Let's Get Writing!
Copyright Year: 2018
Publisher: Virginia Western Community College
Conditions of Use
This textbook is very comprehensive and easy to navigate. It provides excellent coverage of the main elements of writing academic essays, and includes chapters on Rhetoric and well as Research. There is no evident index or glossary, which I feel... read more
This textbook is very comprehensive and easy to navigate. It provides excellent coverage of the main elements of writing academic essays, and includes chapters on Rhetoric and well as Research. There is no evident index or glossary, which I feel is the only downfall of this text.
Not only is the content accurate, error-free, and up-to-date, but it's obvious that the authors make a great effort to be inclusive of all people and maintain an unbiased approach to the lessons and examples.
This text makes it clear that it knows its audience. It discusses the different expectation that students are faced with in high school versus college, and also gives relevant examples using up-to-date mediums, such as Tweets. It also utilizes bullet points and hand-written examples, which will be easy to update over time when these examples are no longer relevant.
This is an easy text for the student to read. It provides context for jargon and gives numerous examples of practice. The exercises are within the chapters (not at the end), which provide additional opportunities to understand the material being presented. “Key Takeaways” at the end of each chapter help sum up the main points for the students to review.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework. The terminology and framework of the text is consistent for the subject matter on writing, researching, and critical thinking.
The layout of the text is well-organized and makes it easy to break into appropriate teaching modules. These could easily be shifted if the instructor wanted to without creating disruption for the readers.
The arrangement of the text is easy to follow. I appreciate the emphasis on rhetoric and research intertwined with the writing process. The "Writing Basics" and "Punctuation" instruction is towards the end of the book, which I think is better than presenting them at the beginning.
No noticeable interface issues. Text is very easy to navigate and no images were distorted or confusing.
Excellent. No issues.
The text is culturally sensitive and is successful in being inclusive to different types of learners. For example, they recognize that students may be either "readers" or "listeners," which is very inclusive of students with learning or hearing disabilities.
What I like most about this text is how clear the writing is. I think students will find this textbook easy to follow, yet challenging enough to help them grasp the rhetorical, research, and writing concepts and processes.
This book covers many different writing topics at great depth. For students new to college composition classes, it's a strong primer to college writing. The rhetorical modes chapter (5) is lengthy and well done. This would be an adequate textbook... read more
This book covers many different writing topics at great depth. For students new to college composition classes, it's a strong primer to college writing. The rhetorical modes chapter (5) is lengthy and well done. This would be an adequate textbook to use if you would like to avoid having students pay for a textbook. I will argue, however, that some chapters and even passages might feel too long for the average composition student.
I found the textbook to be accurate and unbiased.
I think that the authors made it a point to try to be relevant - there are many memes and references to social media. Many of the cultural references, however, date back 3-10 years. For some students just starting college and reading about a pop culture reference, they would have been 8 years old at the height of its popularity. I think some of those examples and references would have to be updated every few years.
I really liked how the book breaks down rhetoric - it's a great intro for students who are new to rhetoric. I would consider using that chapter to teach my students.
The book has several authors, so sometimes the depth, the tone, and the examples vary widely across chapters. I felt it took away from the book's cohesiveness, but I don't think students would realize it.
The text can definitely be divided into smaller reading sections. I did, however, find that the text tended to refer to itself many times throughout the book - I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.
I really liked how the book was organized. Well done.
I downloaded the PDF so that I could view the book offline - this creates significant distortion of images, charts, basically all visual aids. All images force a new page to start, so there are many pages that are ¼ to ¾ blank. There are many broken links; some links refer to newspaper articles that need a paid subscription. These definitely should be addressed. Students will most likely want to use the online version.
I found the text to be generally error-free grammatically.
The text is not culturally insensitive, but I didn't think it made a significant effort to be inclusive.
I think the textbook itself is valuable - I was not a fan of all the links to other open sources that have been already removed. I think that detracts from the actual text - perhaps that would be more valuable in a teacher's resource or separate appendix for the instructor. I would recommend using parts of it (chapters and activities) to supplement other readings in your class.
The content of the text is very applicable to first-semester college students, especially students in need of more guidance. Chapter 1: Critical Reading sets the stage for the text, as it shows students how to approach a text before they start... read more
The content of the text is very applicable to first-semester college students, especially students in need of more guidance. Chapter 1: Critical Reading sets the stage for the text, as it shows students how to approach a text before they start writing about it, which is a skill many first-semester students are lacking. In addition to providing practical strategies, the chapter also shows students what to expect in composition course, highlighting the differences between college-level writing and high school writing. The transparency on college instructors’ expectations can help students more easily transition into the course, and can ultimately help with student success. The section on Critical Reading also does a great job outlining the different types of writing that students may encounter in other college courses, and shows how composition courses help students transfer gained knowledge beyond the realm of academia. After the first chapter, the text becomes more focused on writing in particular genres. The text is centered around the idea that all writing is an argument, and therefore, it focuses heavily on defining rhetoric, examining the rhetorical situation, and creating academic arguments. As with the Critical Reading chapter, Chapter 2: Rhetorical Analysis and Chapter 3: Argument do a great job explaining the WHY to students. These sections show students the value and impact writing of writing and the consequences of not using rhetoric effectively.The chapters on rhetoric and argument provide excellent explanations, pertinent key terms, practical examples, and engaging activities.
Content is accurate and unbiased.
The examples and activities are current and mostly relevant to younger students; for example, one activity asks students to examine and critique tweets posted on social media. Providing activities that are familiar and relevant to students make the material more approachable and comprehensible. In addition to providing examples from outlets the students are likely to engage with, the text also acknowledges that students will primarily researching online, and thus, Chapters 6: Finding and Using Outside Sources and Chapter 7: How and Why to Cite provide useful information on understanding plagiarism, evaluating credibility, and working with sources. While the text as a whole is relevant to a generation that heavily relies on the internet, it could provide more examples and references that are more culturally diverse.
The text is well written and easy to understand.
While the first three chapters are consistent and valuable, Chapter 4: The Writing Process and Chapter 5: Rhetorical Modes are very basic and underwhelming; however, these sections may be a useful base for instructors who want to develop more unique assignments.
Rather than collaborating on each chapter, the authors were responsible for writing different chapters. Because of this there is a slight difference in style and tone, and some chapters are stronger than others.
The first three chapters are organized appropriately. However, I do question the placement of Chapter 4: The Writing Process. It seems like Chapter 4 should be swapped with Chapter 5.
The text is mostly intuitive and easy to follow.
The text is well written.
The text is not culturally insensitive; however, more examples could be used that are inclusive to different races, ethnicity, and backgrounds.
Overall, I found the text to be relevant, useful, clearly written, and void of error.
I thought the textbook was very comprehensive in terms of dealing with all of the pertinent aspects of composition including critical reading, rhetorical analysis, citation, punctuation and much more. It covers all of the basics of the main... read more
I thought the textbook was very comprehensive in terms of dealing with all of the pertinent aspects of composition including critical reading, rhetorical analysis, citation, punctuation and much more. It covers all of the basics of the main topics of my freshman writing course.
Accuracy was good, for the most part. I particularly appreciated the accuracy of the Punctuation section, which was helpful.
It was obvious that the writers wanted this text to feel contemporary. They included examples from social media as well as classic literature which I found to be a very smart move.
At times, some of the concepts could have been maybe a little easier to comprehend, but mostly I thought it was well-done and accesible.
I found the consistency to be consistent and terms were explained and used throughout the text.
Some sections were a little long, but mostly I thought it could be broken up into easily digestible sections.
I thought the book was clear in its major sections and the information included in the major sections were broken up into sub-sections which was helpful.
I did not notice any interface issues.
I did not notice many, if any, grammatical mistakes.
I did not think there was anything offensive about the content, though maybe they could have done a slightly better job of speaking to more races and backgrounds.
Overall, a successful textbook that I would be happy to implement into the first-year composition classroom. Many of the subjects discussed are ones that I have on a regular basis with my students, and I think the authors did a good job of explaining these concepts in a clear and mostly engaging way.
Let’s Get Writing offers a great overview of material for the first-year writing student. Many introductory texts for academic writing struggle to cover the breadth and depth of possible scenarios instructors want to present to their classes. This... read more
Let’s Get Writing offers a great overview of material for the first-year writing student. Many introductory texts for academic writing struggle to cover the breadth and depth of possible scenarios instructors want to present to their classes. This text, however, successfully addresses a wide range of writing contexts for students, grounded in a sense of purposefulness that touches on both academic and workplace scenarios. While the text is searchable, and the table of contents links to each chapter, readers may find it difficult to navigate beyond the layout of the text. There are no subcategories in the TOC, and the index is present but not populated. The lack of indexed categories (or glossary) might also present new users with some difficulty in searching terms beyond using find functions (like CTRL-F). At the same time, there are numerous links within each of the chapters, connecting students to resources like heuristics for critical reading, online samples of genres, and more. Finally, the PDF version of the text demonstrates some inconsistent spacing between text and figures; in some instances, there are large gaps between the reference to an image and the image itself.
Let’s Get Writing offers accurate content, providing students with a variety of examples of rhetorical elements from modes, to appeals, to an up-to-date listing of logical fallacies. Whether instructors choose to emphasize modes of writing or contexts for rhetoric in the workplace, the authors have done a fine job of providing options for students and teachers alike to delve into what writing looks like in a number of different scenarios. Readers can find one great example in the attention the authors pay to a fourth rhetorical element, one sometimes left out of the composition equation, kairos; however, it would be nice to see a brief discussion on the choice to capitalize kairos while leave the other rhetorical appeals lower-cased.
Let’s Get Writing offers relevant, contemporary content, providing students with a variety of examples of rhetorical elements from modes, to appeals, to an up-to-date listing of logical fallacies. Whether instructors choose to emphasize modes of writing, contexts for rhetoric in the workplace, or a glance at the influence of rhetoric in social media, the authors have done a fine job of providing options for student to explore writing across a number of boundaries.
The text uses a voice to which students will easily relate. It will not leave students frustrated with both their writing assignments and the tools they might use to complete those assignments. For example, when sections of the text cross-reference with other sections that are yet to come or have been reviewed already, the authors provide links to those parts of the text, allowing students to navigate to those related subjects. Another great addition here is that the authors provide one of the clearest discussions of both the Rogerian and Toulmin arguments readers will find in composition textbooks.
The text uses a balance in tone and exploration that is consistent throughout. The attention the authors give to each category of the text will help students successfully navigate the terrain of academic writing. Further, the layout for each chapter presents the elements of the text in a way that readers will come to recognize quickly. The text introduces major categories up front, with each section separated into a set of explanations, scenarios, applications, and key terms to follow.
Each chapter of the text lends itself to a clearly outlined unit of learning in the average composition class. The text seems to integrate into many instructors’ approaches to teaching first-year composition. Within each chapter, the authors address a clearly defined element of writing and then offer ways to practice what the chapter introduces. Furthermore, the clear setup for each chapter makes it easy to move around the text in a more personalized way. Diagrams, writing tips, concise writing, and clearly sub-headed sections provide readers with realistic, user-friendly ways to digest the subjects the text addresses.
The text will easily follow the basic order of the first-year writing course. There is a logical progression of topics, from the basics of critical reading and rhetorical elements, to the process of writing, researching, and polishing one’s writing. Instructors and students both should be able to integrate the text into the work they find themselves doing in the first-year composition classroom.
The online interface and downloadable PDF versions of this text are clear and easy to navigate when moving from chapter to chapter. Navigating within the chapters is a little more complicated in that one cannot navigate to subsections of the text easily without using the bookmarking features of one’s reading platform (a browser or PDF reader, for example).
Let’s Get Writing presents its content in clear, concise language that students will find easy to read. It provides well-crafted explanations of material that most students will already find new and unfamiliar. Minor issues in capitalization of the “Tip” sections are present only in the PDF version of the text.
This text is culturally relevant in that provides no offensive scenarios that can isolate students from a variety of backgrounds. The authors present a text that diverse students will find both useful and approachable.
The book attempts to cover a lot of subjects related to writing, and does so in a sense. However, since degree of comprehensiveness is subjective, it is up to the reader to decide. For my purposes, this book was comprehensive in areas I did not... read more
The book attempts to cover a lot of subjects related to writing, and does so in a sense. However, since degree of comprehensiveness is subjective, it is up to the reader to decide. For my purposes, this book was comprehensive in areas I did not need it to be, and cursory in areas where I thought more detail was needed. More about the actual writing process would have been helpful.
While all of the content is relevant to writing, from the title one would expect a more interactive type of text geared towards actually getting students immersed in the act of writing. It doesn't live up to this expectation. While there are exercises, they occupy a small portion of the text. Some of the content is similar to what I would use, but other parts (the ones I consider most vital) differ significantly from the expectations I have for my students' writing, such that I would not use them (i.e. thesis statements).
The content is somewhat up to date, for a rhetoric text. They haven't quite gone over to the genre-analysis camp yet, for which I am grateful, but their description of rhetorical modes and how to actually write an essay leave something to be desired. They only briefly touch on specific citation styles, but these are the areas where change is most often going to occur and require revision. In this sense, they won't be outdated too quickly since they don't go into specific detail.
This book is somewhat verbose and jargon heavy. While they do provide sections with key vocabulary for each chapter, some chapters are extremely, and somewhat unnecessarily, dense.
For the most part, the book seems consistent in their phrasing and language used to describe concepts. There are links connecting ideas between chapters.
There are headings and subheadings for sections which can be assigned separately, but I feel as though some of the chapters should have been divided into multiple chapters. They tried to do too much at once, especially in chapter 3.
I understand the choice to start the text with the reading chapter, but waiting until chapter 4 to actually discuss the writing process was a poor choice.
PDF version: I was not fond of the size of some of the images that cause huge gaps in spacing between paragraphs. The shifting sizes of highlighted boxes that didn't align with each other was also rather messy looking and hard to navigate in the PDF form. ONLINE version: This format was cleaner and had less spacing issues. The disconnect between the font types and sizes used in the charts, figures, and images was rather inconsistent and looked a bit sloppy at times.
There didn't appear to be any glaring issues with grammar that I detected, although on closer examination these might become apparent. There were some inconsistencies with bolding text in words though (in some cases only part of the word was bolded).
Some of the memes used for logical fallacies, while they are there for a reason, may be considered culturally insensitive for some populations. The text only really acknowledges an American lens of writing, culture, and values.
This text might be suitable for a homogenous, American English composition type of class, but some of the American cultural references would not make sense to writers with other cultural backgrounds. Also, more emphasis on the actual writing process would be helpful.
While this textbook addresses all the main areas and ideas surrounding an entry-level composition course, I find the different sections to be uneven. For example, Chapter One: Critical Reading, contains a lengthy section on annotation, yet only... read more
While this textbook addresses all the main areas and ideas surrounding an entry-level composition course, I find the different sections to be uneven. For example, Chapter One: Critical Reading, contains a lengthy section on annotation, yet only brief nods to “Why do You Read Critically”? Also, perhaps in a book entitled Let’s get Writing, we should do just that. The Writing Process doesn’t begin until chapter four? There are a number of useful links and practice possibilities, but none were necessarily very novel.
Content is relatively accurate and error free. The problem here is not the accuracy of the information, but rather the delivery. There’s an attempt to cover absolutely everything and, as a result, most of the content is cursory and limited. Difficult concepts are often ignored or explained in a glancing way, such as rules regarding comma usage, whereas alternatively there is an entire section on subject and verb identification.
Content is, again, relatively up to date. Sections like those on Greek rhetorical terms get bogged down with somewhat arcane definitions. ‘Kairotic appeals’ might be a bit much at this stage if we are still concerned with understanding simpler concepts. I am not entirely sure how efficiently this text could seamlessly incorporate relevant updates. The text appears to have one foot in the past, and one in the present, but not an eye toward the future.
Sometimes, it seems as though the authors are writing for students and sometimes for other educators. Some simple terms and concepts are explained (e.g. text, what is a statement?) while other more complex ideas are left mysteriously wanting. A focused approach regarding audience and main objectives might be more effective.
The text is internally consistent, however, the manner in which subjects are discussed is not always very visually appealing or easily accessible. Long lists of bullet points or otherwise choppy sections are somewhat distracting from the main ideas.
The text contains numerous smaller divisions within each major sub heading but are often counterintuitive or confusing. Finding and Using Outside Sources has a whole section dedicated to topic selection.
The authors clearly made intentional choices regarding organizational structure, including the introduction of some rudimentary grammar and writing skills. I do not believe, however, that it very effective in its layout and flow for all the previously mentioned reasons. All the parts are there, but it is somewhat like Frankenstein's monster.
All charts appear accurate if somewhat rudimentary and not altogether entirely accessible. They often seem to be rather large and not particularly informative. I experienced no interface issues.
To my eyes, the text is fairly wholly free of grammatical errors. This is largely due to relatively simple sentence construction, which may be more universally understandable, but occasionally falls prey to over simplification.
The text is not overtly insensitive or offensive, nor is it particularly inclusive. There’s been an effort made to have generic examples, but that is about it.
Overall, a lack of focus, general organization and presentation issues, and uneven delivery, plague this very well intentioned, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt of a basic composition textbook. There are numerous other texts, including OTL and OER resources, which tackle this task far more effectively.
This book attempts to cover basically key rhetorical aspects of writing and basic tools as a start point. Each chapter covers a key component in a way that includes basic notions, tips, key takeaways, exercises, assignments, and useful external... read more
This book attempts to cover basically key rhetorical aspects of writing and basic tools as a start point. Each chapter covers a key component in a way that includes basic notions, tips, key takeaways, exercises, assignments, and useful external links to videos and/or readings that expand and motivates writing. Because of this rhetorical focus, instead of using exclusively literature or films references—something that it is common and useful for composition classes—it encourages to build on solid argument, logical assemblage, linguistic clarity with a variety of external links and types of texts. This articulated goal of academic writing is ideal for developing writing skills that are necessary to think. Previous to the study of a particular discipline such as literary studies, the basic themes of the book stimulate the reading habit embodied in a deep desire to go beyond the surface. It is an effective way to build an indivisible and dynamic practice of reading/writing.
Even though the definitions and examples are short, in general the whole book presents a solid coherence around the idea of writing as a way of thinking through contexts and purpose. I appreciate the directness of the whole craft approach. You might miss an artistic perspective in the scope of the chapters in the sense of working with non-instrumentalised lines of thinking that disrupt prevailing norms (if you look for an inclusive creative writing activities). The stress of the collection of chapters goes to a learning process of reading and writing to persuade, to think in order to explain, to learn how to do research to expand and consolidate in the academic life of the college student.
Every chapter is open to incorporate new subjects to illustrate or deepen the involved writing aspects. Most exercises and assignments focus on the writing process, and they are practical and basic. Don’t expect notorious inspirational elements that lie outside the realm of technique and strategy, which is something that I miss throughout this book because I’ve been teaching a Spanish creative writing class for some years now. Since reading is an important component of a writing course, reading for wonder would complement the important driving force of critical thinking skills. Nevertheless I appreciate the way each chapter is organized, because its practicality invites me to consider its use in my Spanish creative writing class. Its concise structure may last many years to come.
All the chapters are concise and in a very ordered disposition. Instead of long paragraphs, the general tone is articulated in short sentences. I like that aspect because it gives the instructor more freedom to accommodate and adapt the exercises and assignments to student’s actual level.
I like the heading, organization, and presentation of each chapter. Always to the point. Because the chapters are written by different authors, you might expect some discrepancies or bigger differences. But each chapter has its own merit and gifts, plus it is always explicitly connected to other chapters of the book with concrete links and suggestions. At the beginning the authors clarify the premise of the whole book: the guiding features are foundations of a discipline, at the same time the driving force of learning to study through writing and reading in any college career. So you can check the core premises of “Let’s Get Writing” in few words: “Every good piece of writing is an argument; every worth reading and writing begins with a specific question; improving skills takes practice, feedback, and re-thinking, redoing, revising.”
I like the way the explanations, exercises and assignments are out lined through interesting key areas of studying: rhetorical approach (Chap. 1 Critical Reading; , Chap. 2 Rhetorical Analysis; Chap. 3 Argument; Chap. 4 The Writing Process; Chap. 5 Rhetorical Modes), research skills (Chap. 6 Finding and Using Outside Sources; chap. 7 How and Why to Cite), and pragmatic language basics (Chap. 8 Writing Basics: What makes a good sentence?; Chap. 9 Punctuation; Chap. 10 working with words: which word is right? Word choice and Vocabulary-building strategies). The proposed work for students is not overwhelmingly extensive or difficult, to the contrary, I would say that the instructor may take as an advantage to substitute or add additional homework.
The way each chapter is design seems very simple, but that could be apparent, because you should keep in mind that the whole book keeps its coherence very well. There are very basic skills in play that are also weave to a complex design that is not so evident. In that sense, the structure of each chapter allows the reader to get advantage of a non-linear approach that encourages an associative way of thinking, which makes reading and writing more dynamic and alive.
Each part is designed to directly practice the main notions of the subject. It carefully uses exercises and links that allow the student to absorb and develop a potential fruitful dialogue between the student and the matter to study. It allows a smooth navigation through its entire length.
I did not locate a single grammatical error. This text looks very professional.
You might find this book in the formalist tradition that establish craft principles based on a disciplinary anxiety use, as you can see clearly and provocatively explained by Janelle Adsit in her book Toward an Inclusive Creative Writing : Threshold Concepts to Guide the Literary Writing Curriculum (Bloomsbury, 2017). But as a teacher of writing, we need to balance this formalist approach with contextualized and inspirational subjects—I would say, it depends on how you expand the key matter of purpose. If you belief that writing is more than a necessary communication skill, more than skillful management of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, probably you need more advanced materials to use in your class. But a shocking reality will be out of your hands and in front of your eyes: the unreadable page, the skipped participation, the unwanted task of writing for your class. For me this book incites me to think in more innovative ways to address the blind spots that we all have in our respective bubbles without silencing student voices. To the contrary, this book makes me to encourage our students to keep going in their academic route with the wonderful and powerful tool of reading and writing.
I like to use this book in my Spanish creative class, but adapting it in a context of profound diverse cultural context. “Let’s Get Writing” gave me more useful ideas to apply in the design of the writing component in my other Spanish classes as well. It can be also useful to complement what you want to develop in your class, because it is very basic. We are missing in our classes the basic tools for creating a space of learning, of personal growth, and of healing. So this open textbook might be in your sight. But I am not sure if I will use it in its entire length because I am interested to develop a sense of discovering the other (to bring up a wide variety of texts that are not included in the book) and to challenge my students in front of diverse contingencies that register cross-cultural awareness and creative zeal. Even though you might find bigger limitations, I like this simplicity and focus of each chapter. You might use it for one of your sub-graduate classes as well.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 - Critical Reading
- Chapter 2 - Rhetorical Analysis
- Chapter 3 - Argument
- Chapter 4 - The Writing Process
- Chapter 5 - Rhetorical Modes
- Chapter 6 - Finding and Using Outside Sources
- Chapter 7 - How and Why to Cite
- Chapter 8 - Writing Basics: What Makes a Good Sentence?
- Chapter 9 - Punctuation
- Chapter 10 - Working With Words: Which Word is Right?
About the Book
This introduction is designed to exemplify how writers think about and produce text. The guiding features are the following:
- Every good piece of writing is an argument.
- Everything worth writing and reading begins with a specific question.
- Improving skills takes practice, feedback, and re-thinking, redoing, revising.
The layout of our book implies there is a beginning, middle, and end to a writing course, but because writing is both an art and a skill, people will find their own processes for learning, improving, and using these skills. Writing processes differ because we are each looking for a workable schemata that fits our way of thinking. Try out a variety of writing processes and strategies, and find what works for you. If you are not uncomfortable on this journey, you simply are not stretching yet. Learning is prickly, awkward, and risky, so if it does not feel a bit unnerving, push harder and farther.
About the Contributors