Conditions of Use
In terms of coverage of all of the major writing principles and strategies that tend to get taught in first-year writing, this text is very thorough. It covers everything from the writing process, to structuring and revising a text, to the... read more
In terms of coverage of all of the major writing principles and strategies that tend to get taught in first-year writing, this text is very thorough. It covers everything from the writing process, to structuring and revising a text, to the research process, to formatting in APA and MLA formats. I especially appreciated the inclusion of how to read in college-level writing classes, as this subject is not always covered in first-year writing textbooks. First-year students are often expected to know how to transfer their high school reading practices directly to college-level reading, when in actuality they need a lot more guidance in this process. This text is also specifically geared toward dual-enrollment students, making the inclusion of instruction on reading practices that much more important. The authors also make a point to include chapters that distinguish between the five-paragraph essay that most high school students are familiar with and the kinds of writing they will encounter in college, which will be very helpful for students who are navigating the transition from high school to college-level writing.
In terms of content, I noticed no issues with accuracy. The text’s chapters all contain accurate and well-supported information from the field of Writing Studies, and all chapters include a clear reference section at the bottom of each page. I did notice a few broken/outdated links to resources or cited sources, however (one in 5.7, 6.6, 7.3, 7.4, 8.4, 9.2, 9.5, 10.3 and 11.1), bringing this category’s score down a bit.
I think most of the references and examples the authors use to demonstrate the principles they describe will be helpful and relevant to first-year writing students. Students will especially appreciate the chapters that include video instruction, particularly the chapters centering on multimodality, which is a difficult concept for students to understand without the use of multimodal communication. I think some chapters could use a bit more of these multimodal elements to engage students of today and break up the monotony of alphabetic text, especially when discussing particularly dense concepts. Also, some of the references to social media are a bit outdated. Most references are to writing Facebook posts or Twitter posts (which is now called X), and most first-year students now are not using those platforms to communicate. Rather, I find that most of my first-year students are using platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Finally, I think the plagiarism and citation chapters should include how to cite and ethically use AI.
In the “About This Book” section, the authors mention that the text is deliberately written by different authors for each chapter and therefore “lacks a unifying tone” to reinforce the concept that writing is collaborative and to start “conversations in writing class about how writing ‘actually works in the real word.’” As a reader, I definitely picked up on the difference in tone and voice among chapters, and for the most part, the text’s chapters would be very accessible and welcoming to first-year students who are encountering some of these principles for the first time. Some chapters were a bit more dense and difficult than others, though–chapter 7.4 on “Clarity and Concision” comes to mind as it used some vocabulary students may be unfamiliar with. Some concepts used throughout the text may be unfamiliar to first-year students and were not defined enough for them. The most important ones I noticed were “genre,” “the conversation,” “discipline/disciplinarity,” and “conventions.” These are all terms that I have to spend a lot of time unpacking in my own first-year writing courses and could use some more explanation (for example, before mentioning the conversation, describing the Burkean parlor metaphor for “the unending conversation” and how it relates to the reading and writing we do in academia).
Chapters that linked to concepts explored in previous or future chapters were incredibly helpful and provided unity to the text. This happened frequently, though not always, and I think building in more of that circularity would make the whole text feel more coherent and tied together. At some points, I noticed that terms would be defined or conceptualized differently in different chapters. For instance, in Chapter 5.1, the term “claim” was described as a “working” thesis (an earlier, more rough version of a thesis), whereas in Chapter 5.4, claim was used as just another word for thesis.
I think all of the chapters of this text could be used in any order for a first-year writing class. Instructors could easily assign whatever chapters they find most relevant to their classes without losing meaning or context. Instructors would also be able to build upon the text using their own materials--the text is not meant to be assigned as reading without additional classroom activities/assignments.
I think the movement from reading and rhetorically analyzing texts, to producing texts/conducting research is very logical. If an instructor was to assign all of the chapters in order, it would make sense and students would be able to follow its logic quite easily.
See my previous comments on some broken/dead links (one in 5.7, 6.6, 7.3, 7.4, 8.4, 9.2, 9.5, 10.3 and 11.1).
The text isn't error-free (I counted around 15 typos in total), but it is not so frequent that it hampers the text's meaning.
I thought the use of examples and sample texts were very inclusive and covered a range of experiences, backgrounds, and topics.
I loved the exercises and resources included at the ends of some chapters. I think building in more of those would be incredibly useful. I also liked the chapters that included quizzes, as they added an interactive element that would engage students.
This book covered most aspects of writing; This book will generally help all first-year students who are currently / immediately transitioning from high school to college. Although experts predominately wrote the book from the state of... read more
This book covered most aspects of writing; This book will generally help all first-year students who are currently / immediately transitioning from high school to college.
Although experts predominately wrote the book from the state of Louisiana, I believe any (Pre-Fall semester) Summer School and First Year student orientation administrators, nationwide, will find this book useful and should consider it as one of the required or reference tools for first year orientation or seminar.
Although there is no glossary, there is a comprehensive Works Cited with relevant links, and an Appendix, accessibility checklist, respectively.
Although there is a lot of content for a freshman writer to absorb in one sitting (the book has 355 total pages), I found the content to be very accurate, helpful, unbiased.
Although there was some presented, I do wish there was more content on pre-writing, especially in regards to formulation of the outline.
Nevertheless, there was plenty of addition content in this book one that other books may not include.
In every section, the relevance of content is introduced and explained.
This production can not only stand the test of time, but it can serve more ideally as a reference manual or as a reference handbook that one can use as a reference tool for improving his/her writing.
Some of the sections in the text include relevant questions and exercises to engage the students.
The best, most impressive, yet appreciative revelation of this text it that, from the beginning to end, the writers made certain that the content of the text was very clear to the reader. For example, even throughout the Preface and Introduction, the writers make very clear of its purpose, target audience, and contributions made from additional writers.
The text is written in a friendly, professional, yet personal mode as if the writer is speaking directly to a student. Therefore, it would be easy for anyone who read it to be able to absorb the information presented.
The writers state their philosophy up front. They explain that the text is to function more like a “manual guide”, more so than a “textbook”.
They even quote statistics from the American Association of Colleges and Universities to help convince the student reader why writing is so important.
Incoming students and current professors will appreciate how the writers give the student readers a “precursor” to what to expect (from their upcoming college instructors), not only in regards to their writing, but from their transitioning from high school to college in general.
Throughout the book, the writers give the (student) reader clear examples, definitions, suggestions, and tips that will help them understand class assignments, the expectations of the instructor.
The writers are consistently, strategically and impressively answering the student readers’ question of, “Why should I do this?”
This text has so many various sub-units that the instructor can assign students to read any section with ease, or use the information as reference material in the course lecture discussions.
Perhaps the section on the definition of “Rhetoric could have been better presented earlier than part three, especially since the section on “Reading Rhetorically” was presented before it. Other than that, the Organization is very clear and the Table of Contents section and its links are operable, and very user-friendly in a critically appreciative and valuable way.
The sample reference page (on page 335) is blurred and does not appear clear enough for the reader to see.
In addition, there were a few blank pages with no text in some of the pages in between some sections and chapters. However, this could be a plus for those readers who like extra pages for writing notes, etc., but could be an annoyance to those who prefer not to disrupt the reading flow.
I found this manual to be well edited. I did not notice any visible grammatical errors.
I did not notice any cultural offences or biases; however, as a credit to the writers of this book, I did see a section in the text that gives instructions on how a writer can look for any author biases when one is reading rhetorically or researching critically.
Overall, I give this book five (5) stars.
It is an excellent manual and writing resource guide that includes a wealth of information that freshmen can use as a "go to" source for writing beyond the freshman level. It is worthy of consideration for use at various institutions.
Table of Contents
- About This Book
- Chapter 1: The Introduction
- Chapter 2: Reading in Writing Class
- Chapter 3: Thinking and Analyzing Rhetorically
- Chapter 4: Writing a Summary and Synthesizing
- Chapter 5: The Writing Process
- Chapter 6: Structuring, Paragraphing, and Styling
- Chapter 7: Revising and Refining
- Chapter 8: Multimodal Reading and Visual Rhetoric
- Chapter 9: The Research Process
- Chapter 10: Sources and Research
- Chapter 11: Ethical Source Integration: Citation, Quoting, and Paraphrasing
- Chapter 12: Documentation Styles: MLA and APA
- Works Cited
- Appendix A: Checklist for Accessibility
Ancillary MaterialSubmit ancillary resource
About the Book
Rhetoric Matters: A Guide to Success in the First Year Writing Class offers students necessary concepts and practice to learn all the elements needed for successful first year writing and set the stage for future writing success in college.
This textbook was created as part of the Interactive OER for Dual Enrollment project, facilitated by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network and funded by a $2 million Open Textbooks Pilot Program grant from the Department of Education. This project supports the extension of access to high-quality post-secondary opportunities to high school students across Louisiana and beyond. This project features a collaboration between educational systems in Louisiana, the library community, Pressbooks technology partner, and workforce representatives. It will enable and enhance the delivery of open educational resources (OER) and interactive quiz and assessment elements for priority dual enrollment courses in Louisiana and nationally. Developed OER course materials will be released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification and sharing with others.
The target audience for this project and this textbook are dual enrollment students. Dual enrollment is the opportunity for a student to be enrolled in high school and college at the same time. A dual enrollment student receives credit on both their high school and college transcripts for the same course.
About the Contributors
Adam Falik, Southern University of New Orleans
Dr. Dorie LaRue, professor of English at Louisiana State University, Shreveport
Dr. Tracey Watts, instructor in English at Loyola University of New Orleans