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    Read more about EmpoWord: A Student-Centered Anthology & Handbook for College Writers

    EmpoWord: A Student-Centered Anthology & Handbook for College Writers

    (25 reviews)

    Shane Abrams, Portland State University

    Copyright Year:

    Publisher: Portland State University Library

    Language: English

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    CC BY-NC


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    Reviewed by Jen Hughes, Instructor and Course Designer, Purdue University on 12/30/23

    The chapters are detail-rich and provide ample content for explaining writing concepts, showing examples, and offering practical writing exercises for students. There is challenge here, too-- this is not content for a sleepy learner. I also like... read more

    Reviewed by Eleanor Binnings, Adjunct faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 3/23/23

    Empoword, which fully covers freshman Composition, is designed to be student-centered. It begins with the learning community, which is the ideal environment for composition classes. In each chapter, you’ll find Vocabulary, which can also be seen... read more

    Reviewed by Lisa Huber, Adjunct faculty/ English Department, Massachusetts Bay Community College on 6/29/21

    This text covers 3 areas common to college-level composition courses: narrative, analysis and argumentation. The coverage of these rhetorical situations consists of guiding students to ask pertinent questions and practice writing skills as part... read more

    Reviewed by Nicki Buscemi, Professor of English, North Shore Community College on 6/18/21

    Although this textbook only covers three types of student writing (descriptive, narrative essays; analysis and synthesis essays; and argumentative research papers), it covers these three types of writing quite comprehensively through a combination... read more

    Reviewed by George Zamzow, English Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/12/21

    I would say the book is quite comprehensive in covering narrative writing and academic reading/writing. I wish that it had more content about various genres beyond academic writing. I also think it would be really help students to learn about... read more

    Reviewed by Kathryn Puerini, Adjunct Faculty, Tidewater Community College on 5/12/21

    The text focuses on three types of writing assignments. While the coverage for each is comprehensive, the fact that it only covers three I find a bit limiting. At all the schools I've taught, composition courses required four major writing... read more

    Reviewed by Bridget Pool, Professor of English, Northern Virginia Community College on 4/16/21

    One of the things I like about this book is that it offers a focused way of looking at 3 different aspects of writing rather than trying to cover absolutely everything about writing. It focuses on narration, responding to texts, and... read more

    Reviewed by Melody Heide, English Instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College on 10/28/20

    EmpoWord is a comprehensive first-year writing textbook that, as its subtitle dictates, is student centered. It includes an overview of three main different types of genres (narrative, textual analysis, and argument) and is thorough in its... read more

    Reviewed by Lorianne DiSabato, Visiting Lecturer, Framingham State University on 6/30/20

    This text contains a wealth of readings and a helpful rhetorical apparatus for a one-semester composition course structured around three major assignments: a personal narrative, a textual analysis, and a persuasive research essay. For courses... read more

    Reviewed by Elizabeth Knight, FT INSTRUCTOR, Portland Community College on 6/29/20

    Abrams chooses quality over quantity in his development of the text. He divides the book into 3 sections: 1. Narration, Description, Reflection which guides us through the process of writing a good 1st person narrative; 2. Text Wrestling, which... read more

    Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith, Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/23/20

    Empoword is one of the most comprehensive textbooks I've encountered. I stopped using textbooks a few years back, because so often I found that they lacked the key ideas I wanted to share with my students (and because they cost so much); this... read more

    Reviewed by Susan Levasseur, Part-time Instructor, Bridgewater State University on 6/8/20

    Abrams' EmpoWord provides a comprehensive guide for first-year writers with extensive student-focused explanations, hands-on exercises, and suggestions for workshops and assignments, as well as an impressive array of first-year student-authored... read more

    Reviewed by Vicki Byard, Professor of English and Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program, Northeastern Illinois University on 5/7/20

    This book is divided into three major "parts," each of which contain three chapters that provide instruction in distinct skills, followed by a "culminating assignment." If a teacher is using this text for a writing course that requires more than... read more

    Reviewed by Mark Latta, Assistant Professor, Marian University on 3/30/20

    EmpoWord addresses most, if not all, the rhetorical modes one would expect to be covered within a first-year college writing course. Description, narration, reflection, summary, interpretation, analysis, argumentation, and research writing are... read more

    Reviewed by Sabrina Jones, English Instructor, Marshall University on 2/10/20

    What I like most about this text is the depth. It covers concepts fitting for both basic and research-based composition, thus it can be used for multiple courses that scaffold. Content-wise, it’s really everything I didn’t know I was looking for... read more

    Reviewed by Elizabeth (Liz) MCLEMORE, English faculty, Minnesota State (Minneapolis College) on 6/24/19

    This book is a very good textbook for a one or two-semester, freshman-level college writing course (however, it does not include a grammar/punctuation handbook). As other reviewers have noted, it is an extensive text (teaching... read more

    Reviewed by Rebecca Owen, Part-Time Faculty, Chemeketa Community College on 5/20/19

    This book has a really thorough glossary of terms (relevant definitions are spread through each chapter). There are also quite a number of effective models of student work that demonstrate the text's concepts in action. Lots of activities and... read more

    Reviewed by Patricia France, English Skills Professor, College of Marin on 4/25/19

    What I appreciate about this textbook is the number of writing styles addressed and with examples. I think it offers a great resource for students to see the different was to write and how it can be applied in everyday experiences. There is a... read more

    Reviewed by Amanda Jacob, Instructor of English, NTCC on 4/23/19

    Overall, this text provided comprehensive material for students taking an English Composition II in the Louisiana Community College System. The information on analysis and argumentation is well put together, and the student sample essays are... read more

    Reviewed by Joyce Cottonham, Associate Professor/ English, Southern University Shreveport on 4/4/19, updated 5/6/19

    The textbook entitled: EmpoWord: A Student-Centered Anthology & Handbook for College Writers by Shane Abrams, Portland State University covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides a per chapter vocabulary, additional... read more

    Reviewed by Betina Entzminger, Professor, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on 3/13/19

    I would have liked the book to include more of a handbook section that would give students guidance on citation of sources and also on common stylistic and grammatical problems. The rhetoric sections were comprehensive, and I also liked the... read more

    Reviewed by Jonathan Lashley, Adjunct Faculty, Boise State University on 1/11/19

    This textbook has all of the features of a standard reference book (e.g., tables of contents, graphics, diagrams, sample writing, appendices, a glossary, etc.), but it prioritizes showing over explaining writing concepts. Its commitment to... read more

    Reviewed by Mark Litwicki, English Faculty, Morton College on 12/18/18

    The text covers a lot of ground, with different essay types and the attendant skills development sections and numerous example essays. The section on revision I think is quite well executed. The scope of the material makes it a little hard to... read more

    Reviewed by Maria Kingsbury, Associate Professor, Southwest Minnesota State University on 12/4/18

    In addition to including helpful sub-sections in each chapter summarizing important concepts and skills, this book contains a glossary, appendices, plenty of thoughtful additional supplementary readings, and a thorough explanation of the author's... read more

    Reviewed by Pauline Scott, Professor, Fort Hays State University on 11/27/18

    The text is perhaps too broad in its coverage to be entirely effective. read more

    Table of Contents

    Part One: Description, Narration, and Reflection

    • Chapter One: Describing a Scene or Experience
    • Chapter Two: Telling a Story
    • Chapter Three: Reflecting on an Experience
    • Assignment: Descriptive Personal Narrative

    Part Two: Text Wrestling

    • Chapter Four: Interpretation, Analysis, and Close Reading
    • Chapter Five: Summary and Reader-Response
    • Chapter Six: Analysis and Synthesis
    • Assignment: Text wrestling Analysis

    Part Three: Research and Argumentation

    • Chapter Seven: Argumentation
    • Chapter Eight: Research Concepts
    • Chapter Nine: Interacting with Sources
    • Assignment: Persuasive Research Essay

    Ancillary Material

    Submit ancillary resource

    About the Book

    EmpoWord is a reader and rhetoric that champions the possibilities of student writing. The textbook uses actual student writing to exemplify effective writing strategies, celebrating dedicated college writing students to encourage and instruct their successors: the students in your class. Through both creative and traditional activities, readers are encouraged to explore a variety of rhetorical situations to become more critical agents of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in all facets of their lives. Straightforward and readable instruction sections introduce key vocabulary, concepts, and strategies. Three culminating assignments (Descriptive Personal Narrative; Text-Wrestling Analysis; Persuasive Research Essay) give students a chance to show their learning while also practicing rhetorical awareness techniques for future writing situations.

    About the Contributors


    Shane Abrams, Portland State University

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