For example, while there are multiple examples that spotlight contemporary issues (e.g., mortgage crisis, low-carb diets), the style and tone of writing feel appropriate for an academic text – you feel the examples are provide for academic purposes not to convey any views or positions on any of the issues.
I would recommend this book to English teachers for use with secondary and post-secondary students.
Reviewed by Alicia Andre, Faculty, Century College on 3/8/23
Writing for Success is a good text for an intro-college writing and grammar text. There are 15 chapters, and each chapter is well-organized and includes some sample essays and grammar exercises. What I like about this text, is that you can pick... read more
Writing for Success is a good text for an intro-college writing and grammar text. There are 15 chapters, and each chapter is well-organized and includes some sample essays and grammar exercises. What I like about this text, is that you can pick which topics will fit your course design. The beginning of the book has a comparison/contrast on the expectations of high school and college. This is a good way to start a college composition course because students often do not understand the demands of college writing. It also starts with reading strategies, and this is also helpful because many students today do not read carefully, and this can be a problem when they start to write a paper that asks them to analyze a reading. There is a lot to pick and choose from in this 600-page book.
The authors did an excellent job in this area as there were not any errors that I could see.
The chapters are relevant for any college composition course. The only concern is that the MLA/APA chapter may need to be updated. It might be a good idea to have a link to the Purdue Owl English web page in this chapter as the rules of MLA and APA often change over the years. Some of the readings and links might need to be updated as well.
I thought the organization and content were clear and easy to follow. I like that the “objectives” are included at the top of each chapter as this can be a nice way to see how course objectives link to the textbook chapters. Also, there are “tips” to help learners along the way.
There is clear consistency and it is easy to follow. The terminology seems accurate as well.
The modules are comprehensive and topics that I use in my college composition courses. The writing text that I am using now, has these topics embedded in units, but this text has similar topics in separate chapters which can be easy for the instructor and the student to locate. For instance, if I want to go over “understanding purpose in writing”, I can find information in the introduction. If I want to go over sentence boundaries, I can go to Chapter 2 or Chapter 6 depending on which one is a better way to explain the importance of using cohesive devices in writing. There is also a chapter on study skills that I would use at the start of the semester.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
I suppose it isn’t easy to decide which chapter should go first to last. I looked at the organization of chapters and I would say Chapter 8 on “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin” should be after “Chapter 1: Introduction to Writing”, but since many teachers will simply assign certain chapters at different times, this isn’t a big problem. I like that the textbook included a chapter specifically designed for English Language Learners (ELL) since that is my subject area.
I think it is good, but I would like to see more visuals like graphs, pictures, and sample essays with edits. There are some good aspects though as the text has boxed information with samples. For instance, in the chapter on punctuation, the boxed information shows how the punctuation is used in the sentence. The text also includes some practice exercises in “blue” boxes. This is helpful because I can scan for those exercises and have students do those as homework. One concern I have is that some of the sample essays (i.e., Page 235) have small print and is difficult to read.
No errors that I can tell.
I think for the most part it is good in terms of being inclusive. The readings in the unit on narration included readings from Sandra Cisneros and Sherman Alexie. Some of the readings might include some sensitive topics related to race and abortion that could be problematic. However, I think that if I use this textbook, I can just pick and choose which topic best fits my students' needs.
I think this is an excellent book for a college composition course.
Reviewed by Jiale Hu, Assistant Professor｜Director of Research and Global Outreach, Virginia Commonwealth University on 8/10/22
It is a comprehensive book introducing writing skills. This book covers all the necessary writing basics, from words, sentences, and paragraphs to the whole essay. The authors also provide detailed instructions on the steps of writing. read more
It is a comprehensive book introducing writing skills. This book covers all the necessary writing basics, from words, sentences, and paragraphs to the whole essay. The authors also provide detailed instructions on the steps of writing.
Although some references need to be updated, the contents are accurate. The book provides error-free and unbiased content on writing.
This book is very helpful for students or even junior faculty who want to improve their writing skills.
As it is a book introducing academic writing skills, the authors did a fantastic job of writing this book in a clear way.
I appreciate that the authors structure all the chapters and sections in a consistent way. It makes reading and navigation more efficiently.
The book uses multiple strategies to break the contents into smaller reading sections. There are no enormous blocks of text without subheadings.
The contents of this book are well organized. Each chapter has multiple subchapters. Each subchapter has multiple sections to present the contents and topics in a logical, clear fashion. The authors have learning objectives at the beginning of each subchapter and key takeaways at the end of each subchapter. Major headings and subheadings are clear. All the further explanations or clarifications and examples or exercises have been put in the boxes for easy navigation.
Interface rating: 5
This book provides five formats, including online, pdf, ebook, XML, and ODF. Each format looks great! I did not experience any interface issues. I did not find any navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse readers.
After I read the book thoroughly, I did not notice any grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
The book has a chapter for English language learners. This is greatly appreciated. I did not see any text culturally insensitive or offensive. The essays in the final chapter also include a variety of examples.
My favorite chapter is Chapter 8: The Writing Process: How Do I Begin? This chapter provides detailed steps of the writing process: Prewriting, Outlining the structure of ideas, Writing a rough draft, Revising, and Editing. Especially in the chapter on outlining, the authors provide great examples showing different ways of organizing ideas and constructing outlines.
Reviewed by Seo Lee, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Superior on 8/21/21
comprehensive book to adopt effective writing strategies for college students read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less
comprehensive book to adopt effective writing strategies for college students
it was very accurate and clear, such as the basics of vocabulary, paragraph development, and introduction of essay paper.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 3
since I do not have a lot of writing assignments for the class, this book is not relevant to my course work
this book is very easy to follow through the context of book, very organized that need to college students
Consistency rating: 4
very structured and well-organized content
Modularity rating: 4
Yes. it help to write essay paper, the learn the process of writing
easy to follow, introduce the basic elements of writing for college students
Grammatical Errors rating: 3
I do not see grammatical errors
Cultural Relevance rating: 2
did not involve the cultural contexts.
Reviewed by Pam Whitfield, English faculty, Rochester Community & Technical College on 12/21/20
Pretty accessible for students. Maybe a bit simple for freshman writing, but I would consider using it in a comp 101 course and supplementing with my own materials. I am most likely to use it for a “higher level” developmental writing... read more
Pretty accessible for students. Maybe a bit simple for freshman writing, but I would consider using it in a comp 101 course and supplementing with my own materials. I am most likely to use it for a “higher level” developmental writing course. Grammar comes first in the table of contents. That’s fine with me as it makes accessing those sections easy, but I would not teach these chapters chronologically. I would pick and choose, reordering chapters for my students to teach more holistically, so comp methodology has grammar embedded in it.
No glossary or index. This is a large omission and could be easily corrected: hire a grad student to do it as a summer project.
The content and examples are accurate overall. Ch 6 replaces persona/speaker/writer with tone in the rhetorical triangle. I find that reductionist or overly simplistic. But the chapter as a whole is superbly geared toward the dev ed writers I typically teach. I would use it in a class for students who missed the testing placement cut off for freshman composition.
I'd call its approach pretty classic in terms of comp pedagogy. It will not become obsolete in the near future. Updates should focus on new media and digital sources/examples.
Highly readable for students.
Yes, it's a text that provides a great overview but does not go deep into any one area or skill set. For ex, Chapter 5 for ELL students is just a start. Or perhaps it’s a jumping off place for teacher’s own pedagogy and materials. The slang and idioms lists are very short, for instance. They are just a starting point. This chapter could be an effective review for a competent ELL student or allow the instructor to assign one section/topic as needed to individual students.
I like the amount of sectioning; it reads in bite sized pieces for students. This is a long book—over 600 pages. It could be intimidating to dev ed and ELL students.
What helps make this text more organized and user friendly: key takeaways list at end of each chapter. charts and lists for quick reference by students. quick tips in text boxes. “writing at work” tips that help students connect the usefulness of what they’re learning in the classroom to the workplace.
There are a few poor design choices. For ex, student examples are displayed in italic font (as if the student were writing cursive). Italic font slows reading speed on the page and increases eye fatigue. Never put more than one sentence total into italics. The PDF version really needs a way to "tag" or jump to each chapter directly. Better yet, to jump to each section in the chapter by using a hyperlink or similar tool in the table of contents.
Everything I read was clean.
There is some variety. I would not term this a standout or obvious strength of the text.
I would test drive it for one semester in dev ed first, then consider adapting and supplementing it for my first year comp students.
Reviewed by Christian Aguiar, Asst Professor of English, The University of the District of Columbia on 12/21/20
This text provides extensive coverage of all of the content areas typically covered in first-year composition courses at community colleges. It includes chapters on paragraph structure, the writing process, rhetorical modes, research, MLA and APA... read more
This text provides extensive coverage of all of the content areas typically covered in first-year composition courses at community colleges. It includes chapters on paragraph structure, the writing process, rhetorical modes, research, MLA and APA documentation, sentence structure, punctuation, mechanics, revision, and even designing presentations. Individual chapters include check-in questions and, in most cases, suggested activities for students to complete as they read. There is also a selection of sample essays that follow the rhetorical modes. Finally, hyperlinks have been strategically placed to help students review important concepts by referring them back directly to the chapter where that concept was first introduced. This makes for a richly layered reading experience while also facilitating modular usage of the text.
The text generally follows the established approach to teaching writing, so its discussion of research writing, for example, includes sections on topic selection, planning, conducting research, organizing ideas, drafting and revising.
Wisely, the authors have avoided over-embellishing their work with examples that might become dated. Those examples critical to student learning tend to focus on general, enduring topics. Some of the suggested topics and activities may not age quite as well - for example, one activity asks students to complete an idea map to analyze the impact of “social networking,” which may already be a somewhat dated concept for students. Since the activities are clearly set apart in lightly-shaded boxes, it’s easy for users to update these activities as needed. It must be said that the included student examples are pretty generic; I’ve never used them.
In a nod to digital reading habits, the authors have kept paragraphs mercifully short - typically 2-3 sentences, rarely any more. Sub-headings are used judiciously. Each chapter section introduces learning objectives at the top of the page and “takeaways” at the bottom. The authors don’t attempt to over-simplify the writing styles, so the readability score is relatively high, in the 10th-12th grade or college range. This makes the text ideal for a first-year writing course, though it may prove somewhat challenging when used as part of development coursework, such as in a corequisite course.
The design of the text is clear and lucid. There are fifteen chapters, each divided into several sections covering individual topics. Each topic begins with clear learning objectives and concludes with one or more key points. All chapters feature built-in comprehension questions, short writing activities, and/or writing tips. The visual design is crisp; it makes use of white space and a consistent color palette to improve readability.
The organization of the text makes it very easy to assign a single chapter, or section of a chapter, at a time. Each section has its own URL that can be embedded in an LMS to bring students directly to the desired reading. The use of hyperlinks to refer back to ideas covered in “previous” chapters makes it easier to take the text out of order, as students are able to readily access concepts.
The digital interface is clean, consistent, and easy to navigate. The text does not generally make use of images, though there are frequent tables, charts and organizers that read clearly on Chrome and Firefox.
In two years of teaching with the text, I have found no grammatical errors.
The text is culturally competent in the sense of being quite generic and inoffensive; it does not necessarily engage a range of experiences or voices. I haven't found this a problem because the text does not include any embedded readings - it is strictly focused on writing content, so I supplement it with short stories, essays, and films that I have selected. This makes the text readily adaptable to varied cultural contexts. The student sample essays included at the end of the text do embody a white, middle-class aesthetic, though: one describes baseball, “America’ pastime,” while another compares London and Washington, D.C.
I’ve used this book as a core text for my first-year writing course for two years, and I find it generally does everything the standard first-year writing textbook does with the added benefits of being clearer, more concise, editable and, of course, free. It is designed to support process- or modes-based courses, but it can also be easily used in smaller chunks to support other approaches to first-year writing.
Reviewed by Holly Armstrong, Instructor, Middlesex Community College on 6/30/20
Writing for Success thoroughly covers all aspects of writing. Beginning with the basics of vocabulary, the text progresses through word order, paragraph development, sentence variety and clarity, then moves on to beginning an essay through to... read more
Writing for Success thoroughly covers all aspects of writing. Beginning with the basics of vocabulary, the text progresses through word order, paragraph development, sentence variety and clarity, then moves on to beginning an essay through to research writing. For first year students, including English language learners, the textbook provides clear and thorough descriptions of the writing process and provides examples of completed essays for review as well.
The content of the text is accurate and error-free. While the text covers more topics than I would use in my Reading, Writing, and Reasoning course, the review of vocabulary development, word order, sentence variety, grammar, and paragraph writing are crucial for my students.
Instructional material in Writing for Success is up-to-date and not likely to go out of date since the focus is on the very basics of introductory writing through to essay formats.
Writing for Success is easy to read and appropriate for first year students. While lengthy, the overall review of vocabulary, word order, sentence writing, paragraph development, including help for English learners especially regarding word choice and sentence order, provide clear and concise information.
Tone used is consistent throughout the text. Examples and exercises for each covered topic are easily found and clearly labeled.
Writing for Success covers all aspects of reading and writing, while also incorporating grammar review, and providing help for English learners. While the text is long, instructors can pick relevant material to use and students have a resource that can be used as a reference tool for later courses as well.
Writing for Success follows a logical flow for introducing writing to first year students. The text has a detailed table of contents and each section is clearly labeled and easy to follow. However, there is no index or glossary as part of the text, and this feature is one that could be added for greater ease of use.
I read Writing for Success online and did not have any issues. I was able to navigate the text easily.
The text contained no grammatical errors.
The text was not culturally insensitive. Perhaps the readings included can be updated to include more relevant and timely topics.
Writing for Success is a thorough text encompassing all aspects of the writing process. For first year students, it provides a complete grammar review as well as clearly organized and detailed instruction for essay writing, including model essays. Throughout the text, clear and thorough explanations of concepts are given. Although the text contains limited images, it is well organized and easy to follow. While some students may not need such a thorough review before beginning essay writing, a text that can meet the needs of all learners in my introductory course is welcome.
Reviewed by Brenda Williams, Faculty, Lane Community College on 6/23/20
It is complete and accurate. It covers a lot of material. read more
It is complete and accurate. It covers a lot of material.
Content Accuracy rating: 4
No errors and it is unbiased.
It is very relevant. It will help college students adjust to the college environment and expectations.
The text is direct and clear. An easy read.
It is consistent throughout each chapter and easy to navigate.
It does cover alot of material but that could make it easier to break up into smaller assignments.
It flows and is organized. It can be taught in a different order though which can be helpful.
I had no issues. Things were easy to find and navigate.
I didn't find anything insensitive or offensive.
It was written well.
Reviewed by Dr. Deborah Bradford, Part-time Professor, Bridgewater State University on 6/11/20
This book is very complete, but does not have an index or glossary. It does have a Table of Contents. It might be the most extensive book I have encountered for the topics that are covered. read more
This book is very complete, but does not have an index or glossary. It does have a Table of Contents. It might be the most extensive book I have encountered for the topics that are covered.
This book is accurate and unbiased with no errors.
Writing for Success is timeless in its content. I don't see anything that would make it obsolete. If any updates were needed, I'm sure they could be made easily.
Writing for Success is very clearly written which is especially helpful for beginning writers. The examples given are also very clear followed by exercises that reinforce the material. I did not find any outstanding (in a negative way) technical terminology.
The text is very consistent regarding terminology and framework. One can expect to always find the same headings/subheadings in each chapter such as Learning Objectives, Exercises, Tips, Writing at Work, Key Takeaways, etc. My additional comments about organization (which is very close to the meaning of framework) are below.
Writing for Success is a huge book that covers just about everything a professor would want for any level writer. There really is no way the book could or should be used in its entirety during one semester. It definitely can be easily broken up and reorganized into smaller sections according to what is needed at different points in the semester.
This book is very well-organized. When one becomes familiar with how the material is presented after the first chapter or so, it is comforting to see this same format followed throughout, making the information easier to read and comprehend. The headings and subheadings are clearly marked and bolded and the information that is in a box (Learning Objectives, Tips, etc.) in one chapter is consistently in a box in the other chapters. However, chapters 2-5 (or at least chapters 2-3) might be better placed nearer the end of the book, after the rhetorical mode essay examples or in an appendix. After reading chapter 1, I was surprised to suddenly be thrust into chapters on grammar and punctuation when I would have preferred continuing to read about the elements of writing that are discussed after chapter 5. However, the sequence of chapters can be changed according to the needs of the particular class (as noted in the Modularity section above).
I did not encounter any interface issues.
I did not find any grammatical errors.
I did not find the book to be culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.
This book is great and I would recommend it to any professor who is teaching a beginning or even intermediate writing course. I especially like the sections entitled Tips and Key Takeaways which serve as very helpful and concise information/reminders of what to keep in mind for good writing. I was so happy to also see the section entitled Writing at Work included, as I have not seen similar content in many writing books. It is so important to include, as I always want to have my students make a connection between their school work and the outside world, i.e. their real world professional work -- a connection that is sometimes difficult for them to make, especially for the traditional college-aged students.
Reviewed by Eileen Feldman, Instructor, Bunker Hill Community College on 6/4/20
This book presents traditional aspect of writing: grammar, sentence construction, paragraph development, essays, research. It raises the bar by adding chapters directed to novices transitioning into college, to English Language Learners, and to... read more
This book presents traditional aspect of writing: grammar, sentence construction, paragraph development, essays, research. It raises the bar by adding chapters directed to novices transitioning into college, to English Language Learners, and to making oral presentations. There is a Table of Contents but no index
The material and grammar/spelling showed no errors
The relevance is written for longevity. Contemporary technology is referred to and can be added to by interested readers. The topics suggested for writing exercises are timeless but could also be expanded by the Creative Commons agreement.
The text is clear in language, font, and format. There are so graphics , but charts and blue shading for tips help focus attention.
The framework of this book is consistent. Each chapter contains purpose statements, tips to help students, workplace writing situations, key takeaway summaries, and end of chapter quizzes. There are student paragraphs and essay to demonstrate each concept.
Each section can be separated and used as students' needs are assessed. The order of chapters can be changed at teacher's discretion.
The text is clear and logical. The entire Appendix of student sample essays of each rhetorical style appeared rather surprisingly and could be incorporated with those preceding sections.
There are no interface problems, but neither are there many charts or images.
THere are no glaring grammatical errors.
The topics suggested are of American interest and might not resonate with a variety of cultures in the class. Likewise the sample student essay might be intimidating or irrelevant to some readers.
The two outstanding contributions added to this rhetoric are1) the lengthy socioemotional introduction to college level work and challenges and 2)the concern with incorporation of these wkills into workplace environment.
Reviewed by Christy Moore, Associate Professor, Marian University on 3/27/20
The text is VERY comprehensive. I believe it would be difficult to get all the way through the text in one semester. It covers the most basic writing processes early and then eases the student into a more complex understanding of what he/she needs... read more
The text is VERY comprehensive. I believe it would be difficult to get all the way through the text in one semester. It covers the most basic writing processes early and then eases the student into a more complex understanding of what he/she needs to know to write effectively for the assignments normally given at the college level. The Key Takeaways sections and End of the Chapter exercises really provide teachers a way to continuously assess student understanding throughout the semester.
The content is accurate and all of the exercises that I tried, that are provided to test student understanding, were written correctly as well. Each section is very specific and accurately instructs on certain skills and topics essential for quality writing.
Based on the fact that this text covers English grammar and writing at an acceptable level for a college student, the material is very relevant and should remain that way quite easily. Any student that did not have the opportunity to have a strong grammar/writing class in high school will learn so much from the material provided in the text. As technology grows and changes, there may be a place for additions to different formats for student writing.
I believe the text to be clear, concise and to the point. All of the exercises provided throughout the text allow for students to check their own clarity and understanding of the material as well. The writing and grammar terminology used in the text is clear and specific in both definition and organization.
The consistency of the terminology and framework is more than adequate. One thing that this text provides that I think is essential for the student just entering college is predictability. All of the chapters follow a similar framework that can really provide much needed continuity for a student just getting started a college level reader and writer.
Depending on pre-assessment of students in the course, I believe that this text is set up for easy reorganization of material. There will be some sections that students should be able to test out of due to more than adequate prior knowledge. For those though that need a more step by step approach to topics, the content is divided into very manageable sections that will not be overwhelming to a novice to the writing process.
The structure of the text is logical and clear. The text is formatted in a way where an instructor can jump back and forth to meet the needs of specific students for the writing assignment at hand. I would like to see some writing assignments earlier in the text which could help incorporate a student's understanding of the grammar and mechanics that he/she just learned.
The book's interface had no issues. I navigated the chapters and sub-sections very easily and viewed many of the quality charts, graphs and examples provided throughout the text. I liked the bolded vocabulary terms and links provided that take you back and forth to chapters that supplement one another.
I found no grammatical errors.
I did not find the text to be culturally insensitive or offensive.
I wish all of the students that I have in my Reading and Writing in the Content Areas course would have the opportunity to utilize this book in an entry level writing class on campus. It would give me the peace of mind that they have all been introduced to the material that is essential to develop good writers and that they can move on to teach writing appropriately in their future secondary classrooms.
Reviewed by Joseph Amdahl, Adjunct, Chemeketa Community College on 5/21/19
This category might indicate one of the downsides of this particular textbook -- the text covers quite a bit of ground, coming in at a mere 645 pages. Having said that, a lot of the page includes examples, exercises, and their "Key Takeaways"... read more
This category might indicate one of the downsides of this particular textbook -- the text covers quite a bit of ground, coming in at a mere 645 pages. Having said that, a lot of the page includes examples, exercises, and their "Key Takeaways" section -- so the page count doesn't come across as overwhelming as it might seem. Overall, thorough/useful text that would work well for a composition course.
There were no glaring issues with the book regarding accuracy. Writing comes across as objective. A few minor aspects -- for example, the author writes: "A good paragraph contains three distinct components: a topic sentence, body, and concluding sentence." Would have liked more regarding paragraph transitions and implementation of both topic sentence and paragraph transition sentences for students. Overall, book seems accurate and with low bias.
The first half of the text will hold up well, -given that it covers less malleable material like grammar/usage/etc. The essay/writing exercises could be useful in the second half - though not totally inspiring. Given that MLA/APA format evolves/changes, the last section of the textbook will probably go out of date within the next few years.
The material in the textbook is fairly clear. One of the downsides of this text is how much ground is covered. Would probably be more clear if the book was split into two books -- one on grammar/usage and one on the writing process and the elements of an essay.
The text seems consistent regarding both terminology and framework.
Given the page count of this textbook, it might be difficult to cover this much material in a 10-week term. The "Key Takeaways" sections of the chapters were useful and a neat way to add clarity to the intention of each section. Again, given the white space on the page, the text doesn't come across as overwhelming -- though it could have been split into two books in order to add clarity. Would be easy for an instructor to assign sections here (one per week might be manageable).
The layout of the textbook makes sense. From the building blocks of language/grammar/usage to the writing process, essay assignments, editing, and finally formatting. Again, could probably split into two textbooks -- one that covers grammar/usage/format and one that covers the writing process & essay assignments.
The text has no glaring interface issues; however, a few of the pages had quite a bit of white space. For example, page 460 ends after a short paragraph, followed by mostly white space, and then some boxes containing information on pg. 461. Organization like this was probably an attempt to make the content as clear as possible.
There were no glaring grammatical errors.
I didn't notice anything offensive or culturally insensitive within the textbook.
This textbook would be useful to a range of students. The exercises, on a variety of grammar/usage topics, are clear and thorough. The one downside is just that this textbook covers quite a bit of ground.
Reviewed by Candace Hoes, Adjunct Lecturer, LAGCC on 5/17/19
The textbook begins at the basics of writing, such as grammar, word choice, and constructing sentences, and then builds to more complex concepts such as creating a thesis in a research paper. There are adequate stepping stones along the way, with... read more
The textbook begins at the basics of writing, such as grammar, word choice, and constructing sentences, and then builds to more complex concepts such as creating a thesis in a research paper. There are adequate stepping stones along the way, with examples of strong and weak theses that gradually build upon each other. I could see using this textbook for both an intro composition course and several building levels. There are examples of several types of essays both within the text itself and hyperlinked to outside websites.
The instructional matter of this textbook seems consistent with basic composition courses.
I wish that instead of links, the textbook provided a few examples of parenthetical citations of commonly used types of sources. I can see the advantage to providing links is that it more or less places the burden on those websites to stay up to date with the MLA's stipulations instead of updating the textbook itself. However, in my experience, students don't always follow links and would probably ask the professor directly instead. The websites that are linked, such as Purdue Owl, are very robust, but beginning composition students have difficulty navigating those websites to find their answers.
This textbook avoids jargon when explaining concepts and breaks down concepts that can easily confuse a beginning composition student, such as the main idea versus a controlling idea.
This textbook uses the same terminology throughout.
The textbook is highly modular. For example, in my composition course, I would assign brief, five-minute presentations to the students on grammar and punctuation as a review. The sections on word choice and additional help for English language learners would be good as individual readings or to refer students to on a case by case basis if I noticed errors in their essays. The sections that discuss essay types are very in-depth, so I would use them as the backbone for a lesson delivered during the class and assign them as reading as reinforcement. They could be used to open up a unit that culminates in that type of essay. I would focus on one skill in particular in each unit, such as a strong thesis, body paragraphs, introductions and conclusions, etc.
However, the example I gave drew from several different areas of the textbook. It's designed in such a way that it's easy to pick and choose what you need. You wouldn't have to adhere to their organization or go "straight down the list" in order to make sense and use of the textbook.
I appreciate that the learning objectives are separated out into boxes at the beginning of each sub-unit to make it easier for the instructor to scan for individual lessons. The organization of subjects are designed build upon each other from the smallest building blocks of writing to more complex assignments. Key takeaways and exercises are included at the close of each section as well.
The text itself is well formatted in an easy to read typeface and font.
The table of contents on the PDF is easy to use and has internal links to pages, which eliminates the need for searching for page numbers. Each subsection is also linked, which comes in hand because the chapters themselves have been broken down into such discreet sections that it's easy to find just the lesson that's needed rather than search an entire chapter.
Some of the external hyperlinks are no longer working.
I wish that some of the images and charts were easier to read in the PDF, but they can be clicked on and printed for handouts.
I did not find any glaring grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 3
In the lesson on developing a thesis, the textbook asks students to write a thesis on, "Texting while driving; The legal drinking age in the United States; Steroid use among professional athletes; Abortion; Racism." While these are topics that students are likely to have strong opinions on and therefore it's easy for them to create an "argument," I do not find that beginning compositions students have the finesse to address abortion and racism delicately. That could easily spiral into a hurtful and insensitive writing exercise. The examples of essays included in the textbook themselves seem pretty homogeneous from a cultural perspective. There are external links to essays from more culturally diverse perspectives, but unfortunately some of them are no longer active.
Overall this is a very robust and useful textbook.
Reviewed by Bradley Hartsell, Adjunct English Instructor, Emory & Henry College on 3/13/19
With 600+ pages, this textbook really builds college writing from the ground up, starting with 'sentence writing' and 'subject-verb agreement' all the way up to writing a research paper and examples of 10 different kinds of essay. In between, the... read more
With 600+ pages, this textbook really builds college writing from the ground up, starting with 'sentence writing' and 'subject-verb agreement' all the way up to writing a research paper and examples of 10 different kinds of essay. In between, the textbook is thorough in its explanations and rife with exercises concerning grammar-related instruction and essay construction. I'm not left feeling an aspect I teach in my courses is ignored or goes underserved.
Content Accuracy rating: 3
The textbook's explanation of grammar and sentence construction certainly seem correct, as does their advanced lessons such as developing and revising a thesis statement. However, I did errors on pg. 44 and pg. 49 ("Computers are tool" has a missing word; "The entire family overslept Because because we lost power" and "He has been seeing a physical therapist Since since his accident" seem indicate that those are correct sentences as written, failing to account for the repeated and incorrectly capitalized word). Regarding biases, on pg. 359, in strengthening a working thesis about teenage girls becoming too sexualized, the authors take some editorial liberties asserting that "It is true that some young women in today's society are more sexualized..."; it seems distracting for them to comment on this topic at all, at least without any providing any couched language, like "While the writer of this thesis may feel this way, he or she should also consider X, Y, and Z..."; for example, the authors suggest this 'student' should ask themselves the following questions, including "What constitutes 'too sexualized?'" which is an instructive question for the 'student' to ask themselves but the authors should also be operating within those same parameters, or better yet, abstaining from any comment on female sexuality at all. Also, their example sentences/questions seem conspicuously politically-charged (e.g. "The welfare system is a joke" pg. 358; "Despite his promises during his campaign, President Kennedy took few executive measures to support civil rights legislation." pg. 357; "Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration." pg. 355). And lastly, there are unnecessary editorial uses (i.e. not instruction sentences, examples, etc.) of gendered pronouns ('He' being a bad storyteller, pg. 353).
English grammar and college writing have the convenience of not really going out of date; APA/MLA formatting can easily be updated accordingly.
This textbook does a good job of putting grammatical jargon, like independent clauses, in plain terms so that anyone can understand it. Even as an English instructor, I don't always readily recall the correct terms and exact definitions, even if I know how to use them in practice, so Writing for Success does a nice job of stripping away heightened language and providing plenty of right/wrong examples, therefore making something otherwise pedantic fairly accessible.
Throughout the comprehensive span of the textbook, I see no departure in the terminology or the fairly conversational style of communicating information.
This textbook is formatted and coherently layered in a way that is easy to visualize and process, with properly sectioned-off section introductions, lesson 'tips,' examples, and exercises.
The textbook flows in a logical, linear fashion, beginning with simple 'subject-verb agreement' and each section linearly building from the one that came before it, until now-grammatically correct sentence structure can be built into more complex sentences, and thus drafting a college essay (and so on).
The interface is fluid; it's convenient that it goes to desired page upon click in the table of contents; places to enter answers prompt a text bar to allow you to write into.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
See above--there are no major errors that I can tell, but I did see careless mistakes on pg. 44 and pg. 49.
I find this textbook greatly lacking here. Exercise 1 on pg. 355 asks students to make a student for, in part, 'abortion' and 'racism.' Why? The former is especially charged. Elsewhere, the authors can be clumsy when addressing femininity, race, and politics. Again, why include charged examples? Yes, most language is mostly inoffensive (e.g. "My mother freezed the remaining tomatoes from her garden so that she could use them during the winter), but be it editorial or 'student' examples, they needlessly make allusions to divisive topics. Allow me to restate from above: on pg. 359, in strengthening a working thesis about teenage girls becoming too sexualized, the authors take some editorial liberties asserting that "It is true that some young women in today's society are more sexualized..."; it seems distracting for them to comment on this topic at all, at least without any providing any couched language, like "While the writer of this thesis may feel this way, he or she should also consider X, Y, and Z..."; for example, the authors suggest this 'student' should ask themselves the following questions, including "What constitutes 'too sexualized?'" which is an instructive question for the 'student' to ask themselves but the authors should also be operating within those same parameters, or better yet, abstaining from any comment on female sexuality at all. Also, their example sentences/questions seem conspicuously politically-charged (e.g. "The welfare system is a joke" pg. 358; "Despite his promises during his campaign, President Kennedy took few executive measures to support civil rights legislation." pg. 357; "Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration." pg. 355). And lastly, there are unnecessary editorial uses (i.e. not instruction sentences, examples, etc.) of gendered pronouns ('He' being a bad storyteller, pg. 353). Regardless of the authors' politics, left or right, it seems relatively easy to use language and examples without allusions to politics--socially, bodily, or otherwise.
The idea and general execution of this textbook is everything I want in an English textbook--free for my students to use and comprehensive enough to cover any reasonable topic to expect in my composition classes. For me, the variety in my class calls for some students needing very basic attention paid to grammar (check), while others ace grammar and need thesis strengthening or outlining of research topics (check). There are a couple of grammar mistakes I've noted (which suggests there could be more that I've missed), and I strongly believe some (many?) editorial decisions need to be shelved, namely that of the authors' inclusion of politically-adjacent (or even politically-charged) language and examples. Students in a first-year writing course shouldn't be asked to develop a thesis statement about abortion, or read the authors imply something of a referendum on an assassinated president.
Reviewed by James Gapinski, Instructional Specialist, Chemeketa Community College on 3/8/19
WRITING FOR SUCCESS has extensive depth and breadth. It is over 600 pages in the PDF format, but it doesn’t contain much redundant or extraneous information. The book starts with some discussion of how college writing is different from other forms... read more
WRITING FOR SUCCESS has extensive depth and breadth. It is over 600 pages in the PDF format, but it doesn’t contain much redundant or extraneous information. The book starts with some discussion of how college writing is different from other forms of writing—setting up that distinction provides realistic expectations and contextualization for beginning college-level writers. The book moves into a discussion of reading strategies, emphasizing the importance of comprehending and exploring college readings before diving into writing assignments. I like how these pre-writing discussions frame the entire book, moving naturally toward more technical chapters on grammar and usage, revision, research, and documentation styles. This book is a beast, containing just about anything a writing teacher might need for introductory composition students.
This book is accurate and thorough. I do not notice errors in fact.
WRITING FOR SUCCESS contains useful information that is likely relevant on many college campuses. It is current, but it is not necessarily forward-thinking in its scope. Within the state of Oregon—and more broadly on the national stage—college-level writing is moving toward multimodal composition. This book covers the classic writing assignments found in a typical college classroom, but it does not dive as explicitly into emerging forms of writing. In coming years, outcomes and assessments will likely focus on multiple expressive modes within the composition process. Shifts toward new modes of writing will render the book obsolete if it is not amended or updated. Moreover, there are some missed opportunities in this book for embedding more URLs that prompt additional research and intertextual learning. There are some chapters that incorporate links to online writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., links to online library resources, and so on, but these are few and far between in WRITING FOR SUCCESS. A broader focus on new media could greatly improve this book’s long-term relevance.
This textbook is clear and accessible. Whenever new terminology is introduced, definitions are readily provided and explained. It scaffolds information meaningfully and thoughtfully.
This book features consistent formatting and organization. After students have read one or two chapters, they will expect some charts and tables that help define concepts, quick tips in each chapter, and regular exercises to practice what they’ve learned. These learning tools are provided in predictable ways, so students are not caught off-guard by new content.
WRITING FOR SUCCESS breaks information into recognizable modules. Chapters are clearly organized around core themes, and they could be easily assigned piecemeal or out-of-sequence. Additionally, within each chapter, information is presented in bite-sized pieces, with clear headings for navigation and reference. Overall, navigation is clear, and this textbook’s format allows instructors to pick and choose which topics they want students to read.
Topics follow a logical order. The book starts with an introduction to college writing, moves into writing basics, and ends with discussion of formal research writing. The section on English Language Learners felt out of sequence, as if it were placed into the book at random. The ELL chapter is extremely valuable and should remain in the book, but on a macro level, it does not flow with the surrounding chapters. Still, that is only one hiccup in an otherwise well-organized book.
The interface is clean, and this book is offered in multiple formats for ease of access. I personally read the PDF format, and it was easy to navigate. The informational boxes with tips and exercises were eye-catching, and the text itself is formatted well.
I did not notice any glaring grammatical problems.
WRITING FOR SUCCESS draws from examples and recommends additional readings across several cultural contexts, so it earns some kudos for that. Moreover, the book is aware of its own textual inferences; when the book presents students with hypothetical examples, the fictitious students are not exclusively given Indo-European names. However, some problems arise elsewhere in the text. For example, there is a sample exercise that talks about “gay marriage” being legal in six states. Not only is “marriage equality” a more inclusive term, but the exercise itself is outdated and does not reflect the fact that marriage equality is now recognized on the federal level. In another example, the narrative essay section directs students to several pieces written by Sherman Alexie. While its important to include native authors in textbooks, Sherman Alexie has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. In the #MeToo era, perhaps Natalie Diaz or Louise Erdrich are more appropriate native writers to highlight. While these are just two isolated examples, I found several other microaggressions and culturally insensitive missteps in this book. It feels out-of-touch in key moments. These problems could be addressed through some surgical revisions, but this aspect of the text is problematic in its current form.
Overall, this is a comprehensive book with many valuable chapters. It has some shortcomings, and I would be hesitant to adopt the book in its entirety. However, its incredible breadth and thoughtful modularity allows instructors to pick and choose which chapters best fit their learning goals.
Reviewed by Dhipinder Walia, Lecturer, Lehman College on 5/21/18
This text covers all structural and technical concepts in Standard American English using succinct tutorials and relevant examples. Additionally, there are several sections that may guide student writers towards major writing assignments like the... read more
This text covers all structural and technical concepts in Standard American English using succinct tutorials and relevant examples. Additionally, there are several sections that may guide student writers towards major writing assignments like the research paper, the narrative essay, and the expository essay.
The content is accurate and error-free.
The instructional material is up to date and will not easily become out of date. The only portion that I found less than timely is the APA/MLA portion as well as the visual chapter. The aesthetics of charting and presentations has already changed since this publication.
There is no jargon here. Everything is intended for a beginner writer. It is also easy for instructors to layer on difficult concepts during lecture if students are up for it.
The tone is consistent as is the emphasis on the writer and their process.
Modularity rating: 3
I didn't find the organization to be effective. Traditionally, in a composition course, I am not going to assign a student to read chapters on mechanics. Rather, I would assign a type of writing alongside a reading alongside a particular concept. It might be interesting to readjust the organization to show the way grammar, structure, and content work together rather than apart.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3
As mentioned above, I don't think the flow works as an instructional tool for a first year writing course. I think it works better as a supplementary resource for a student writer.
There were no interface issues.
This text contained no grammatical errors
The text is not insensitive though the readings are political in nature.
This is a useful text for composition instructors to have, particularly when teaching an online course. I could easily copy and paste tutorials into my feedback for students. Should the structure of this text change, I may consider using it as a text.
Reviewed by Catherine Batsche, Associate Dean, University of South Florida on 3/27/18
This text provides a comprehensive overview of writing. The text covers basic writing skills, organizational skills, and the writing process. There are even chapters on writing research papers and various types of essays. It could be used as a... read more
This text provides a comprehensive overview of writing. The text covers basic writing skills, organizational skills, and the writing process. There are even chapters on writing research papers and various types of essays. It could be used as a text for a writing course or as a reference book for students who need to work on selected problem areas to improve their writing.
The text provided accurate information, good examples, and several activities to reinforce the major points in each chapter.
The book contains basic information about writing that should continue to be relevant over time.
Clarity rating: 3
The writing style of the book is extremely clear and easy to follow.
The framework for this book is applied consistently across chapters and sections. Each chapter begins with clearly stated learning objectives, exercises, learning tips, and key takeaways.
The book can easily be used as stand-alone chapters, entire sections, or the book as a whole. I plan to use several chapters in workshops to train teaching assistants who will grade assignments in writing-intensive courses. The teaching assistants will then use the entire book as a reference book when providing feedback to students.
The text is well organized and flows in a clear, logical fashion. Some chapters may be less useful for some classes depending on the purpose of the class. For example, the first few chapters on study skills seems out of place in relation to the remainder of the text. Likewise, the chapters on APA and MLA style are too condensed to provide more than an overview and will need to be supplemented with other material. However, these chapters do not detract from the overall quality of the book.
The presentation of the book does not have as much visual appeal as some other online books. It is text-heavy but well organized. I had no problem navigating the book.
I have not found any grammatical errors.
I have not found any examples that might be offensive. However, I have not yet used the book in its entirety so I will learn more about this aspect as I begin to use it with students.
Many undergraduate students need to improve their writing skills but don't know how to get the help they need. This book provides a valuable resource for students who need to learn more about the writing process as well as those who need to improve in specific areas such as grammar and punctuation. I plan to use the text to train teaching assistants how to provide feedback to students who are taking courses that have major writing assignments. This is an excellent book that can be used as a stand-alone text or as a supplemental reference in any course that has major writing assignments.
Reviewed by Davida Jordan, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/15/17
Extremely comprehensive, clocking in at over 600 pages, this book is an excellent grammar reference for writing students. It includes practical exercises that can be used to strengthen work writing or academic writing. It would appeal to a wide... read more
Extremely comprehensive, clocking in at over 600 pages, this book is an excellent grammar reference for writing students. It includes practical exercises that can be used to strengthen work writing or academic writing. It would appeal to a wide variety of students, from beginning to advanced and is arranged in order of increasing difficulty. Besides giving practical information about grammar and writing, the text includes helpful suggestions on organization, time management, and study skills.
There are some small typos such as missing letters or words. Overall, the book is mainly error-free, but for a good grammar and writing textbook, it really should be 100% accurate. The tone is unbiased and in fact is encouraging and fair.
The book addresses the complexities of writing in the twenty-first century and guides students through carefully choosing their online resources and verifying their validity.
I appreciated the additional examples of different rhetorical styles at the very end of the book; however, many of the links were broken. This is an easy-to-remedy problem, though.
The text uses encouraging languages and easy-to-understand metaphors to illustrate abstract concepts.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework from chapter to chapter. There is a reliable pattern that each chapter follows.
Most of the time, it's easy to pick out the different sections of the book because they are color-coded or similarly marked. For example, nearly all of the Key Takeaways are in a green box. All of the Tips for Writing at Work are in a grey box. All of the Learning Objectives are in a black box.
It's possible to click on writing examples and view them in a larger version in a new window.
Although the book builds in terms of levels of difficulty, it would be very easy to use a chapter out of order to suit the instructor's needs. Each chapter can stand alone even though some pieces of writing are carried through as examples from chapter to chapter. This gives the book cohesiveness but doesn't impede its modularity.
The text is logical and clear. Grammatical concepts are explained thoroughly, and the writing process is taken apart step-by-step for the students.
There are several parts where an underlined sentence is referred to, but it's not actually underlined in the text. It's possible this is only a problem in the PDF version. Overall, the formatting is clear and easy to follow.
Seeing as it's a grammar and writing textbook, the grammatical errors are minimal.
The text includes great excerpts from diverse authors such as Amy Tan, Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros, Gary Shteyngart, and MLK.
In the opening chapters, some grammatical concepts were addressed superficially but then were returned to in more detail in later chapters, which was reassuring. Chapter 5 focuses on English language learners, the students I teach. However, the entire book could be useful to both native and non-native English speakers.
Reviewed by Rachel Wilson, Adult Education Instructor, Bossier Parish Community College on 6/20/17
The text covers all its bases, from success and study skills for new college students to draft, revising, writing, and presenting a research paper. Chapters 1 through 5 cover the basics of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and word choice,... read more
The text covers all its bases, from success and study skills for new college students to draft, revising, writing, and presenting a research paper. Chapters 1 through 5 cover the basics of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and word choice, and these chapters cover only that which is most important to writing without getting into unnecessary grammar review. The text provides relevant exercises to go along with each chapter and its individual sections. In chapter 6, the author discusses paragraphing, while in chapter 7, he provides the student tips on improving writing at a sentence level. Chapter 8 covers the writing process, providing ample information on pre-writing strategies and revision and editing techniques. The text also effectively walks the student through the process of writing an essay in chapter 9 and discusses the rhetorical modes in depth in chapter 10. The last chapters (11-15) are dedicated to researching, writing research papers, presenting those papers,0 documenting sources, and providing sample essays in the different rhetorical modes. While the author does a good job covering the basics of documenting sources, I would still have to send my students to their writing handbook or the OWL at Purdue for comprehensive coverage of the source citation formats.
This text is, as far as I can see, both accurate and error-free, though, as stated above, there are a few sections (mostly with documentation) where outside sources would have to be consulted for in depth discussions of the topics.
The only area I feel could use a little updating would be the documentation chapter, though for just an overview, it does its job adequately. The text is set up in a way that seems to allow for easy updates as necessary, and the information contained within is timeless enough to withstand possible changes in writing instruction.
The text is written in easily understandable prose and defines its particular terms in an accessible way for students.
Consistency rating: 2
The text maintains consistency and follows a well-organized framework.
This text is organized in such a way that makes it easy to assign small readings to students without having to jump back and forth between chapters or different parts of the book in general.
The text builds on itself, from having the necessary study skills to understanding basic grammar and sentence structure to navigating the writing process. It then transitions from the writing process to the essay, the types of essays, and research papers. It ends with documentation and presentation of research. I would suggest, though, including chapter 15 (readings on the rhetorical modes) in the chapter on rhetorical modes (chapter 10) or distinguishing it as an appendix rather than a chapter of its own at the end.
The features of the textbook within the text itself are easily navigated, especially with hyperlinks to jump to specific parts of the book. However, while the book does have a short section index at the beginning of each chapter, a comprehensive table of contents at the beginning, or even an index at the end, of the book would go a long way in making this work more easily accessible to the everyday user. As it currently stands, a user must scroll through the entire document to find what the book covers. While an instructor can direct his or her students to specific sections with the appropriate PDF page number, the student user would not be able to discover specific information in the text efficiently right off hand.
With having read through the text, and to the best of my grammar knowledge, I see no major errors or typos.
The text is appropriately inclusive and culturally sensitive.
As an Adult Education Instructor without access to textbooks in the classroom for my students, it is especially helpful to have access to a college level textbook that discusses the basics of grammar and writing my students will need very soon. Instead of having to make copies that will get thrown away or lost, I can give my students the link to this text and assign them specific sections to read before each lesson. As I will soon be teaching a college-level English 101 as well, I am excited to have this text as a supplement to the department-required text.
Reviewed by R.A.Q. Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Southern University and A&M College on 6/20/17
One of this text's advantages is its comprehensiveness. However, I find that too much emphasis was placed on writing basics, which in fact, comprises the bulk of the text. While this portion is extensive, I found the chapter on rhetorical modes... read more
One of this text's advantages is its comprehensiveness. However, I find that too much emphasis was placed on writing basics, which in fact, comprises the bulk of the text. While this portion is extensive, I found the chapter on rhetorical modes lacking. For example, Narration was covered in four pages. I would have preferred more emphasis on basic features of each mode, guided writing practice, and illustrations/visuals (annotated sample essays). The text does not include a glossary or index, which are additional disadvantages. Overall, however, I find this text effective.
The content appears accurate and error-free.
The overall content is foundational, so relevance is not an issue. Formatting and style guides, URLs, and sample essays can be readily updated as needed.
Besides its comprehensiveness, a highlight of the text is its clarity. The writing directly addresses the student much more so than other texts I have used. The conversational tone, especially in the early chapters, should engage even the most reluctant writer. Many of the tips and advice provided serve to assist students beyond the composition course into the whole of their academic career and the workplace. This is definitely a student-friendly text.
Chapters are consistently organized throughout and feature learning objectives, exercises, collaborative activities, and key takeaways, which should be particularly helpful for students. Several of the exercises require students to revisit and revise a previous exercise, as new skills and knowledge are acquired.
This text is suitable for modules, which would allow instructors to organize chapters according to the demands of the course and student's needs. Much of this text's early chapters would serve as much needed review and guided practice for students, since more so than other texts I have used, this one provides in-depth coverage of basic writing skills. Chapters 10-15 should meet the needs of most first year writing programs.
The text is well-organized. However, the sample essays (ch. 15) would have been better placed after the rhetorical modes chapter (ch. 10). The strength of the text's organization are the chapters on writing a research paper and visual presentations.
I downloaded the PDF version and had no significant problems with the interface. The only issue I did have was after clicking a hyperlink then attempting to return to the text, I was redirected to the beginning. This may be an inconvenience for some.
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
The text refrains from cultural insensitivity. Several of the examples, grammar exercises, and sample readings were inclusive of various kinds of diversity. In particular, a text's sample essays plays a crucial role in my overall satisfaction, as I expect to see culturally relevant essays that may resonate with my students. This text included commonly used standbys, such as King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail and Alexie's Indian Education.
Reviewed by William Broussard, Assistant Professor, English, Southern University on 6/20/17
The book covers the writing process, several essay styles, as well as grammar and syntax exercises thoroughly without being intimidating, and is excellently paced. Particularly impressive is the amount of detail given to the sentence, paragraph,... read more
The book covers the writing process, several essay styles, as well as grammar and syntax exercises thoroughly without being intimidating, and is excellently paced. Particularly impressive is the amount of detail given to the sentence, paragraph, punctuation, and the particulars of the writing process.
The book accurately describes, in great detail, all elements of the writing process. Combines all elements of a traditional handbook with specific reference to the rhetorics of several essay styles, and does so in an encouraging manner. Aim is clearly to encourage non-English/Writing majors.
Content appears up-to-date, and of note is a section on presentations and visual rhetorics which will be useful and likely interesting to contemporary students. Book is light on visual imagery, making it less appealing to contemporary/millennial students, but its structure seems amenable to relatively easy updating, and all links were accurate.
The book is clear and provides many examples of student writing to explain the application of material discussed in each chapter.
The book moves along at a predictable pace and begins with building blocks of writing (sentence and paragraph style, punctuation, process) before moving on to more complex assignments. By Chapter 15, which focuses on a number of essay styles, the student has had individual chapters to prepare each step of building an essay, ensuring mastery before taking on more complex projects.
It is simple to imagine this textbook divided into two parts so as to encompass an English 1 and English 2 textbook, and to imagine teaching the introductory elements while interspersing major assignments from Chapter 15 alternatingly.
Well-organized, and as mentioned previously, it is excellently paced with each ensuing chapter building logically upon the previous one.
The book is lacking only in this area. The pdf version features noticeably few visual images and pictures, and very few links for students to interact with supplementary materials to the text. However, the author provides a link for the submission materials which shows an openness to addressing it. However, what is included is accurate and appropriate.
No perceived grammatical or spelling errors. Simple and clear writing style.
Text is inoffensive, but lack of visual texts or discussion of more challenging contemporary topics (the book does not include any sample texts by contemporary authors on challenging issues).
An excellent choice for introductory writing courses.
Reviewed by Emily Aucoin, Assistant Professor, River Parishes Community College on 6/20/17
The textbook effectively covers the writing process and addresses mechanical and grammatical concerns. While the chapter devoted to rhetorical modes is not terribly in depth, it does an adequate job of introducing and explaining each type of... read more
The textbook effectively covers the writing process and addresses mechanical and grammatical concerns. While the chapter devoted to rhetorical modes is not terribly in depth, it does an adequate job of introducing and explaining each type of writing assignment. The research section of the text is effective, but the MLA references are dated. There also is a detailed table of contents but no glossary.
The textbook's content seems accurate, error-free, and unbiased.
For the most part, the content seems relevant and long-standing. The main area in need of updating is MLA, but linking to an outside website could quickly remedy this problem.
The book is written in a straight-forward, clear manner that should be readily understood by most freshmen-level students. The embedded exercises and tips also are accessible.
The included terminology is clear and consistent, as well as appropriate for the subject matter. The chapters also follow a logical framework and reinforce material through exercises and relevant examples.
The textbook easily can be divided into smaller, stand-alone reading sections. Instructors should be able to readily assign portions of the text to meet their course learning outcomes and objectives.
Overall, the textbook is well organized; it effectively addresses key elements of grammar and mechanics, walks students through the writing process, and details various types of writing. While I would like to see Chapter 10 (Rhetorical Modes) divided into separate, better detailed chapters, on the whole, the textbook's organization is logical.
The textbook was easy to follow, particularly because of the detailed table of contents and chapter outlines. Some links also were included throughout to help readers more easily navigate the text.
The text seems free of grammatical errors.
The text does not seem culturally insensitive or offensive. Some of the linked essays in Chapter 15, for example, provide students with readings that are culturally diverse.
On the whole, this is an effective, comprehensive resource that could be of use in any freshman-level composition course.
Reviewed by Genevieve Halkett, Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 4/11/17
The book is extremely comprehensive, beginning with the concept of college writing, moving on to writing basics such as sentence structure, punctuation, and paragraph structure. it provides a good guide to essays; it includes basic structure,... read more
The book is extremely comprehensive, beginning with the concept of college writing, moving on to writing basics such as sentence structure, punctuation, and paragraph structure. it provides a good guide to essays; it includes basic structure, rhetorical modes, research and documentation and ten different types of model essays.
The index is complete and easy to follow.
There are a few typographical errors but the majority of the 607-page resource was accurate.
There was no real bias though I would like to see more cultural variety in the literary excerpts and situations used in the exercises.
Most of the resource focuses on writing and grammatical structure; there may be small changes that need to be made as the use of the English language evolves; however, this will be negligible. I anticipate this text requiring very few changes in years to come.
it is well laid-out and easy to follow. The explanations, examples, and directions are clear and concise. It is also written with both native and English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) speakers in mind; the word choice and structure reflect this.
The text's framework and terminology are consistent; I did not see any examples of inconsistency.
This resource lends itself to a modular approach; it would be easy for an instructor to relevant chapters that reflect student needs, course time constraints, or changes within a curriculum.
The resource's is consistent overall; each chapter begins with learning objectives, explanation, examples, exercises, and key takeaways. It is a good resource for students since they are quickly able to anticipate and follow each chapter.
This resource was quite simply designed; there are no charts or images that would lead to confusion. Enough space is given so that blocks of text are read without difficulty and it is free of distraction.
Since it is a writing textbook, I was gratified to find that the grammatical structure and use was very accurate.
I would definitely have like to have seen more examples of the races, ethnicities, and backgrounds I encounter in class; most of the examples used were extremely neutral and reflected a very narrow strata of society. For me, this was the weakest part of the text.
This is an excellent resource-well structured, user friendly and easily adaptable. My main concern-the lack of cultural relevance- can be balanced by providing supplementary materials reflective of the learners' cultures and backgrounds.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Sandell, Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato on 4/11/17
Provides instruction in steps and sections; builds writing, reading, and critical thinking; and combines comprehensive grammar review with paragraph writing and composition. Provides a range of discussion ideas, examples, and exercises. Serves... read more
Provides instruction in steps and sections; builds writing, reading, and critical thinking; and combines comprehensive grammar review with paragraph writing and composition. Provides a range of discussion ideas, examples, and exercises. Serves both students and instructors. 600+ pages -- very comprehensive.
Quite accurate in terms of the information provided. Uses sources that we use in my writing-intensive classes, so the book is addressing real needs in the classroom. Suggestions reinforce the concepts and practices that our librarians share with students and instructors.
Thought-provoking scenarios provides opportunities for collaboration and interaction. The exercises are especially useful for working with groups of students, which is how I organize workshops and discussions in my classes. Tips for effective writing are included in every chapter. It's nice to have positive examples of how to write, rather than dwelling on negative examples of how not to write. Addresses each concept with clear, concise,and effective examples that are reinforced with opportunities to demonstrate learning. This textbook will be useful for students throughout their academic studies.
Very clear. Clear exercises teach sentence and paragraph writing skills that I already try to emphasize in my classes. I will use many of the exercises, but base them on the content of my course curriculum, instead of generic assignments.
Provides consistent and constant reinforcement through examples and exercises about writing. Involves students in the learning process through reading, problem-solving, practicing, and experiences in the processes of writing.
Modularity rating: 2
Each chapter is stand-alone and easy to read on-line or to print and read off-line. Each chapter has examples that organize the discussion and form a common basis for learning.
Overall, the organization, structure, and flow is fine. Textbook is more than 600 pages, which makes it more of a reference / resource book. I will pull materials that I need for my specific writing-intensive course.
Presents comfortable, easy-to-read material with simple graphics and helpful charts. The Table of Contents does not allow the reader to jump directly to the chapter or section.
The text contains no grammatical errors that I found... If there had been a few mistakes, I would still use the text as a resource.
I am starting to use the idea of the academy as a culture. So, in the writing-intensive course I teach about human relations in a multicultural society, I emphasize how student writing in college must be qualitatively different than writing in secondary schools. I am delighted that this text begins with an introduction to that very idea. Word choices in the text imply inclusion of a variety of ethnic groups and audience backgrounds (e.g., Malik, Miguel, Elizabeth).
I will use this book in a second-year general education writing-intensive course. This resource is useful and friendly, although it is very long. With its incremental approach, the text addresses a wide range of writing levels and abilities. I think students will appreciate it as a resource that they can use throughout their academic life.
The text would also be valuable in a first-year intro-to-college course (we call it First Year Experience), because it teaches many useful academic study practices. For first-generation college students, this text introduces many strategies about how to "do college" with which their families may not be familiar.
Reviewed by Leann Gertsma, Adjunct English Instructor, Minnesota West Community & Technical College on 2/8/17
I was surprised to find this textbook to be a very comprehensive writing handbook. It not only covers grammar and sentence structure, but also devotes a lot of time to the topics of college writing, the writing process, writing techniques, and... read more
I was surprised to find this textbook to be a very comprehensive writing handbook. It not only covers grammar and sentence structure, but also devotes a lot of time to the topics of college writing, the writing process, writing techniques, and essay types. All the sections are clearly labeled with useful exercises to guide students through the material. I appreciated the hyperlinks throughout to navigate to other related sections. One area that seemed to be lacking was the table of contents in each new chapter. These pages were not enabled with hyperlinks and failed to have page numbers associated with them.
I felt this text was accurate. It contains good information for first year writing students. I did not see any bias or errors throughout.
While I did find most of the information current and very relevant to writing students, some of the links in the last chapter did not work. As websites continually change, these would need to be updated on a regular basis. The research chapters would also need to be updated on a regular basis as these materials change frequently.
I found the textbook to be clear. The prose was adequate for first year composition students. There are many examples in the chapters that are relevant to the readers and help put the concepts into practical application.
This textbook is consistent in language, tone, and structure.
The textbook is arranged in an easy to use fashion. The chapters have easy to follow headings, and the key concepts are highlighted. All the chapters are arranged in a similar manner with objectives, lessons, examples, exercises, and key takeaways. Instructors can easily assign specific sections or chapters, while skipping others without confusion. I think the APA and MLA chapter should be split into two chapters to avoid confusion.
The topics are arranged in a clear structure throughout the text. I would have liked to see the chapters arranged in a different format, but this is a minor problem as the instructor can assign the chapters in a different order than they are presented.
This textbook was easy to navigate. The only concern I saw with this was the several of hyperlinks in the final chapter did not work anymore.
I did not find any errors in the text.
I did not see any insensitive or offensive language in the text.
I liked the example papers in the text. However, I wish there were more of them. I also found the chapter on APA and MLA a bit confusing. Students often struggle with these concepts so I think they should have been presented differently. The two styles should not be lumped together in one chapter. They should be separated.
Reviewed by Timothy VanSlyke, Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 2/8/17
Although there is no index or glossary, I feel that the text is very comprehensive in its coverage of developmental writing. The text clearly walks the student through the writing process and introduces the major rhetorical styles students will... read more
Although there is no index or glossary, I feel that the text is very comprehensive in its coverage of developmental writing. The text clearly walks the student through the writing process and introduces the major rhetorical styles students will face in college. It is clear that the author has worked extensively with the population(s) likely to have need of this course and has planned a comprehensive curriculum to serve them. Having worked extensively with students needing to develop their academic writing skills, I found it very straightforward to adopt the text and align it with my course outcomes.
Content is definitely error free and unbiased. I haven't found any errors or content that struck me as biased or inaccurate.
I think this book will be relevant for quite some time as the need for students to communicate effectively in writing is not going to change. The organization of the text lends itself to updating quite well. For example, the sections devoted to grammar and mechanics, the writing process, and rhetorical styles may need little or no updating, while over time, the sections devoted to research writing (e.g. MLA style) might need more revision.
Given that this book is intended for developing writers, I feel clarity is essential. Too much jargon would scare away students who may already feel overwhelmed. This book strikes an excellent balance between communicating important concepts and terms without being overly technical. Good examples of this can be found in the sections on grammar and mechanics as well as in the rhetorical modes section.
The organization of the book easily lends itself to easy navigation, chapters are divided into logical sections (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) and each section follows a consistent format. There are recurring sections that are color coded (exercises in blue boxes, "key takeaways" in green boxes) and the numbering system is clear and logical. The only downside is that the downloadable PDF version of the book doesn't have a table of contents, but I found that if your pdf reader can show bookmarks, there are bookmarks to each of the sections.
This book is very modular. Each chapter is divided into sub-sections (chapter 1.1, 1.2, etc) and the sections are logically divided and lend themselves to easy be assigned as separate readings.
The structure of the text is logical and clear, but what I like most is that the chapters are not overly dependent on a linear flow, which allows me to assign chapters out of sequence without worrying that it will be disruptive to students.
I would describe the interface as quite user friendly. A quick skim of the online Table of Contents is all that is needed to understand the organization of the text and its major sections. Accessing each section is quite easy with the links provided.
One standout in this area is a complete chapter devoted to second language learners, which is quite useful for this population. Otherwise, I have found this to be an excellent resource that introduced students to the academic culture.
Overall I am very pleased with this text, and excited that I can offer my students a book of this quality completely for free!
Reviewed by Jennie Harrop, Chair, Department of Professional Studies, George Fox University on 2/8/17
Writing for Success is admirably comprehensive, but maybe a little too much so. While some professors will find the one-source stop helpful in reducing textbook costs, many students will be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information. Because... read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less
Writing for Success is admirably comprehensive, but maybe a little too much so. While some professors will find the one-source stop helpful in reducing textbook costs, many students will be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information. Because the text attempts to cover so much in a single volume, much of the information is offered at a surface level without the depth necessary for the content to become memorable and meaningful. Two key components that are missing in this text because of its surface-level scope are the WHY (why is this information relevant?) and the HOW (how do I apply this?).
Most information is accurate, although some is not thorough enough. When explaining the dash or parentheses, for example, it might be helpful for students to hear when and why these punctuation marks are most effectively used. If a student masters the use of parentheses as described in section 3.6, should he or she pepper an essay with lots of parenthetical asides? If not, why not?
In the section on APA formatting, the title page running heads are not correct.
The key information in the text will not become outdated, although the examples and the sample texts will. The book would benefit from consistent updates to ensure that the examples are culturally sensitive and generationally appropriate. The APA and MLA sections will also need consistent updates.
The prose is clear, but the information covered is not always. In section 5.2 titled "Negative Statements," for example, students are told that negative statements are the opposite of positive statements, but the text does not explain why this information is worth considering. In section 5.6 titled "Modal Auxiliaries," the text moves immediately to examples and exercises without an explanation of why this information might be pertinent or useful.
The terminology and framework presented are consistent throughout.
The text is consistently broken into individual chunks of information rather than meandering prose, which can be enormously helpful for students. Some sections jump directly into the modular chunks of examples and exercises without bothering with any explanatory sections at all, however. In those cases, students need some kind of explanation of why the information presented is important and relevant.
The text's organization is consistent and easy to navigate. The information is presented in divisions familiar to most writing texts: (1) mechanics, (2) writing process, and (3) sample essays.
The Table of Contents is a helpful feature, allowing one to skip through topics easily. I was unable to download this text in a way that would allow me to highlight or make notes.
The grammar is correct throughout.
The examples used are culturally sensitive but mostly bland in a way that makes them forgettable and unimpactful. If cultural relevance means that we whitewash, this text is successful; if it means that we step into the controversy, then the examples in this book need to be more forthright and genuine.
I have used this book in a basic writing course, and I found the students informed but uninspired. I will continue to require this text as a reference books for all students in our program, but I will seek a more lively text for future writing courses in order to keep students engaged, enthusiastic, and forward-thinking.
Reviewed by Sherri Kurczewski, Instructor , Portland Community College on 12/5/16
This book has sections that I would cover in my class. It is a basic writing tool for beginner writers in college. read more
Comprehensiveness rating: 1 see less
This book has sections that I would cover in my class. It is a basic writing tool for beginner writers in college.
Overall the book is accurate. It goes over the basic differences of high school vs. college writing with additional grammar explanations and exercises.
This book is for a basic writing class for students who are underprepared for college level writing.
The book was written very direct to the beginning college writer. The tables help explain the differences in high school vs. college writing.
The consistency of the book was good. There was not a lot of terminology that would be over the students understanding.
The book is good at putting each section together. There are small, yet informative grammar sections. An instructor may skip over some chapters without confusing the student.
The organization of the book seems fine. It has the basic ideas of writing and then leads to grammar.
There were no issues with navigation of this file.
I did not see any errors in grammar.
This is a straightforward book without many examples. I did not see any issues.
I would definitely use this book in my basic writing class. It is a quick read and I could easily pull out sections to use and compare.
Reviewed by Anna Erwert, Adjunct faculty, Portland Community College on 8/21/16
The book is extremely comprehensive. If a college works on a 10-week quarter, it's unlikely a student would use the whole book. However, I personally like this completeness because it allows flexibility. Whole class, we could use the chapter on... read more
The book is extremely comprehensive. If a college works on a 10-week quarter, it's unlikely a student would use the whole book. However, I personally like this completeness because it allows flexibility. Whole class, we could use the chapter on the writing process, and then after essay 1, I could assess writers and assign them portions of the sentence level and grammar sections as needed. Also the most common writing errors, like comma splices and frags, are covered and include exercises.
With a decade plus teaching college Writing and Reading, I feel the book is accurate in the sense that it covers what students actually need. I did not see bias. It is very concise and matter-of-fact.
It's relevant eternally, but one caveat: most colleges are moving toward supporting Reading and Writing in one class. Integration of reading skills would be a way to keep this book fresh.
Very little jargon. Everything is well defined, though I do think more examples and samples would be nice. However: this is an easy section for the individual instructor to augment.
This is my favorite part of the book. It is way more inclusive than we could use in one quarter, but I could assign grammar or sentence level stuff with flexibility, as needed. I could also do the whole book in reverse (sometimes I like to start big, then move to smaller concerns)or present only the Research section for a Reading class.
Very logical but also easy to manipulate logically
There isn't anything confusing about it. I don't think it is the most engaging, exciting design in the world, but perhaps that is not the goal here. More pictures though, sorry- it is a visual age- would be welcome. Still, instructors could add in pics, slides, video, etc.
I saw no errors
The book is geared more to the college student, not the particular culture or gender. In some ways this is a relief to me, as I am trying to work with topics that bring us together, like say, the cost of college, as opposed to those that fragment us, like racial profiling. In a ten week course in one of the most diverse campuses in the PCC system, this is becoming very important. In this sense, the book fits.
Super useful framework. Teachers will augment with samples, interactive activities, visual aids, etc., but that makes it better for your specific audience anyway.
Reviewed by Olga Filatova, Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University on 8/21/16
I was surprised by how much useful content the book has. It covers everything I would need to teach in a first year college composition writing class. The text gives overview of reading and writing strategies, and covers everything from grammar,... read more
I was surprised by how much useful content the book has. It covers everything I would need to teach in a first year college composition writing class. The text gives overview of reading and writing strategies, and covers everything from grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, sentence structure, elements of composition and writing process, to rhetorical modes and elements of research. It has so much material, that it can be adjusted to a wide range of students' needs and writing abilities. Parts of the book can be used as a reference. The book is very much in line with my course goals, and is particularly effective in helping students with writing in a variety of genres, introducing a clear thesis statement and sustaining it throughout the paper with support and evidence. It also has good tips for reading, writing and editing. However, I didn't find the section for language learners helpful. I teach composition to international students, and would definitely skip the chapter. The concepts in the chapter are not well-explained and application exercises are insufficient. This chapter can be used as a reference for instructors who don't usually work with LLs.
The content is accurate. I didn't find the readings particularly engaging, but they are good for structure analysis. The links to additional essays provide opportunities to choose more engaging reading material.
Writing foundation principles are solid. MLA and APA citation and formatting would need most often updates. The link to Purdue OWL solves this problem.
The book is written in a very clear manner. However, some of the explanation might be too long and lack sufficient examples.
The book is very consistent. I would rearrange the chapters and start with the writing process. Grammar, vocabulary and punctuation can be in a reference section of the book.
The text is divided into chapters and sections. Each of the chapters follows the same structure. The chapters have clear learning objectives, subtitles and exercises for practical application. The main points are summarized at the end. Students would have no trouble navigating the content.
The topics are presented in a logical way. As I mentioned above, I would rearrange the chapters in the book. The way the chapters are arranged now puts the emphasis on developmental writing vs rhetorical practices.
The books interface is very good.
The book is excellently written. I didn't see any grammar errors.
The book is culturally relevant. It focuses on American culture. It lacks elements of global cultural awareness, but it is good enough for the purposes.
Thank you for the book. It is very good. I will use it with my students next semester!
Reviewed by Laura Funke, Instructor, Inver Hills Community College on 8/21/16
The text is almost too comprehensive—trying to cover writing, reading, and study skills strategies. Within writing, it covers grammar, mechanics, paragraph writing, essay writing, ELL troublespots, and even documentation. Although an instructor... read more
The text is almost too comprehensive—trying to cover writing, reading, and study skills strategies. Within writing, it covers grammar, mechanics, paragraph writing, essay writing, ELL troublespots, and even documentation. Although an instructor could easily focus on specific chapters based on the level of the class and needs of the students, the effort to be comprehensive led some areas to be overly simplistic and basic. For example, in the section on writing introductions, there is a list of strategies for starting the essay (the hook or attention grabber) but not much direct instruction or modeling. In other words, quality was sometimes sacrificed for quantity.
From my experience, the content of the book was accurate in most areas, but some advice was simplistic. For example, telling English language learners to avoid slang and idioms is wrong. What often makes ELLs’ writing awkward is the lack of idioms. The advice to avoid slang might be better for a chapter for native English speakers. In the same ELL section, the author stated that simple present is used “when actions take place now” but that is not the case. Present progressive verbs are used for the current moment (“Right now, I am writing a review.”) These inaccuracies happened on occasion, but in general, the advice and information given by the writer was accurate.
The text can be easily updated because of the modular organization. The topics used for examples or exercises would benefit from regular updating. Some topics are engaging for students, but others would not be for most students (such as ‘the hardiness of the kangaroo rat’).
The text is written in using clear, accessible language that is appropriate to first year college students. New terms are explained clearly and put in bold letters. It might be helpful to put key terms and definitions in margins, as many textbooks do, or at least consider an index and glossary at the end of the book.
I didn’t notice any inconsistencies in framework or terminology.
The text is structured in such a way that instructors and students can pick and choose among relevant chapters. There are references to prior chapters, but the text doesn't assume that students have read the text from front to back. Students can easily refer back to prior chapters when more background is needed or if additional follow-up instruction is needed. One recommendation would be to include the chapter and section number on each page in a footer or header.
The information flows logically for the most part. The book begins with a broad overview of writing and student success strategies. Then it moves from sentences, to paragraphs, to essays, to research papers. One section that seemed out of place was to include 'purpose, audience, and tone' in the chapter on paragraph writing. It would seem to be a topic that could use its own chapter. I also felt that chapter 7 on sentence variety was misplaced after paragraph writing. Still, I appreciated that the author circled back to some topics briefly even if they were covered in more detail in another chapter. For example, the author discusses wordiness and word choice in the chapter on revision even though those topics were discussed in an earlier chapter. Imbedding some sentence-level concerns into the chapters on paragraph or essay writing helps students to see the relevance of the sentence-level instruction.
Occasionally an informal font is used to show student examples of writing. This playful font is difficult to read (see p. 233). It would be better to use a standard font like Times New Roman to make the text easier to read. Also, the book is very text-heavy. There are few to no engaging photographs or images for readers. Even though it is clearly organized with headings, subheadings, bold words, and other organizational devices which are very helpful, it is not visually engaging. There is a nice use of internal links. In one section, chapter 6.2 p. 247-248), the directions prior to three model paragraphs said “The topic sentence is underlined for you” but I didn’t see any underlining. I don’t know if that is an error in the text or a problem with my own computer.
I noticed no grammatical errors when reviewing the text.
The text is not culturally insensitive. However, I wouldn’t say that the writing samples are particularly engaging or daring in terms of challenging the status quo. Most of the topics are standard examples: “How to grow tomatoes from a Seedling,” “Effects of Video Game Addiction” and “Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington D.C.” I would like to see more creative and engaging course readings in the text, readings that address the interests and backgrounds of culturally- and linguistically-diverse students.
The practice exercises are often very engaging and creative. For example, p. 287 the author explains an exercise in which students rewrite children stories (written using simple prose) with more complex syntactical structures to practice sentence complexity and variety. Most all exercises are practical and student-friendly. The text doesn’t get bogged down with excessive use of exercises; instead, students’ own writing is often the basis of the exercises, making them relevant to developing their own writing skills.
Though I appreciate the author’s efforts at comprehensiveness and detail, I found the text quite dry. With more visuals, updated course readings, and perhaps an updated format that isn’t so text-heavy, the text would be more engaging for students.
Reviewed by Jennifer von Ammon, Full-time faculty, Lane Community College on 8/21/16
The text is primarily focused on grammar review and would be an appropriate text for a development writing course. Although there are several chapters dedicated to mechanics, there are limited essay assignment options, so an instructor would need... read more
The text is primarily focused on grammar review and would be an appropriate text for a development writing course. Although there are several chapters dedicated to mechanics, there are limited essay assignment options, so an instructor would need to craft engaging essay assignments to supplement the lessons.
The book appears accurate and unbiased.
Content seems fairly up-to-date though some of the suggested topics were somewhat overused (abortion, legal drinking age). Inclusion of different learning styles (visual, verbal, auditory, kinesthetic) is relevant.
The text is written clearly and has helpful headings/subheadings to organize material. Incorporating more images/illustrations could have enhanced the text.
The book is consistent in tone and structure.
The text could be assigned into smaller reading sections. I appreciated the "key takeaways" at the close of each chapter.
Though I appreciated the comprehensive coverage of grammar/sentence structure/mechanics, I would have liked to have seen the text incorporate writing assignments earlier in the text.
The text is clearly presented with headings/subheadings, but including more images may make the text more engaging for students.
The text appears to have no grammatical errors.
I did not find the text insensitive or offensive though some of the topics and references seemed somewhat outdated (MTV).
Reviewed by Paul Carney, English Instructor, Minnesota State Community and Technical College on 8/21/16
The text covers all the essentials of college composition, from the writing process and mechanics to rhetorical modes and the research paper. The material devoted to grammar, punctuation and usage is well organized and fairly thorough. While very... read more
The text covers all the essentials of college composition, from the writing process and mechanics to rhetorical modes and the research paper. The material devoted to grammar, punctuation and usage is well organized and fairly thorough. While very brief, the sub-divided units on punctuation could be more developed. That said, too much textual explanation and not enough modeling can be a real turn off for students struggling with these mechanical issues. One cannot defer to the text for teaching. The rhetorical modes are equitably covered, though persuasion might welcome more attention and development. For a basic college composition text, this text certainly suffices.
The information is accurate and consistent with language arts standards for bias and equity. However, the example essays in the back could be more reflective of cultural and class diversity.
The writer does a fine job of using examples (exercises, models, examples, etc.) relevant to students in the near future. With supplemental readings and other OERs, this text will withstand expiration of content for at least three years.
The book's clarity is, perhaps, its greatest strength. The writer is keenly aware of his/her audience, college students who approach writing with an array of aptitudes and attitudes. Chapter 1, for instance, "Introduction to Writing," begins a foundational conversation with the reader, a conversation suitable to and supportive of most college students. The sentence complexity is appropriate for the audience. Also, student readers will appreciate the inclusion of "Tips" for building clarity.
The text is consistent in terms of utilizing and referencing terminology and other sections of the book.. The writer consistently uses and revisits key concepts and terminology (grammar, sentence structure, paragraph development, unity, etc.), reminding the reader that writing is a recursive process involving strategic "layering" of ideas and skills.
Each chapter in Writing for Success can "stand alone" if necessary. Oftentimes, in the interest of responding to differentiated learning styles, instructors must isolate and prescribe content for students' individual writing challenges. This text lends itself to easy access to subheadings for particular reference and reinforcement.
I do appreciate the inclusion of exercises at the end of chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5.
The text's organizational format may be its greatest and only notable weakness. The book begins with a thorough, thoughtful introduction to the writing process by citing fears and misconceptions commonly held by college students. This section of the book is critical to establishing a casual but accurate understanding of the writing process. Then, rather abruptly, succeeding chapters shift to local writing issues relating to writing basics - fragments, punctuation, sentence fluency. Typically, and I would argue more logically and appropriately, these localized writing matters should appear in the back of the text for easy access and reference. Logically, the chapter(s) following the discussion of the writing process should launch the student into the writing process itself.
I had initially downloaded the pdf version of the text, thinking that was the one and only interface for accessing, reading and utilizing the text. However, in a later attempt I was able to access a digital version that is quite easy to navigate. I like the ever-present position of the table of contents for easy point-and-click navigation. The chapters line up sequentially and the display is reader-friendly.
The style and mechanics reflect mastery of grammar and usage.
Again, I would point to the example essays as evidence of shallow (not necessarily insensitive) attention to cultural and class diversity. Were I to use this text, I would supplement the example essays with models reflective of wider cultural experiences (class, gender, race, LGBT).
Writing for Success is what it says it is, a book that provides essential instruction in how to approach and embark on the writing process. It provides a basic review of grammar and usage that probably would require additional instruction and opportunities for practice. A college writing instructor who usually defaults to his or her favorite and reliable "bag of tricks" would find this open text very useful for foundational instruction.
Thanks for this opportunity to review an open text in the Creative Commons.
Reviewed by William Wells, Instructor, Metropolitan State University on 8/21/16
This book covers all the topics I would normally cover in a first year composition course and more. I would like to see an effective, preferably interactive, Table of Contents and a glossary. read more
This book covers all the topics I would normally cover in a first year composition course and more. I would like to see an effective, preferably interactive, Table of Contents and a glossary.
The content is extremely accurate and well-articulated.
This book will likely be useful until we communicate exclusively with emoticons. Necessary updates should be fairly easy to integrate.
Clear and well-written for its audience.
The text is generally consistent in tone and framework and uniformly consistent in terminology.
The text appears as of it would be easily adaptable as modules.
Some of the topics seem slightly out of place, but it has a clear structure.
The text appears to have several broken links, particularly in the beginning, in the .pdf version.
I had some questions about word usage--particularly the heading of "Dos" and "Don'ts" which, to my eye, looks funny. I would probably go with "Do's and Dont's."
The text does not seem culturally insensitive and makes an overt attempt to accommodate those students with differences in learning styles.
I will be giving it a try in my next class.
Reviewed by Michelle Robbins, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
Writing for Success includes all the topics I cover in a developmental writing class, plus a large chunk on research papers. It covers grammar and constructing paragraphs and essays in a comprehensive manner. For developmental writing, I did... read more
Writing for Success includes all the topics I cover in a developmental writing class, plus a large chunk on research papers. It covers grammar and constructing paragraphs and essays in a comprehensive manner.
For developmental writing, I did find that Chapter 2 was a bit light on the parts of speech. For instance, in one exercise students must identify adverbs and adjectives, but there is no real explanation of them first. However, the sentence practice in regard to subjects, verbs, and independent clauses was solid.
Chapter 6 on purpose, tone, audience, and content was excellent. I haven't seen those elements addressed in quite the same way (sometimes barely at all) in other textbooks I have used.
I was also pleased with the links to articles and essays. (More on this in relevance and cultural relevance.)
Content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased. The author includes a variety of links to additional readings and does an excellent job of covering different sides of an issue. For instance, he is sure to link to articles arguing both for and against the use of torture.
Because grammar, language, and writing change fairly slowly, the content here is relevant and lasting. Some articles may become dated, but those are easy to change. Many of them won't need to be replaced anyway because, regardless of their dates, they are still good examples (and, obviously, in writing and literature older works are critical to examine). One of the sample essays was written in 1994. Certainly our outlooks on the material has changed (the role of wives), but the piece is still a good (and creative) example of a definition essay--and fodder for discussion.
The text is clear and accessible for upper-level remedial students and still works for 100-level courses. The student examples are useful, but a few of them were not especially compelling or strong examples and could be replaced.
It is consistent. I thought the repetition of sections such as "writing at work" and "key takeaways" were helpful for students absorbing a lot of information.
The organization of sections made the text easy to follow. At first I thought it would be better organized by integrating the writing samples in the last chapter into the instructional chapters, but ultimately, I found that grouping the types of content (grammar in one area, writing instruction in one, samples in another, and so on) made accessing content easier--especially because they are also cross-referenced within the chapters.
Much of the time, I want my students to access different topics simultaneously, so I found the organization here to work fine. The chapters and sub-sections are clear, so it is easy to move between them.
I found the cross-referencing of sub-sections to be particularly helpful, as in the chapter on coordination: it refers back to the section on semi-colons and vice versa.
All worked well for me. All graphics were clear, and it was key to be able to magnify the student samples for better readability.
One significant issue is that many of the links to essay examples in Chapter 15 are dead.
I found no errors.
The links to outside sources included cultural variety (and were quite interesting!). Perhaps the examples within the text itself might show more variety.
I was especially impressed by the links to Chapter 15 examples (those that worked); there were blogs, poems, and magazine articles. The variety of source types and authors was excellent, and the pieces themselves were compelling.
Overall, Writing for Success was clearly written, useful, and fairly comprehensive. I would definitely use it in my developmental Writing 90 course. I can also envision using many sections for Writing 80.
Reviewed by Kelsea Jones, Adjunct Instructor, Treasure Valley Community College on 1/7/16
McLean's text is surprisingly comprehensive, covering topics from reading and study strategies, to grammar, to writing paragraphs and essays, to research. While some of this material would be spot-on for first year composition, I feel as though... read more
McLean's text is surprisingly comprehensive, covering topics from reading and study strategies, to grammar, to writing paragraphs and essays, to research. While some of this material would be spot-on for first year composition, I feel as though most of the strategies are more appropriate for developmental composition courses (like WR 115: Intro to College Writing in the Oregon system).
The major downside of this text is that there is no Table of Contents or index for this 600+ page book.
The information in the text appears to accurate, unbiased, and very detailed.
The text makes use of sentence and essay examples that are relevant and that will not have to be constantly updated. The main pieces of information in this text that would need to be updated are the APA and MLA style guides; however, both guides follow the most recent editions. Otherwise, the links provided in the text, such as those to the Purdue OWL, may need the most monitoring and updating.
The writing style of this text is accessible and conversational. Terms are introduced with examples, including some excellent graphic organizers, before they are used in the text, and the terminology is consistent throughout.
There is a consistent framework in each chapter: learning objectives are listed, information is presented with tips and examples, and the information is summarized in a "Key Takeaways" box.
The text is divided into chapters and sub-sections that could be divided into smaller reading sections or reorganized to fit individual course needs. Instructors could take or leave any of the content without confusing their students.
The text is organized so that students can build upon their skills, from reading and studying all the way to researching and making presentations; in that way, it is a clearly organized and structured text. However, this organization is what makes the text more appropriate for developmental writing courses than first year composition courses. The reading, studying, and grammar sections of the text could easily be organized into appendices at the back of the book to act as supplemental material rather than the meat of the text.
Interface rating: 2
There are a few confusing interface issues with this version of the text: 1) None of the paragraphs are indented, which makes skimming the text difficult. 2) The learning objectives and tips in the text are set off in a light gray color that is easy to miss while scrolling through the pages; the blue and green colors chosen for the exercises and key takeaways are much easier to see and read. 3) Several headings for sections, tables, and figures are cut off from the information they introduce. 4) There are no clickable links in the text, table of contents, or index to aid navigation. 5) There is no title page for the text!
The text contains no apparent grammatical errors.
There was no content that was culturally offensive, but I also did not find the text to be particularly inclusive.
Overall, I found this text to be a good Open Educational Resource that offers a real wealth of information about college writing. For all of its interface problems, the text would be easy enough to adapt to either developmental composition courses or first year comp courses. I would recommend this text to instructors interested in using OERs in their classes.
Reviewed by Shawn Osborne, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
The text clearly covers all areas and ideas of the subject at this level and is well organized. A nice addition is that each chapter opens with Learning Objectives and closes with Key Takeaways. read more
The text clearly covers all areas and ideas of the subject at this level and is well organized. A nice addition is that each chapter opens with Learning Objectives and closes with Key Takeaways.
I found the content to be accurate, error-free, and unbiased.
The content is up-to-date and relevant. It is arranged in such a way that any necessary updates should be quite easy to implement.
The text is straight forward and clear.
The terminology and framework of the text is consistent.
The text can be divided into smaller reading sections easily.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear way.
There are no interface issues. The images/charts and other display features are well placed and bring clarity to the learning point.
There are no grammatical errors in the text.
The text is culturally relevant.
Chapter 5: Help for English Language Learners and Chapter 14: Creating Presentations are useful additions to the text. I also appreciate the links to further readings in Chapter 15 and believe this will be very beneficial for students.
Reviewed by Fran Bozarth, Adjunct Professor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
This book really covers it all so long as there is no need to address reading fiction - in fact, it has way more than I would be able to use in a term! However, it appears to be appropriate for a semester course, or for two terms of... read more
This book really covers it all so long as there is no need to address reading fiction - in fact, it has way more than I would be able to use in a term! However, it appears to be appropriate for a semester course, or for two terms of quarter-length courses.
Subjects are covered appropriately, although I don't know that students would find all of it particularly engaging - use of this material would be VERY reliant upon an effective, engaging instructor.
At our college we have the additional course goal of requiring some understanding of reading fiction, and an instructor utilizing this book would need to supplement for it.
While the Table of Contents is very clear, there is no index or glossary.
The content in this book is consistent with the goals of most Reading/Writing/Study Skills/College Success courses I have encountered. It seems to be error-free, and the author did a particularly good job of projecting no biases that I could detect.
The content related to this text has remained fairly static for decades, though there have been some developments in the past few decades regarding holding students more accountable for knowing their learning styles, and for constructing meaning with connections to their own experiences. This book addresses the basic, standard content, and nicely brings in opportunities for students to better understand themselves as learners. Again, this will depend heavily upon the instructor and their ability to engage students.
Some of the exercises and examples may become obsolete if there are any major technological changes in our society (for example, if email is suddenly abandoned in favor of something else.) However, I believe that such updates would be quite easy to implement given the use of a simple "Find & Replace" feature.
Clarity is a strong suit for this text. I did not locate any portion of the book that lacked clarity. Context was provided for examples of poor writing as well as for strong writing. Context was also provided for any specialized language.
The book is extremely consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The framework utilizes a "here is what you will learn" type of bulleted list, followed by sections that match the bulleted list, with examples where appropriate, and exercises at the end of the chapter. The end of the book includes not only a full-text example of each type of essay, but also provides links to additional examples written by often well-known and well-regarded authors.
The structure of the overall text is appropriate, and logical. I really appreciate that exercises aren't just randomly thrown in, as many published textbooks often do.
The text is easily readable, but I find that the layout of the pages can cause the text and sections to run together. More effective use of headings and subheadings would make this easier for students to follow. Additionally, there isn't an easily discernible break between chapters/sections. I would very much like to see more solid page breaks (title pages perhaps?) at the beginning of each chapter/section. Given the learning styles assessment at the beginning of the book, it would be appropriate to at least include some icons that match each section - for example the "Key Take Aways " could have a key icon. Some suggestions for students regarding how they can apply this using their unique learning styles might be helpful as well. Otherwise, that learning style information seems to be unrelated from the students' point of view.
The links in the PDF did not seem to work. I don't know if I need to consider looking at this material in a different format in order to use the in-text links. (In other words, I don't know if it's me or if it's the text or the technology or what....)
The topics in the text are presented in a very appropriate fashion, with concepts building in a logical way, one upon the next. Very nicely scaffolded!
The interface seemed to be working correctly. I was able to read everything, and things seemed to be correctly placed. I was not sure if the blue text was supposed to be linked. I was unable to click it and go to any links (which were typically references to other chapters within the text, so it wouldn't be impossible to locate those items - just tedious.)
The text appears to have been impeccably edited. All of the writing lesson content was modeled within the text. Items that were incorrect were clearly labeled as being examples of poor writing, or were clearly used for the purpose of applying identification and editing skills.
This text appears to be quite sterile when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Given the audience, the examples are typically American with some culturally diverse names thrown in. The examples given weren't particularly indicative of one race, ethnicity or background or another. In some ways, I am thankful for the lack of contrived cultural sensitivity. I didn't note anything that would create a barrier to culturally diverse populations, other than the assumptions that are made based upon american culture (such as the notion that we have all had a job at one time or another, or at least have some understanding of the concept of employment.)
This book has much to offer. The authors did an excellent job of including the content that is consistent with standard reading/writing/study skill content. I think it will be very workable and pliable for use by instructors who chose it.
Reviewed by Kimberly Gutierrez, Assistant Professor of English, Bismarck State College on 1/7/16
One of the classes I teach is a freshman composition writing lab that focuses on sentence level errors and sentence clarity. This is a super resource for that type of class. The book contains all sentence, grammar and mechanics concepts that are... read more
One of the classes I teach is a freshman composition writing lab that focuses on sentence level errors and sentence clarity. This is a super resource for that type of class. The book contains all sentence, grammar and mechanics concepts that are essential to teaching students to recognize and repair sentence-level errors. The Table of Contents clearly outlines all of the all of the component of the book. As far as being the main source for a first semester freshman composition class, if I used it, I would certainly supplement it with more readings, but for freshman composition sentence level instruction, this book is very thorough. My comprehensive rating reflects that particular focus.
The descriptions of the concepts are very detailed, and these descriptions are very accurate, explaining the concept with correct sample sentences.
Since the primary focus of this book is the grammatical concepts that impact sentence issues, the text will not necessarily need updating. Of course, MLA formatting guidelines do change, so these changes will will need to be updated within the book, but the general sentence concepts presented in the majority of the book will not soon become obsolete.
All portions of the book are very clearly presented. Grammar can be confusing to first semester freshman composition students, but the explanations are clearly presented. Examples are clearly connected to the grammar explanations.
Terminology is consistent within the text. Within the framework of a composition lab class, this text is consistent, covering all essential components covered in the course scope.
The clarity with how the concepts are presented in the Table of Contents allows instructors to pick and choose which the concepts will be presented and the order of presentation.
The book has a clear organizational flow (considering that I would use this book for a composition lab that has a sentence practice focus). The sentence concepts build logically on each other.
No interface issues occur when accessing the chapters, and there are no display features that distract the reader. The lessons are presented very clearly, and the practice exercises are easy to follow.
The grammar lessons are error free.
The practice sentences do not contain an culturally biased material.
This is a text that I would consider using for a composition lab course (sentence practice focus). I would also consider using the text for first semester freshman composition, but using the text for that type of course would require finding supplemental readings.
Reviewed by Brandy Hoffmann, English Instructor, Central Lakes College on 1/7/16
Writing for Success offers a variety of sections that could be extracted as resources/readings for a first year writing course. In other words, despite some weaknesses, this text serves the function of an OER, and parts of it could be utilized... read more
Writing for Success offers a variety of sections that could be extracted as resources/readings for a first year writing course. In other words, despite some weaknesses, this text serves the function of an OER, and parts of it could be utilized widely. Overall, I would not feel comfortable using this as a primary text to teach rhetorical modes, including argumentative research writing, but I would use it as a supplementary text.
Strengths: I found the coverage of the following subjects to be generally effective: the overall writing process; the revision process (with exercises, p. 470); the editing process (with exercises, p. 476); thesis development (with samples of weak/strong, Chapter 9); paragraphing and topic sentences (with models of different types of paragraphs--summary/analysis/synthesis/evaluation, Chapter 6); sentence fluency and variety (with exercises throughout Chapters 2 and 7); preliminary research and research proposals (Chapter 11); outlining (with samples, Chapter 8), and basic MLA and APA documentation, including an effective discussion of in-text citations on pp. 501-503.
I want to point out the overall usefulness of the exercises offered throughout this text (adding value to the text, since practical exercises for college writing instruction can be hard to come by). I also appreciated the beginnings of chapters, which effectively addressed the questioning student and established the context.
Weaknesses: Viewed as a whole, the text struggles in terms of audience and purpose, organization of content, and content selection and emphasis. The text emphasizes some extraneous subjects while understating other topics that would be important to many composition courses. For example, for a composition course built on rhetorical modes—narration, description, illustration, argumentation, etc.--this textbook offers only a short overview of each. It also offers a few models and links to outside readings, but it doesn't include anything on composing annotated bibliographies, rhetorical analysis essays, critical reviews, or literature reviews. There is an overview on how to write a research paper, but the discussion on how to integrate sources effectively - quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing - is somewhat weak, and the discussion of plagiarism is limited.
The text offers an extensive section on study skills (in chapter 1), which seemed misplaced in this text - unless it was modified to address study strategies for a writing course, specifically (for example, rather than models of lecture "note taking," how about models of research note-taking in chapter 11; and instead of comparing general high school and college assignments, compare writing assignments specifically). I would recommend an overall reorganization of the text, moving chapter 8 (writing process) toward the front, for example, while moving chapters 2 (sentences), 3 (punctuation), 4 (words), and 5 (ELL) toward the end--to emphasize higher order concerns, first; lower order concerns, second.
I appreciate the attempt to address workplace writing as well as academic or in-school writing, but I found the brief "Writing at Work" sidebars a bit forced, possibly distracting, and unnecessary (e.g. pp. 224-225; p. 348). The attempt to include a pseudo student to shed light on the subject is sometimes helpful (Mariah, Chapter 8) but sometimes forced and not developed enough to be useful (Crystal, Chapter 1). The brief bits on "collaboration" throughout the text could be deleted- not developed enough to be useful. There is no index or glossary, and in the PDF I was using there was no table of contents, though this is available elsewhere. Despite these weaknesses, there are many reasons to use this text, as outlined under "Strengths" above.
Overall, this is an accurate and unbiased text. There will always be subjectivity in the delivery of academic writing advice because of varying preferences and changing ideas about what is appropriate or inappropriate. I tend to disagree with the following suggestions or omissions offered in this text: suggestion (through models that indicate 3 points to support a thesis) that a 5-paragraph essay is still the go-to formula for college writing in (Chapter 9); suggestion that a thesis is always one sentence; suggestion that it's a good idea to search for a random quote for your introduction online (p. 361); omitting any reference to intentional sentence fragments; omitting idea that contractions can be used in academic writing (in certain instances); omitting clear attribution and documentation in the summary on p. 220 apart from the opening signal phrase--not the best summary sample; the suggestion that a topic sentence begins an essay or article (p. 233), which seems misleading.
Writing advice tends to be timeless, to an extent, so there aren't big concerns that the content will become outdated. The author avoided pop culture and current event references, which was smart. The only suggestion would be to modify the text to better address new challenges and innovations in writing genres/writing instruction - perhaps including a chapter on multimodal writing and online writing toward the end of the text. (The use of "trade books" in Chapter 1 seems outdated, not fully defined.)
Overall, I found the writing to be very effective - definitely student-friendly yet not patronizing and still sophisticated. The writer avoided convoluted, wordy prose, and wrote in a tone appropriately formal yet conversational and relatable.
Yes, despite the overall issues with content organization and selection, which I address elsewhere, I found the text to be internally conistent with terminology and framework.
Yes, this text is easily divisible into smaller reading assignment, given the breakdown of subsectios within each chapter and the inclusion of exercise sections, etc. There are some issues with headers/interface, depending on the version of the text used, addressed in interface section.The text did not seem self-referential.
As stated above, I would recommend an overall reorganization of the text, moving chapter 8 (writing process) toward the front, for example, while moving chapters 2 (sentences), 3 (punctuation), 4 (words), and 5 (ELL) toward the end--to emphasize higher order concerns, first; lower order concerns, second.
Including Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter is helpful, allowing easy alignment with course objectives; the "key takeaways" at the end of each chapter are also helpful.
Please note: I was evaluating a downloaded PDF version of the text, so experience may be different in a different mode. Throughout the text, headings/labels can be difficult to distinguish from one another, making it challenging to follow the hierarchy/logic of the text. The organization of the "Reading Strategies" section in Chapter 1 was a bit confusing, listing the "three broad categories" of strategies but then failing to organize section headings that aligned. On p. 10, I would recommend moving "Ask and answer questions" before "Summarize."
For the "tips" offered throughout the text, it would be helpful if they were labeled in some way (e.g. "Tips: Succeeding in Timed Writings," p. 34). I would suggest eliminating the "Writing at Work" sidebars but turning some of these into tips (e.g. "Tips: Emailing Your Professor," p. 17). The paragraph on p. 38 that lists all chapters seems unnecessary and overwhelming. In the discussion of the SQ3R Strategy on p. 12, it seems like these steps should be handled separately with headings. The four academic purposes in Chapter 6 should be obviously highlighted at the beginning of the section rather than listed in the middle of the paragraph without emphasis (p. 217). On p. 230, "6.12" is referenced but does not exist? Use of "for this assignment" on p. 461 seems misleading.
Also, the font size, heading placement, spacing, indenting, and bullet formatting are all a bit awkward throughout; the text could be cleaned up for improved design and readability, though these issues do not detract largely from the text's usability.
Please note: I was evaluating a downloaded PDF version of the text, so experience may be different in a different mode. I located a few interface issues in my reading of the text: On p. 238+ the text keeps referring to underlined topic sentences, but they are not underlined. On p. 244 the text refers to underlined transitional words, but they are also not underlined.
Certain references to other sections in the text are colored in a way that makes them seem as if you could click on a link and be carried to a different section of the text, but this didn’t function, at least not in the PDF that I had downloaded (such as “see Chapter 12 ‘Writing a Research Paper’” on p. 10).
It would be helpful if there was a repeat of the chapter title on the top of each page of the text.
I located the following dead links in the PDF that I downloaded:
http://www.sunywcc.edu/LIBRARY/research/MLA_APA_08.03.10.pdf http://www.writing.ku.edu/guides p. 546
http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/132320728102659810/lib/132320728102659810/_files/Alexie,_Sherman_-_Indian_Education_TEXT.rtf http://www.pfeonyx.com/alliance/IndianCollection/Alexie2.pdf p. 596
http://teachers.sduhsd.k12.ca.us/mcunningham/grapes/mother%20tounge.pdf http://learning.swc.hccs.edu/members/donna.gordon/sum-2010-engl-1301-5-wk-crn-33454/1301-reading-block-crn-33454/Tan_Mother%20Tongue.pdf http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2000/on_the_internet_theres_no_place_to_hide p. 602
http://api.ning.com/files/-3HiJ651xE-rSj4Q4WeH-*f0NQJGyoXgI8AR*3Rat-AyxVuVAgEE bfbuyGbTu9gpi7z3gT4jqd52W3fBsDRfFGgEgLxB5wO4/GetItRight.PrivatizeExecutionsArthurMiller.pdf p. 605
http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4e/content/cat_020/Brady_I_Want_a_Wife.pdf http://www.usd305.com/212720101692451310/lib/212720101692451310/20100429123836146.pdf p. 607
http://eec.edc.org/cwis_docs/NEWS_ARTICLES_JOURNALS/Laird_Ellen.pdf http://depedia.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=I%27m_your_teacher%2C_not_your_Internet-Service_Provider p. 609
http://depedia.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=I%27m_your_teacher%2C_not_your_Internet-Service_Provider http://www.alandershowitz.com/publications/docs/torturewarrants.html p. 613
The title and link has changed for article p. 598: should be http://www.newsweek.com/dark-side-web-fame-93505 List of "Sources" on p. 568 awkward too... not sure links are directing to intended spot.
I located a few mechanical/sentence-level errors: p. 2 in Preface, 2nd paragraph, the list with "instruction in steps, builds writing, reading, and critical..." could use semicolons for clearer listing/separation of items. p. 166 wording issue: "jargon a type" p. 202, 213, 275, 340, 366 spacing errors: "errors within, at and on"; "butit"; "thanswimming"; "Fencessymoblize"; "Writingis"; p. 208 lack of consistent periods at end of phrases in Table 5.16 p. 300 words/punctuation missing: "For example, for every Roman numeral I, there must be a For every A, there must be a B."
The text did not seem culturally insensitive or offensive and seemed usable by a wide audience of students.
I plan on using segments of this text in future writing courses, and I am grateful for the availability of OER texts like this one. So, despite any weaknesses addressed, this is still a valuable resource for faculty who are trying to lower the barriers to student success in their classrooms through the adoption of OER resources. I recommend the text, but study it carefully to determine how it will be used in your specific writing courses. It is probably best used as a supplementary text.
Reviewed by Michelle Cristiani, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
What I look for in a writing text at this level is flow from simple to complex: word placement and part of speech up through essays. This text follows that format beautifully. One glaring omission is fragment and run-on work. This is such a... read more
What I look for in a writing text at this level is flow from simple to complex: word placement and part of speech up through essays. This text follows that format beautifully. One glaring omission is fragment and run-on work. This is such a common issue at this level. I would also want to see more transition from sentence to paragraph, not just paragraph to essay. There are a couple of underdeveloped sections as the topics grow in detail: for example, nine rhetorical modes are discussed, which is a wide array, but within each section there is not much elaboration or examples. But overall, there are appropriate exercises after concepts are introduced. The text provides a solid framework for instructors to build upon as they see fit. The table of contents are easy to navigate and generally well-organized. I do find chapter 8 misplaced, though – it is titled ‘how do I begin.’ Because it describes the writing process from prewrite to edit it seems sensible to place it closer to the beginning. I especially appreciate the inclusion of research and citation – it is well-done.
The lessons and examples are true to the field. The structure mirrors most other texts in organization and usage. The research and citation sections are more-or-less current.
Longevity is easy to attain with this discipline because grammar/writing rules are tried and true...but the organization of this text makes it a true 'open' resource. One could update or mold portions into a larger discussion on grammar concepts like punctuation, or writing for description. The APA and MLA sections are vague enough as to not need much updates as the rules change. The links work. I see at least one MLA rule that has changed since 2009, but it's relatively minor, and easily updated.
Grammar-heavy texts can be tricky for students because there are so many labels, like 'rhetorical mode,' that they know the definitions of, but have not heard the terms themselves. This text keeps that jargon to a minimum, so that students can focus on the concept and not the vocabulary. Subject-verb agreement is the least accessible, but that is often difficult to explain for any text, and the exercises support the instruction. Parallelism could be defined more cleanly. The research section is quite clear. The learning objectives are clear enough as to be useful tools themselves.
Exercises are often post-concept and always post-chapter. Learning objectives are defined at the beginning of each section. Each section resembles the others, and for that reason can be easily modulated - but there are no clear cumulative assignments.
These chapters can stand alone quite easily. This works especially well for instructors like myself who teach grammar concepts side-by-side with writing concepts - they will pair closely in this model. The end-of-chapter exercises could easily be used as pretests as well as post-tests. Chapter 13 on research documentation is slightly self-referential, but the sections are unlikely to be taught separately and it doesn't feel overdone.
As previously mentioned, chapter 8 on getting started might be moved forward. Ideally the text would pair the writing process stages directly with modes, as they do change given the purpose...but since this might made the text less modular I understand the vision behind its generality. The reading examples might be closer to the chapter on modes, instead of at the end after research. Within chapters, flow is sensible and straightforward.
The layout and structure is simple and clean. Charts keep their shape even when window size is minimized. The clear table of contents is navigable by both scroll and click.
Grammar texts especially need to be spotless; I spotted no errors. Most importantly, there is consistency in structure and punctuation, for example in learning objectives from chapter to chapter.
Most important in this volume are the sample essay readings. Linked and cited authors include various time periods and controversial yet not sensitive topics. The text is to be commended for inclusion of essays from at least five different races and a variety of worldviews.
A solid framework and foundation for essay writing. The book could be used for a class specifically about writing, or as a companion to another course. Modules on research and citation are of specific relevance to a variety of content areas, and the extra essays in the final chapter can inspire debate and argument both in writing and verbal discussion.
Reviewed by Mary Sylwester, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
This textbook is amazingly comprehensive--probably more than any teacher actually wants. It covers strategies for success in college, reading, grammar, spelling, drafting, revising, thesis statements, and various rhetorical modes. Unfortunately,... read more
This textbook is amazingly comprehensive--probably more than any teacher actually wants. It covers strategies for success in college, reading, grammar, spelling, drafting, revising, thesis statements, and various rhetorical modes. Unfortunately, it does not include an index. The table of contents is fairly detailed, however.
The content is accurate: rules for spelling and punctuation and general rhetorical content are presented as any writing instructor would expect. More explanation about rules for grammar and punctuation would be nice: for example, the explanation of the dash is "to set off information in a sentence for emphasis." This is accurate, but not the whole story.
The main portions of this text will not become outdated. The section on readings, however, is already problematic. The book offers one reading example per mode, and then others as links. Just in a quick survey of links in two of the rhetorical modes, I found five that were no longer operational. To be fair, the book does try to get around that problem with multiple link sources for the same essay, but I found this strategy confusing, as it tends to look as if there are more readings available than actually are present. In the future, as with any textbook including readings, there will be a need to provide up-to-date topics.
I found the book very readable. There is little or no jargon. This book would be appropriate for a freshman in college.
The page design is consistent: examples and exercises are similarly formatted and easy to locate. The author uses fictional student names to illustrate how some principles might be applied in real life.
In the "Exercise" sections, the book does refer the studen to other parts of the chapters. All the examples I found, however, referred the student to sections within the same chapter and not out to other chapters of the book. For example, in the Exercises for Ch. 8, the instructions say: "Working in a peer-review group of four, go to Section 8.3 “Drafting” and reread the draft of the first two body paragraphs . . . ."
This book starts with strategies for success, which seems reasonable, but then has a giant section about sentence grammar & spelling before even getting to writing paragraphs. "Refining Your Writing" comes before "How Do I Begin?" which seems backwards. The topic of thesis statements does not come up until Chapter 9, which seems terribly late. If I were teaching from this text, I would probably skip from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6, and use Chapters 2-5 (grammar and spelling) as references.
The display seems fine: I read it online rather than downloading. One benefit to the online format is the search window at the top, which offers a kind of substitute for indexing.
The only problem I ran into was that several links to the readings in Chapter 15 were nonfunctional.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
Student example names used seem to cover a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but most are women's names. Readings cover a wide spectrum of ethnicities. For example, links to readings in the "Narrative Essay" section include Chicano, Russian Jewish, and Native American.
This is generally a well written textbook. However, there are two problems that instructors will encounter in using it: (1) it is not organized pedagogically, so instructors will need to consider the order of readings carefully, and not just move chapter by chapter through the book. (2) many links to readings are not functional, so instructors will need to be aware of that and either find new links or provide their own readings.
Finally, I have grave reservations about the ethics of using weblinks for essentially all the current readings in a textbook. I understand that using links in an online class for one-time readings is fine, but many of these links (especially those that remain functional) are to publications that have paying subscribers, such as The New Yorker. I would feel better about using a textbook that actually had permission to use other writers' work as a permanent fixture of the book.
Reviewed by Laura Sanders, Instructor, Portland Community College on 1/7/16
This text covers a range of topics students might need while building reading, critical thinking, research, and writing skills in developmental to upper division courses. read more
This text covers a range of topics students might need while building reading, critical thinking, research, and writing skills in developmental to upper division courses.
I see no evidence of inaccurate, erroneous, or biased content.
I believe it is safe to say that this book will be useful for a long time. While APA and MLA style may change and grammar rules may soften or transform, this book would be easy to update.
The book is accessible to students entering a course with various levels of academic preparation and experience.
Each chapter begins with learning objectives and ends with takeaways. Throughout each chapter, there are charts and exercises to clarify and emphasize key content.
Clearly marked sections focus on student success strategies, grammar and punctuation, and approaches to composition. Instructors could easily select the chapters most relevant to individual reading and writing courses at all levels.
The book is structured very well. It begins with reading strategies and helping students transition from a high school to college learning environment. It moves into sentence-level techniques, including specific areas for English language learners. The text also includes sections on the writing process, rhetoric, research, documentation, and presentation.
The text is easy to navigate.
I do not see any grammatical errors.
While I do not see anything I consider offensive, I do believe few of my students would "see themselves" in this text. The sample names (like "Steve" and "Jones") and sample essay topics (baseball, video game addiction) do not suggest a recognition of the broad cultural diversity instructors encounter in college classrooms today. For me, this lack of inclusiveness marks the main weakness of this text.
I enjoyed reviewing the text and plan to assign a few chapters to my online writing students.
Reviewed by Amy Forester, Instructor, Clackamas Community College and Portland Community College on 1/7/16
The text is very comprehensive. There are sections that are useful for many different writing levels, from students in need of grammar and punctuation instruction to research writing. Also, each section is nicely developed with examples,... read more
The text is very comprehensive. There are sections that are useful for many different writing levels, from students in need of grammar and punctuation instruction to research writing. Also, each section is nicely developed with examples, explanations, and exercises.
The text is very accurate. It gives clear and easy-to-read instruction on many topics.
This text has great longevity. I can imagine using it for many years because the examples are not time-sensitive. This is a great book to accompany a reading list or anthology.
This is one of the first things I noticed about the text. I really like the tone and style of the writing. It is clear and does not over-complicate ideas. The author clearly has experience with first-year writing students because it is written in a clear, accessible way.
I appreciate the consistency of this text. The terminology is direct and logical, and students will find it easy to get a broader understanding of a topic because the text provides links to other parts of the text where the term is mentioned. Also, the chapter organization is perfect for first-year students who do not want long, meandering chapters.
I will be using this book in modules for different writing classes. For example, it is easy to teach the grammar and punctuation sections in a remedial course and leave them out in research writing courses. Each section is very well developed.
The topics are nicely organized in this text. Each chapter has the same features, so students know what to expect. I am particularly impressed with the section Writing at Work, which gives students a sense for how each strategy is used in the workplace.
Overall, the interface is very easy to read. The one improvement that should be made is, at least in my screen view, the student writing samples are hard to read because they are small and in a difficult font.
It is grammatically correct.
The text is not culturally insensitive. It seems inclusive in its examples.
I am particularly impressed with the grammar and punctuation chapters. I have used many different books to teach these topics, and have found that they are often explained in complicated, technical language. I will definitely use these chapters in my classes.
Reviewed by Katie McCurdie, Instructor, Portland State University on 1/7/16
The comprehensiveness of this text is very impressive. At 600 pages, it covers so many aspects of college writing, from grammar to essay writing to creating presentations, that pieces of this text would surely be useful for a wide variety of... read more
The comprehensiveness of this text is very impressive. At 600 pages, it covers so many aspects of college writing, from grammar to essay writing to creating presentations, that pieces of this text would surely be useful for a wide variety of courses, but it is probably best suited to a first-year composition course. The first chapter provides a good introduction to writing in college, which includes a comparison to writing assignments in high school, along with more general advice on succeeding in college. This would be useful for just about any student entering an American university. It would also aid international students in understanding the expectations surrounding reading and writing as they transition from schools in their home country, where expectations, amount of coursework, and types of assessments can be drastically different. The next four chapters focus on sentence-level language issues: sentence structure, punctuation, vocabulary, and a whole grammar chapter for English language learners. These chapters could provide a great introduction to or review of the basics of English grammar, as well as the metalanguage needed to talk about grammar. In fact, I could see all four of the chapters begin useful for English language learners at intermediate and advanced levels. Chapters six through thirteen cover writing, from paragraphs to research papers, and fourteen focuses on presentations. Short exercises immediately reinforce the content in a variety of ways, such as by editing, completing sentences, and identifying and labeling grammar items. The amount of exercises might be enough for relatively advanced users of English, but those at a lower level would likely need additional exercises from another source. The “Writing Application” exercises at the end of most chapter sections provide opportunities for students to use what they’ve learned in short writing activities. In addition, there are end-of-chapter exercises for more practice.
Throughout the text, there is a combined focus on writing for academic purposes and writing in the real world. Examples and exercises reinforce this with work emails, business letters, job descriptions, cover letters, advertisements, and personal narratives and essays. This should send the message to students that the skills they are learning will be applied to all areas of their lives.
Although this text hasn’t reinvented the wheel in terms of writing instruction, it does present some novel ways to approach certain topics. For instance, there is a section in Chapter 2 on identifying and correcting fragments and run-ons that would potentially be very helpful for both native and non-native writers. It includes flow charts that students could use on their own to aid them in finding and fixing these all too common sentence structure errors in their own writing – an excellent tool to help students move towards becoming independent writers.
The table of contents is detailed and descriptive, but is not included in the pdf version.
I found the content to be mostly accurate. However, there are a couple places where the labeling of grammar items seemed incorrect or inconsistent to me. For instance, in Chapter 2, the text introduces some sentence structure basics including prepositional phrases (“At night,” “In the beginning,” etc.). However, when discussing how to fix fragments that begin with prepositional phrases a few pages later, the example sentences do not actually contain them; instead, they begin with adverb clauses or phrases (“After walking all day…”). For a native writer, distinguishing between these two different structures might not be crucial since the point here is fixing the fragment error. If using this text with English language learners, however, the discrepancy could cause confusion.
Information and example essays seem relevant and up-to-date although the chapter on MLA and APA documentation will have to be updated in the future. Updates should be easy to perform due to the text’s modularity.
The language used in the text is very easy to understand and approachable. Examples mostly consist of everyday language and situations or general academic vocabulary.
The text seems consistent to me except for the grammar terminology error I mentioned above.
This text seems made to be divided into smaller parts to be covered individually or even in a different order. Although the text does refer to itself at times, it does not rely on these references to convey information clearly and completely. Therefore, I noticed some sections of the text that necessarily repeat information from previous sections so as to stand alone as an independent lesson.
I appreciate how the book is organized, beginning with the introduction to college writing, which orients students to what they’ll be doing and why. I think it was a good choice to then put the grammar chapters next, before getting into the writing chapters. Writing books I’ve used tend to stick the grammar instruction at the end of the text or even hide it away in an appendix, but this text encourages students to become proficient writers from the sentence level up. The only part that seems oddly placed to me is Chapter 7, “Refining Your Writing,” which covers sentence variety, coordination and subordination, and parallelism. Also, I agree with another reviewer who said that it would be better if each rhetorical mode were given its own chapter. I never teach nine different modes in one course (maybe two or three), so the modularity would be better if each mode could be separate. On the other hand, I like how research writing is divided into two chapters and covered in detail. This type of writing is so difficult for most students, so it’s nice to have that comprehensive instruction. It’s also great to have the additional chapter at the end with example essays.
The interface is user-friendly with clear headings and sub-headings, logical use of bold text, numbered and bulleted lists, and blocks of subtle color to set off certain pieces of text from the main text. When suitable, information is presented in chart form or inside boxes. The font is highly readable and not distracting. Each chapter has a few main sections that are consistent throughout the text: “Learning Objectives” at the beginning, “Exercises” sprinkled throughout the chapter, and “Key Takeaways” at the end. There are also small boxes labeled “Tips,” which give advice on succeeding academically, and “Writing at Work,” which offers suggestions on how to use writing in real communication situations. As a result, the set-up of each chapter is predictable, which would theoretically allow teachers and students to fall into a comfortable routine.
One problem I found with the interface is that sometimes the margin sizes are not consistent from one page to the next. For instance, an indented list that begins on one page and continues on the next may not be indented on the second page. This is a small issue and may just be in the pdf version of the text.
I also noticed some navigation mistakes, when the text refers the reader to another part of the text, but it’s not the intended part. For example, in the section on fixing run-ons, it says, “For more information on semicolons, see Section 2.4.2 ‘Capitalize Proper Nouns’. However, there is nothing about semicolons in this section; this would most likely be in Chapter 3, which covers punctuation.
I did not see any errors.
I did not notice anything culturally insensitive, and there are some inclusive examples.
Overall, I find this text to be thoughtfully written, and I’d definitely consider using it for upper level writing & grammar-focused courses in the Intensive English Program.
Reviewed by Kirk Perry, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College - Cascade on 1/7/16
This textbook aspires to be a combined grammar book and reader. It covers all the appropriate areas, but the coverage is a bit thin when it comes to examples. read more
This textbook aspires to be a combined grammar book and reader. It covers all the appropriate areas, but the coverage is a bit thin when it comes to examples.
As far as I can tell.
The instructional content is very plain and basic; it will be sure to bore students for decades to come.
The readings (links) are good quality and likely to be useful for a decade or so.
Very clear and plain language--but again, not enough examples.
If anything, this text could be more technical. I think it is unhelpful to describe subordinating conjunctions as "dependent words." This strikes me as vague and misleading.
Yes, quite consistent.
Yes, it is effectively modular. Helpful subheadings and sections. There are lists and diagrams, but some sections can be a bit too text-y (dense paragraphs).
Yes: overview > grammar > process > writing modes > research > citation.
However, the example essays for the modes come in the final chapter. There is no good reason why "Chapter 10: Modes" could not be merged with "Chapter 15: Readings: Examples of Essays"--particularly because most of the examples are links.
Didn't notice any problems.
The example essay links provide a variety of ethnic/cultural perspectives.
This book is helpful but tries to do a bit too much--being both a grammar and a reader. It needs more examples of everything: run-on sentences, sense details, example essays, etc.
To adopt this for a course such as WR 115 or WR 121, I would have to provide many supplemental readings.
Reviewed by Annie Knepler, University Studies Writing Coordinator, Portland State University on 1/7/16
Writing for Success is quite thorough. It covers everything from sentence structure to the writing process. It has additional sections on creating effective presentations and concludes with sample essays. I could see how instructors could use... read more
Writing for Success is quite thorough. It covers everything from sentence structure to the writing process. It has additional sections on creating effective presentations and concludes with sample essays. I could see how instructors could use various elements of the text and adapt it to their course.
At the same time, it often felt a little too comprehensive, and sometimes seemed to aim for breadth over depth. For example, not much space is devoted to integrating sources and ideas. Learning how to apply sources, and develop your own ideas based on research, is such an important element of college writing. Paraphrasing and integrating source material is complex, and takes a lot of practice. Otherwise, students tend to let the sources speak for them instead of truly conversing with the sources (which is what I would begin to expect of college level students). The text leaves the impression that integrating sources is a straightforward task as opposed to one that involves critical thinking and analytic skills. Overall, I found the research section fairly weak.
I have looked at and worked with several writing texts, and I’m used to ones that either focus on a specific aspect of writing (such as research writing) or have a specific approach. This text tries to be a more general writing text, and it, perhaps, tries to cover too much.
The book strikes me as accurate, thorough, and generally without bias. At the same time, I don’t fully agree with the approach it takes to writing and grammar. The text does a really nice job of explaining certain grammatical elements and providing several examples to demonstrate the idea. However, the text generally treats grammar as rules rather than conventions. These conventions often change or shift over time, just as writing conventions change over time.
Similarly, whereas I appreciated the texts emphasis on writing as a process, Writing for Success does not really highlight the idea that writing can also be a process of discovery for the student. To me, this is an important concept for both learning and writing, and it helps get students excited about the possibilities for college writing. For example, when discussing thesis statements, the book indicates that a writer might end up revising a working thesis to broaden or narrow down their thesis. However, it does not present the possibility that students’ ideas may shift in significant ways as they write, research, and discover ideas. I allow my students to leave themselves open to the idea that their working thesis could change in significant ways as they write.
Overall, for me, it does not adequately emphasize the idea that writing should be both dynamic and purposeful.
The book is designed in a way that makes it easy to update specific details and examples. In general, many of the concepts it covers, such as specific issues students should pay attention to as they edit and revise (such as wordiness, transitions, etc.), will likely remain consistent.
However, I would not characterize the text as particularly relevant given the current conversations in the field of composition and composition pedagogy. In recent years, there has been a much stronger focus on purpose, audience, and genre in relation to writing, and although these concepts are addressed, they are not really emphasized or approached with the degree of complexity I would expect out of a college-level writing course. Writing for Success seems to encourage an expanded version of the five paragraph essay rather than providing students with the tools to recognize multiple approaches to writing. It approaches writing with a step-by-step approach, rather than as a complex task that involves continual critical thinking and problem solving.
Although the text encourages students to apply these ideas to other writing tasks (something I really appreciated about the text), it often implies that the writing they will do in their writing class may not have a clear context or purpose. It even states that students’ “college composition courses will focus on writing for its own sake.”
The writing in the text is very clear and straightforward. It would be helpful for the authors to more clearly define the audience for the book. It strikes me as a text that would be too basic for many first-year college writing courses.
I also found some of the organizational decisions confusing (I address this below under organization/flow).
Consistency rating: 3
The chapters follow a fairly consistent structure in terms of content. They all start by stating objectives, explain the main concepts, review the concepts, and provide exercises. The text also fairly consistently encourages active learning by posing questions for students/readers to consider as they delve into a topic.
To my eyes, there are some inconsistencies in terms of the framework and the message of the text. For example, it opens by framing writing as a challenge, and I was prepared for it to address several of the complexities of college writing. Instead, it goes on to take a fairly formulaic approach to writing, and even implies at times that the five-paragraph essay is a common form for college writing.
The text is broken into clear sections. I’m not sure how well the text would work if assigned from start to finish, but I can see how instructors might select specific chapters for a specific purpose. I usually have a select group of students that might struggle with a certain issue and I would, for example, direct a student that is struggling with commas to that specific section.
I also appreciate the way the is designed to work with other classes that a student might be taking. The exercises often direct students to apply the ideas they’re learning to a piece of writing that they are already working on for another class or to a task they have been assigned in their job.
The structure of the text was, at times, a little confusing. For example, the fact that tone, audience, and purpose are first discussed under a chapter on paragraphs was a little disorienting. Though these elements clearly relate to paragraphs and paragraph structure, they are really a central element of the larger structure and purpose of an essay or paper. Beyond that, in this section the author clearly explains different types of paragraphs, and provides a clear and detailed description of concepts such as analysis and evaluation.
There were a few other choices that did not make sense to me. For example, why are signal phrases and verbs discussed in the section on formatting as opposed to the section on integrating material into texts? That doesn’t really make sense.
My main concern is with the larger structure of the book. It starts by breaking down sentences structure and explaining the parts of the sentence. It seems like these chapters would make more sense in connection to editing since these are issues students should explore as they are editing their work. Most research shows that students more successfully learn grammar and sentence structure when it’s addressed in a specific context (such as their own work). The structure of the book implies that students can “learn” elements of a sentence and then easily apply that to their work.
I read the text in iBook, and the formatting did not always functioned properly. Some of the tables/columns were hard to read, and there were instances where the text referred to underlined sections of the examples, but there was no underline in my version.
I did look at the PDF version, and this did not seem to be an issue.
The book is generally free of errors. I looked at some of the previous reviews, and it seems as though some of the specific errors people noted have already been edited out of the text. I did find one clear typo on page 408 where the word “Thesis” in a title is written “ThesIs.”
The book did not make any statements that were insensitive or inoffensive. At the same time, it also did not address issues of language that relate to culture or gender. So it essentially avoids the topic, which is insensitive in its own way. For instance, it does not deal with issues of language and gender, and in the chapter on pronouns it does not examine the increasingly common use of the singular “they.” I appreciated the section for English language learners, but was a little confused about it’s overall purpose. It did not in any ways address some of the rhetorical issues that multilingual and international students often struggle with, and instead seemed to want to take the place of an English language course. In other words, it seemed as though it was well meant, but not sufficient or clear.
I appreciate that the text encourages students to be not only active readers and writers, but also active students. It emphasizes that they should seek help if they need it, and demonstrates ways to engage with reading.
The lists of words, such as transitional words, were very helpful. My experience is that students benefit greatly from these types of examples. The section on presentation skills was also useful and provided some good tips concerning tone, voice, and connecting with your audience.
I also appreciate the use of examples in the text, and these were generally very helpful. The sample essays at the end were helpful, and I really appreciated all the links to model readings available on the web. Despite the examples, while reading the text, it often feels like there’s a little too much telling students how to write rather than showing.
My main concern is that it wouldn’t work well for a more theme or genre-based writing course, one that worked to place student writing in a specific context. At our university, writing instruction is integrated into yearlong, theme-based courses for first-year students. When I taught composition at a university with a more traditional first-year writing sequence, the courses were theme-based, and students were encouraged to think of their writing as contextualized and purposeful. Writing for Success often seems to assume that writing courses function more as isolated courses where students focus on the structures and processes of putting together expository writing.
As I note above, I think it would be helpful to better define the specific audience for this textbook. It’s certainly not appropriate for the college writing classes I’ve taught or worked with, and it could be that it has a different purpose. A college writing course should introduce students to more complex ways to approach their writing, and get them excited about the possibilities for communicating their ideas. I’m not sure that this text would achieve that goal.
Reviewed by Sara Crickenberger, Instructor, Virginia Tech on 6/10/15
The pdf of the textbook does not provide a table of contents or an index/glossary. It opens with a Preface then jumps right into Chapter 1. These omissions are inconvenient for planning and for both students and instructors trying to locate... read more
The pdf of the textbook does not provide a table of contents or an index/glossary. It opens with a Preface then jumps right into Chapter 1. These omissions are inconvenient for planning and for both students and instructors trying to locate specific material in the 613-page book. However, the textbook covers a wide breadth of material relevant to a first-year writing class, ranging from basic discussion and tips to help students succeed as college-level readers and writers to sample essays employing a variety of rhetorical modes. I likely would not use everything in this textbook, but it contains a great deal of material that I would find useful.
The content appears to be accurate and unbiased. I did not find any factual errors or inconsistencies.
The material in the textbook is up-to-date and relevant. Some examples use historical references, which are essentially timeless. A couple of the sample essays discuss topics such as universal health care and low-carbohydrate diets that may be front page news one day and off the public radar the next, but the material was not dated in a way that made it less valuable as a resource for students. The sample essays are in the last chapter in the book, which could easily be updated with newer essays.
The book is easy to read and clearly speaks to college writing students. The language is accessible, explanations are clear, and instructions are easy to follow. The author defines terms that are specific to the study of language and writing and gives examples illustrating how they are used. After each section students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the material by completing exercises based on their reading.
The book uses a consistent framework that includes learning objectives for each section, discussion/explanation of the material, exercises that allow students to practice what they have been reading/learning, tips to make difficult ideas more accessible or reinforce messages, key takeaways to reinforce the learning objectives for each section, and a writing application.
The book is divided nicely into numbered chapters and sections that work well as self-contained units. Each section has clear learning objects, examples, exercises, and a writing application. It would be easy to assign a chapter or section within a chapter with the accompanying examples and exercises for students to compete.
The chapter on Writing for English Language Learners seems a bit oddly placed. Since that material is relevant for only a segment of the student population, I probably would have moved that chapter toward the back of the book with the more specialized content on documentation and presentations rather than between the chapters on word choice and shaping content. However, the content in the ELL chapter does relate closely to word choice and sentence structure, so another instructor might think this is the perfect place for this material.
The biggest problem with navigation in this textbook is the lack of a table of contents and index is. However, I had one other problem with the formatting. The text is double spaced, but paragraphs are not indented and there are no blank lines between paragraphs, so it is difficult to tell where paragraphs break. This is an issue in terms of ease of reading, and it sets a poor example for students who are learning the conventions of mechanics and formatting.
There are a few spacing issues. In some places subheads butt directly against body copy or tables, for instance. And some page breaks cause awkward breaks in exercises, tables, and charts. These are small issues that don't significantly affect the readability or usability.
I found few errors in the book. One issue that I did notice is a problem that is common among my students, so I was especially disappointed to see the error in the text. The author uses "where" in reference to something other than place: "...establish a buddy system where you check in with a friend about school projects" (25).
The text has a few other issues, such as bullet points that don't use parallel verb structures, some use of "to be" constructions that could easily be revised to more active/vivid sentence structures, and some typographical errors, such as "accuratelydid" (92) and "ascrawny" (149). These errors are relatively rare but start to get annoying after a couple of hundred pages.
The book does not contain references that are culturally insensitive or offensive. The author switches between male and female names in examples/exercises and uses names that are reflective of a diverse population.
I am planning to use this book as one of my texts in a first-year writing class next fall. I likely will adapt it a bit by adding a table of contents, indenting paragraphs, correcting mechanical errors, etc. so that it is more functional and serves as a model of the writing and formatting I expect from students. I actually like the double spacing, which most publishers don't use because of space/cost issues. It provides plenty of room for students to annotate the text electronically or on print copies. I am not sure I am up for undertaking indexing.
Reviewed by Kari Steinbach, Instructor, University of Northwestern - St. Paul on 7/15/14
The text covers some helpful elements of a first college writing course, such as an overview of several genres of writing assignments, some grammar and usage issues, use of peer review and collaboration in writing, and research strategies. Some... read more
The text covers some helpful elements of a first college writing course, such as an overview of several genres of writing assignments, some grammar and usage issues, use of peer review and collaboration in writing, and research strategies. Some may consider the addition of the study strategy and reading strategy material to be too basic--even for a first year writing course. Without a clear table of contents or index, the organization was difficult to decipher and required paging back and forth throughout the book.
The book appears to be free from any obvious errors. Because of the rapid changes in databases, electronic research strategies, and documentation styles, it is likely that updates will need to be made--but this is the case for any text dealing with research and documentation.
Aside from requiring updates due to documentation and research changes, there may need to be an update of sample essays that have subject matter that may become outdated. Examples of cited sources may become outdated--especially in fields that change quickly.
The use of flow charts to help students understand grammar concepts is helpful. A better use of white space, illustration, font changes, bullets, and color in the design would make the text more visually fluid and more readable. The addition of full text student sample papers to show formatting is very helpful. I also appreciated the list of objectives at the beginning of each chapter.
The text appears to be consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
It would be helpful for the rhetorical mode section to be split into separate chapters, with each genre given more individual emphasis and examples of the strategies required for that genre.
My preference would be to teach grammatical concepts as they come up within the course of writing assignments. I would prefer a text that had grammar covered in an appendix that could be referred to throughout the course and as the issues came up during the writing assignments. I would not teach grammar independent of the writing assignment.
There is a need for a clear table of contents and index.
There are no obvious issues with the book's grammar.
There are no obvious issues of cultural insensitivity in the text.
Reviewed by Jonathan Carlson, Instructor, Composition, University of Northwestern - St. Paul on 7/15/14
The first chapter covers many "first year" or "freshmen" tips, best practices ideas and how-to info. Probably good material for the group using this book, but not essential. Table 1.2 is valuable to a student's overall understanding of writing.... read more
The first chapter covers many "first year" or "freshmen" tips, best practices ideas and how-to info. Probably good material for the group using this book, but not essential. Table 1.2 is valuable to a student's overall understanding of writing. Table 8.1 is great! The outline checklist on 301 and 302 is good info. I like the discussion of thesis statements on page 341. It points out significant errors. I appreciate the section on plagiarism. This is such a key issue today, with so much research done online with text that is so easy to copy and paste. I like that the book notes that there is intentional and unintentional plagiarism. I think the reading examples in chapter 15 could be stronger. The compare and contrast essay is quite brief, and it is not organized for easy reading (one massive paragraph and one short paragraph). The cause and effect essay is rather short. I would like to see 3 to 5 page examples - approximations of what I will be expecting my Comp 1 students to write. I feel the persuasive essay is much too brief to be persuasive. Universal health care coverage is a massive and nuanced topic, and to serve it up in two pages seems almost offensive. By the by, the linked essays seems very good. I just think the book needs better, stronger examples of student essays. Overall, I think this is perhaps the most comprehensive writing textbook I've seen. However, the sample writings included in the text need to be expanded and off "better quality"--closer to what a student would turn in for a Comp I course.
Pg 319: "Generally speaking, write your introduction and conclusion last, after you have fleshed out the body paragraphs." This is dangerous advice. While I don't think it means to, I feel it downplays the importance of a thesis and/or mapping statement/plan of coherence. Without such a guide directly in front of them, many students will go off course. I feel the discussion/instruction of the thesis statement should occur in the outlining and drafting segment. It can and should be revisited later, but to wait to this point could be detrimental to the paper. Section 11.4: Accurate and essential. Students really need to know how to evaluate source material. From page 435: Questionable sources: free online encyclopedias. Thank you! From page 438: "Think ahead to a moment a few weeks from now, when you've written your research paper and are almost ready to submit it for a grade. There is just one task left - writing your list of sources." I've always thought it wise to have students created their references page as they write the paper. They can delete a source they don't end up including, and if they wait to the end, they are more likely to forget a source. Page 570: The chart should probably be labeled "Winter Olympic Medal Standings since 1924." If the combined total is calculated, the US has more than double our closest competitor, the Soviet Union. Also, the URL included in the text does not work. On the whole, the info is accurate and will be very helpful to students.
Not much in the book seems dated. Not much background is given for the fictional students in the book, and no pictures of them are provided. While this does increase the longevity of the book, it also decreases the chances of a real student identifying with the students in the textbook. The sample student writing on 361 is or will be dated, but if you're writing about tech, it's going to be. Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets from page 455. This is quite dated. After the myth that Atkins died from heart issues circulated, the low carb movement died with him. The process that this paper goes through is structured well. And I think that the teaching done by it is very relevant. So...I don't think that it's relevance as a fad should necessarily be considered. But if the book gets updated in 5 to 10 years, I'd recommend a different topic. The annotated essay portion on page 470 looks like it was created on an old-school typewriter. Ding! Page 531: The discussion of the URL vs. DOI is timely but may become irrelevant. I'm glad to see it's in here, but it may become irrelevant in the future.
All the language seems clear to me. However, I have a Master's in Writing. It's difficult to take that filter off and think as a college freshman would. For example, page 327 uses the phrase "formal English." I have a strong context for that, but would most college freshman. I honestly am not sure. It might be helpful to have a few early college students review the textbook.
Yes, it is internally consistent. The book uses similar language throughout and references previous and upcoming chapters frequently.
The textbook seems appropriately modular. An instructor could use portions he/she wanted or needed and leave out non-applicable content such as the "freshman seminar" type sections. Nearly half the book is grammar, punctuation and "college wisdom" content, which makes modularity especially important if the book is being exclusively used a Composition I textbook. And I do think its modularity is designed well and designed well enough to function in that way. The text does references previous and upcoming chapters frequently, but I think this still works fine.
There is no table of contents at the front. The portions about Crystal, while they are related thematically to the text, still seem out of place. I've used another textbook with a similar element (a group of first-year students who share their struggles and successes). In the textbook I used, there were pictures of the students, and their comments and insight were set off in colorful textbooks. While it seemed a bit cheesy, as does this, the concept is helpful to students, I think. Setting off this element in sidebar allows the text to flow more smoothly and helps to identify the comments as such. Some of the tables are broken at the page breaks in segments that make them hard to follow. For example, if they were broken between rows instead of in the middle of them, that would make them easier to follow. Exercise 2 on page 544/545 is an example of a terrible table break. The overview of sections on page 38 is very confusing. This info should be included mainly in a table of contents or a chapter introduction. The Choosing Specific, Appropriate Words section on page 327-328 could be set off with a different color or the like. It seems odd simply being part of the flow of text. Something to consider: This textbook is set up in something of a narrative structure. It might be more effective if set up as an owner's manual, considering our current generation of learners' aversion to lengthy text. 9.1 Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement Chapter 9 is covering developing a thesis, but chapter 8 looks at writing the draft. The instructions on the thesis need to come before instructions on writing the draft. Consider adding table 8.1 to page 354. Finally, there is no index, glossary or works cited sections at the end. The overall organization is good, quite functional, but some of the "accessories" are missing.
The color scheme is too muted. Various sections are "highlighted" in light gray. More distinct colors would give the reader clearer clues about how the text is organized. Also, some sort of picture or icon would help to recognize certain segments. For example, the "Writing at Work" segments could have a small picture of a person at an office desk (preferably Dwight Schrute). I really like the charts on page 49 and 51, 54.
I found a few punctuation errors, but they're all essentially the same: missing spaces. This may have happened when the document was converted to PDF. Orunless on page 52. "athesis" on page 338. Fencessymbolize on page 340. seeChapter 6 on page 368. From page 392: "Writers are particularly prone to such trappings in cause-and-effect arguments "Shouldn't it be "traps" instead of "trapping"? Manual published from page 424 Table 11.1 on 423 and 424 uses two fonts inconsistently. asSmithsonian Magazine orNature from page 434 athttp://www.apa.org and athttp://owl.english.purdue.edu on page 492. From page 521: "byperiods." From page 516: "inand"
I didn't find much that was necessarily inclusive, other than the names of the fictional students. There were some sample essays (linked) that included non-white authors, which is certainly inclusive. However, I don't think any of the examples or articles were exclusive. Being a "white" male myself, I have a filter that is difficult to remove. I would hope that you could find some non-white reviewers to give you their opinion of this element.
Very, very comprehensive. I actually felt all the grammar and "freshmen seminar" elements took up too much of the textbook, but since it's free and the modularity works well, that's fine. Please add stronger student sample essays, a table of contents, glossary, index and works cited sections. And make the color scheme bolder. Thanks for the opportunity to review this textbook!
Reviewed by Tanya Grosz, Assistant Professor of English & Director of Undergraduate Pathways, University of Northwestern - St. Paul on 7/15/14
I was surprised at just how comprehensive this book was. It covers everything from study strategies to prewriting to editing and punctuation and research writing. Also, it includes writing strategies for ELL students which is very helpful. While I... read more
I was surprised at just how comprehensive this book was. It covers everything from study strategies to prewriting to editing and punctuation and research writing. Also, it includes writing strategies for ELL students which is very helpful. While I would have liked to have seen more full-text essays woven throughout the text, there are several in the final chapter, there are links to others, and there are a few throughout the book.
I have taught writing for 20 years, and I find this text to be both accurate and helpful. I find that students, regardless of age, struggle most with essay organization, and this text devotes the appropriate amount of time to organizing a paragraph and essay.
Updates could be made in a straightforward and easy fashion; many of the principles are solid and timeless. The MLA/APA part can be easily updated as can the essay examples.
The tone is extremely accessible. As I read through chapters 1 - 3, I was concerned that the text was almost too basic to be used with college freshmen, but as I reflected upon this, it dawned upon me that I cover some of the same concepts in the first week of class based on a writing and editing assessment. A teacher could easily extract those components that aren't necessary. Ultimately, this book is clear and readable.
Each chapter has a framework that is consistent; there is review at the end that is helpful and exercises for the student who wishes to practice what has been covered in the chapter.
I could easily see myself extracting certain elements of various chapters and using some chapters but not others. The book lends itself to easily using some chapters and not others and certain parts of a chapter without the entirety.
This is a difficult question because no one would likely organize a textbook the same way as someone else. I found the Refining Writing chapter (Chapter 7) a little oddly placed, but it certainly was not a deal-breaker, and because of its excellent modularity, one could easily organize the presentation differently. The topics are definitely presented clearly and logically.
The charts and graphs did not present very clearly on my screen, but I'm not sure if that's the text or my computer. While it wasn't distracting, the graphs were a bit pixelated and fuzzy. The essay samples were clear. Navigation was easy.
I thought the grammar, sentence flow, punctuation, etc. was excellent.
I wish I had access to the chapter for ELL students 20 years ago! I found nothing offensive in the text and found helpful chapters for college-bound high school students, freshmen or sophomore college students, and adult learners.
I find this book to be pragmatic, helpful, clear, straightforward, and well done. I am going to recommend it to my department for review. I think there should be a Learning Style quiz embedded or linked to when discussing learning styles for students. The writing tips and advice given were accurate and relevant. Literally, the only piece I would have liked to have seen addressed but did not was how to be an effective peer editor, but the tips for editing one's own paper could easily be applied to editing a peer's essay. While I would likely not use the chapter on presenting with my own class, I found it to be helpful. I do have one question about the formatting of the essays in chapter 12 at the end of the book: Why were the paragraphs not indented? I know of no composition instructors who allow block formatting for submitted essays. I recommend reviewing this book!
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Writing
- Chapter 2: Writing Basics: What Makes a Good Sentence?
- Chapter 3: Punctuation
- Chapter 4: Working with Words: Which Word Is Right?
- Chapter 5: Help for English Language Learners
- Chapter 6: Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content
- Chapter 7: Refining Your Writing: How Do I Improve My Writing Technique?
- Chapter 8: The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?
- Chapter 9: Writing Essays: From Start to Finish
- Chapter 10: Rhetorical Modes
- Chapter 11: Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?
- Chapter 12: Writing a Research Paper
- Chapter 13: APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting
- Chapter 14: Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas
- Chapter 15: Readings: Examples of Essays
- Submit ancillary resource
About the Book
Writing for Success is a text that provides instruction in steps, builds writing, reading, and critical thinking, and combines comprehensive grammar review with an introduction to paragraph writing and composition.
Beginning with the sentence and its essential elements, this book addresses each concept with clear, concise and effective examples that are immediately reinforced with exercises and opportunities to demonstrate, and reinforce, learning.
Each chapter allows your students to demonstrate mastery of the principles of quality writing. With its incremental approach, it can address a range of writing levels and abilities, helping each student in your course prepare for their next writing or university course. Constant reinforcement is provided through examples and exercises, and the text involves students in the learning process through reading, problem-solving, practicing, listening, and experiencing the writing process.
Each chapter also has integrated examples that unify the discussion and form a common, easy-to-understand basis for discussion and exploration. This will put your students at ease, and allow for greater absorption of the material.
Tips for effective writing are included in every chapter, as well. Thought-provoking scenarios provide challenges and opportunities for collaboration and interaction. These exercises are especially helpful if you incorporate group work in your course. Clear exercises teach sentence and paragraph writing skills that lead to common English composition and research essays.
Exercises are integrated in each segment. Each concept is immediately reinforced as soon as it is introduced to keep students on track.
Exercises are designed to facilitate interaction and collaboration. This allows for peer-peer engagement, development of interpersonal skills, and promotion of critical thinking skills.
Exercises that involve self-editing and collaborative writing are featured. This feature develops and promotes student interest in the areas and content.
There are clear internal summaries and effective displays of information. This contributes to ease of access to information and increases the ability of your students to locate desired content.
Rule explanations are simplified with clear, relevant, and theme-based examples. This feature provides context that will facilitate learning and increase knowledge retention.
There is an obvious structure to the chapter and segment level. This allows for easy adaptation to your existing and changing course needs or assessment outcomes.
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Creative Writing 7th Edition by Adele Ramet pdf free download
Creative Writing 7th Edition by Adele Ramet pdf free download. When I ﬁrst wrote this book, the term ‘creative writer’ conjured up an image of the artistic amateur. Few of the students who joined my classes had any idea what creative writing was or understood the workings of the publishing industry. Things have changed dramatically in the intervening years and now, when each new course begins, I ﬁnd that most of my students are extremely knowledgeable about the business of writing.
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