CompFAQ/ENGL 1101

From Gerald R. Lucas

From Reading to Writing: An ENGL 1101 Coursebook

Writing and reading skills are essential for success in college and beyond. Whether you’re writing a research paper, a personal statement, a business proposal, a Wikipedia entry, or a personal blog, clear and effective writing makes all the difference in effectively communicating and achieving your goals. Likewise, strong reading skills are crucial for comprehending complex texts, synthesizing information, and developing critical thinking abilities.

This composition text is designed to help you develop and enhance these skills through a variety of activities, including writing exercises, grammar and mechanics reviews, and close reading and analysis of professional essays. All of the writing activities are based on a Composition FAQ that targets areas most relevant to first-year composition and core-level humanities classes.

I. Introduction to College-Level Reading and Writing

  1. A Primer for First-Year Composition
    • Ask the Right Questions
    • Plan Before You Write: Prewriting, Drafting
    • Revising, and Editing
  2. Read and discuss "College Pressures" by William Zinsser; “The Joy of Reading and Writing” by Sherman Alexie
  3. Writing Exercise:

II. Close Reading and Analysis

  1. Review the elements of close reading and analysis
    • How to read effectively for understanding
    • How to take effective notes while reading
    • Importance of annotating while reading
  2. Read and analyze “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell
  3. Writing exercise: Students practice close reading and analysis by writing a paragraph about a specific aspect of the essay.

III. Focus Your Topic: Thesis Statement

  1. Discuss topics and thesis statements
    • The importance of a strong thesis statement
    • How to develop a thesis statement
    • Strategies for refining your thesis statement
  2. Read and analyze: “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” by David Graeber
  3. Writing exercise:

IV. Argumentation and Persuasion

  1. Introduce the principles of argumentation and persuasion
    • Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices
    • Establishing Credibility
    • Using Logical Arguments
  2. Read and analyze "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Writing exercise: Students write a persuasive letter on a current social justice issue.

V. Writing for a Specific Audience

  1. Discuss the importance of knowing your audience when writing
    • Understanding the importance of identifying your audience
    • Analyzing your audience’s needs and expectations
    • Tailoring your writing to your audience
  2. Read and analyze "Shitty First Drafts" by Anne Lamott
  3. Writing exercise: Students write a satirical essay.

VI. Organizing Your Writing

  1. Discuss the importance of logical organization
    • How to organize your writing effectively
    • Importance of outlining before writing
    • Tips for organizing paragraphs
  2. Read and analyze: "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan
  3. Writing Exercise:

VII. Effective Use of Evidence

  1. Discuss the importance of using evidence in your writing
    • Using primary evidence
    • Integrating evidence into your writing effectively
    • Quoting and paraphrasing
  2. Read and analyze: “A Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. Writing exercise:

VIII. Research and Synthesis

  1. Introduce the basics of research and synthesis
    • Expanding evidence to secondary sources
    • Finding and evaluating sources
    • Incorporating research into your essay
  2. Read and analyze "The Ways We Lie" by Stephanie Ericsson
  3. Writing exercise: Students conduct research on a topic and write a synthesis essay.

IX. Reflection and Revision

  1. Discuss the importance of reflection and revision in the writing process
    • The importance of revising and editing your writing
    • Tips and strategies for effective revision, proofreading, and editing
    • Reflect on and evaluate your writing
  2. Read and analyze "This is Water" by David Foster Wallace
  3. Writing exercise: Students revise a previous essay and reflect on the changes they made.

X. Narrative and Storytelling

  1. Discuss the importance of narrative in writing
    • Considering elements of advanced style and avoiding common pitfalls
    • Choosing an effective tone and point-of-view
    • Using figurative language
  2. Read and analyze "The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard
  3. Writing exercise: Students write a personal narrative.
Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 05-27-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬