Textbook Recommendations

Teaching Guide

Glenn, Cheryl and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-45133-2

The Coordinator of the Teaching Fellows and the professor of English 6112 Theories of Composition & Literature both recommend that new Teaching Fellows read this practical book before and during their first year teaching.


The Coordinator also recommends this list of composition theory books.

English 1101 Readers of Essays

Anderson, Chris and Lex Runciman, eds. Open Questions: Readings for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-41635-5

The readings are arranged thematically, and include writers such as Barbara Ehrenreich, who I copied for my students last semester, Eric Schlosser, and George Orwell. There’s also some CNF, from writers like Scott Russell Sanders, which I look forward to teaching.--Andrew Howard

Berndt, Michael D. and Amy M. Muse, eds. Composing a Civic Life: A Rhetoric and Readings for Inquiry and Action. 2nd ed. New York: Longman-Pearson, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780321413598

Advantages: I like how this book asks the question of what a citizen is, and how it reflects on examining life in terms of community. I think the essays, mostly made up of reactions and interpretations on laws passed throughout our history, are more intellectual and might evoke students to take the topics less lightly than they may have before. Plus, I think the issues it explores, Women’s Rights, Religious Freedom, etc., are always a great starting point for debate because there is so much gray area to be explored in these topics, and students may debate a lot while questioning their own inner reactions to the readings.
Disadvantages: I don’t think this book covers the writing process as well as other books. And students may get bogged down in some of the dense writing in a lot of the essays.--Marie Elliott

Bloom, Lynn Z., ed. The Essay Connection. 9th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010. ISBN-13: 9780547190785

            Bloom has selected an incredible variety of essays for this book, over 90 essays from a wide range of times and viewpoints. All of the essays are well written (allowing for personal taste), and most are good, controversial, discussion starters. In fact, several touch on important social topics, such as the war on terrorism, which g  ave me the flexibility to work current events into classroom talks.
            I particularly like the size of the essays. A few get up into double digits, but many of them are 3-5 pages. For me, this meant I could assign more works per class and focus class discussion on the conceptual interplay between the texts. What does Bill McKibben have to say about nature vs. Charles Darwin? This also meant an increased likelihood that one of the essays would spark enough student interest to get a good talk going.
            There are several pieces about writing, including examples of student writing journals, which were really helpful. Also very useful: each essay is followed by questions on the content of the essay, the strategies/structure/language (essentially, the rhetoric of the essay), and some suggestions for writing. This not only gave the students a heads-up for optional class discussion avenues but also provided me with some solid (sometime fantastic) in-class writing exercises.
            Besides a wide range of authors (Maxine Hong Kingston, Darwin, Stephen King, Alexander Pope, Donald Murray, Art Spiegelman, Meredith Hall, Asimov, Twain, David Sedaris, MLK, Jonathan Swift, Tim O'Brien, Whitman, and the 14th Dalai Lama), you even get a range of approaches, including some poetry and graphic/photo essays.
            To help you set up your syllabus, there are 2 tables of contents. The first, mirroring the actual order of the texts in the book, essentially sets up the book as a writing guide (the sections being: On Writing, Determining Ideas in a Sequence, Clarifying Ideas, Arguing Directly and Indirectly, and Controversy in Context – all of these are further divided into smaller parts, also titled and composed of 4-8 or so essays). The second table of contents is arranged by topic (with such sections as: Growing Up, People and Portraits, Families/Heritage, Natural World, Science and Technology, Human and Civil Rights, and Satire).--Park Parkison

Cohen, Samual. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-44698-7

Anthology with writing tips.--Carrie Anne Tocci

Goshgarian, Gary, ed. The Contemporary Reader. 9th ed. New York: Longman-Pearson, 2008. ISBN-13: 9780205568222

             I was initially attracted to this book for two reasons; the first was that the reading selections were divided thematically (and the themes were contemporary issues), and the second reason was that there was another table of contents that organized the pieces by essay type. I found the three-level questions after each essay quite useful for both discussions and writing assignments; I often relied on those for class activities and questions.
            The readings themselves were fine, not much better than other contemporary readers, but certainly not worse. The sections set up as opposing viewpoints were particularly useful because they helped students with dissenting opinions speak up.
            One drawback was that there weren’t descriptions for the students about the different modes of essays, but overall the book worked really well.--Meredith Dodson

Petracca, Michael and Madeleine Sorapure, eds. Common Culture: Reading and Writing about American Popular Culture. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall-Pearson, 2010. ISBN-13: 9780205645770

Advantages: This book is interesting in that it covers a myriad of topics on pop culture, from Marilyn Manson, to reality TV shows and their stars. I also like how it goes beyond what students of this age might consider “inquiry” into what they see at the movies or listen to on their Ipods, like the essay on Eminiem, a close reading of Genderphobia. I also think this book explores the writing process from a very understandable point of view, that is, the language is easily digestible, and doesn’t bog you down. It covers Prewriting, Freewriting, Clustering, Outlining, Thesis Construction and Drafting, Opening and Supporting Paragraphs, Evidence, Conclusions, and Revising.
Disadvantages: Although students will probably like a text that contains names, places, and people they have heard about, I could see them not taking the process of argument seriously in their essays because they have already formed opinions on the topics in the book. If the book included a self-assessment, or self-questioning section, I think that would benefit the students more.--Marie Elliott

Rosa, Alfred and Paul Eschholz, eds. Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-53113-3

I haven’t used this book, but the feedback I got from my 1101 students last year was that by far the most helpful readings I assigned were also models for the kinds of essays I was asking them to write. Our best classes involved breaking down our readings and analyzing them as examples of what students should try to do in their own writing. This book offers a wide variety of accessible essays that could be models for 1101 assignments.--John Teschner

English 1101 Rhetorics of the Writing Process

Hjorthshotj, Keith. The Transition to College Writing. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-44082-4

I haven’t used this book either, but I like that it is slim, and that it seems to have an interesting perspective on the process of writing, perhaps meeting students where they are a little more than some other rhetoric books.--John Teschner

Kennedy, X. J., Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Marcia F. Muth. Writing and Revising: A Portable Guide. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-45458-6

            I like Writing and Revising for 2 reasons. First is the focus on revising. I myself didn't really learn to write in drafts until the latter half of my undergraduate years, so I really hammer it home in 1101, and I've found this book useful in that crusade. There are also not only stages but a well-stated goal for editing/revising, achieving coherence, and some detailed steps and suggestions for accomplishing said goal.
            The second reason I like the book is quite related; the book is very process oriented. There are chapters on reading (which I really liked) generating ideas, planning your paper, drafting, etc. There's some real specific, nitty/gritty sort of advice, like putting a thesis together (great handling of possibly the most important thing we have to teach them in 1101), writing openings and conclusions, integrating and citing sources (with specific guidance on particular types of sources, including scholarly/non-scholarly and AV sources in both MLA and APA).
            Really useful, really brief and to the point, and well organized.--Park Parkison

Wilhoit, Stephen. A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings. New York: Longman-Pearson, 2010. ISBN-13: 9780205674596

While this functions tentatively as a reader and a writing book, it actually focuses much more on the writing process, including chapters on quotations, paraphrases, plagiarism, documentation, etc. The chapters are concise and helpful, and focus on things (such as I just mentioned) that I actually want my students to
recognize, so that they can take them with them to other classes, and develop as useful college writers.--Andrew Howard

English 1101 Combined Readers and Rhetorics

Aaron, Jane E. 40 Model Essays. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-43829-6

Why I liked this book:
It’s both a reader and a rhetoric book
It’s small and portable
Its content is limited, which is fine with me:  last year my class didn’t even read all 40 essays in this book.  Why should I have them buy a book that has 100?
Includes discussion questions to go with each rhetorical mode

Last year, when I taught with this book, I found myself setting my class up thematically as well as along the lines of rhetoric.  While I didn’t have a hard time finding rhetorical modes with essay examples that went together thematically, that is one small shortcoming of this book.--Leah Norton


Though I haven’t used this book before, it seems as though it would be useful to an inexperienced freshman.  According to Amazon’s reader reviews, it contains a variety of exemplary essays that are both instructive and interesting.  It also strikes me that this book might be good for new teachers; it contains many different types of comp essays that might be helpful when formulating a syllabus.--Will Torrey

Aaron, Jane E. The Compact Reader: Short Essays by Method and Theme. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-43347-5

Why I want to use this book:
It’s both a reader and a rhetoric book
It’s small and portable
As stated above, it doesn’t have a ton of junk that I don’t intend to use.
Includes discussion questions to go with each rhetorical mode and,
(Here’s the clincher)
Arranged thematically AND by rhetorical mode!

For instance, the chapter dealing with “Description” talks about “Sensing the Natural World.”  The chapter dealing with “Narration” talks about “Recalling Childhood.”  The chapter dealing with “Cause-and-Effect Analysis” talks about “Understanding Markets and Consumers.”  Each of these includes examples which illustrate those kinds of essays discussing those kinds of topics.

In the beginning of the semester I like to tell my class, this class isn’t just about writing – it’s about thinking.  And that’s why I think a thematic approach to 1101 is helpful and why I’m recommending these books.--Leah Norton

Kennedy, X. J., Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Marcia F. Muth. The Bedford Guide for College Writers with Reader, Research Manual, and Handbook. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-45277-3

I was interested in seeing what a combination book would look like and how it would balance rhetoric and essay models.  I liked that this book also had a handbook in the back, too.  The amount of detail paid to the rhetoric section of the book is unbelievable.  Every imaginable essay scenario is covered in great specificity; however, I think maybe too much attention is given to the rhetoric aspect of the book, leaving the essay section lacking.
I did not like the arrangement of the book at all.  It was more like three separate books; I was hoping for a more complimentary set-up.  Instead of arranging the sections as Rhetoric (over 400 pages btw), Essays, and Handbook, I would be more beneficial to blend it all together.  
My final judgment:  this is not the book for me.  While it offers an elaborate rhetoric section (a plus, I suppose) the essay section is lacking in both content and quality, and the layout is not working for me at all.--Joey Grisham

English 1102 Readers

English 1102 Rhetorics

English 1102 Combined Readers/Rhetorics