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Write this way...
on April 20, 2004
This book, `Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide' edited by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell, is a book widely used in colleges and universities, as well as advanced high school classes across the nation. It is a very useful text, and I use it when tutoring students in preparation for community college level writing and reading work. It is used at our college in the basic skills reading courses, too.
The book looks at how writers develop their work. The first few chapters look at some of the basic mechanics of writing - planning, writing, editing and revising. It also looks briefly at certain skills needed for writing, such as brainstorming and idea generation, as well as journal writing. There are many exercises included here to give students first-hand experience.
The second section looks at the various types of writing students will be called upon to produce - narrative papers, process papers, cause-and-effect, descriptive works, comparison-and-contrast, classification, definition, and persuasive/argumentative papers. Each chapter keeps a solid focus on the type of work presented, so that students can develop the particular skills; the final chapter in this section looks at combining the patterns, to produce more complex and comprehensive research papers and essays.
There is a thematic listing of articles that shows the breadth of topics covered - family relationships, language, education, business and work, sports, race and culture, gender, nature and the environment, media and society, history and politics, and ethics. Among more than one hundred articles are sixteen pieces written by actual students, so that students can see the model produced by people at their same level of development. Writings from famous people such as Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Flannery O'Connor and Mark Twain also give breadth and interest to the selections included here.
The writing assignments include journal writing, essays of the types modeled in the chapters, collaborative activities, and even an internet assignment. There is a companion website for students to use, and instructors can take advantage of materials provided by the publisher, such transparencies and additional samples.
The appendix has a ten-step process for writing a research paper (one of the more common types of college writing expected of students). The steps include everything from choosing a topic to documenting sources. Avoiding common pitfalls such as plagiarism (intentional and inadvertent) is also covered.