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Read more about The Word on College Reading and Writing

The Word on College Reading and Writing

(34 reviews)

Monique Babin

Carol Burnell, Clackamas Community College

Susan Pesznecker, Clackamas Community College

Nicole Rosevear, Clackamas Community College

Jaime Wood, Portland State University

Copyright Year: 2017

Publisher: Open Oregon Educational Resources

Language: English

Formats Available

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Reviewed by Lisa Parra, Professor of Reading, Johnson County Community College on 5/13/22

This text offers a wide variety of strategies in reading and writing that would be appropriate for introductory college students and for the high school level. The portion on reading, in particular, does a nice job explaining the task of a... read more

Reviewed by Christine Wittmer, Learning Specialist, University of Southern Indiana on 4/28/22

I teach Academic Reading Strategies and I couldn’t find a text from the list that would be a good substitute to the course’s learning objectives. The book I chose to review was written in two halves, one on reading and one on writing. The... read more

Reviewed by Nick Mancini, Assistant Professor of Reading, Johnson County Community College on 4/25/22

Generally comprehensive as an INTRODUCTION to high-level reading and writing. I think this could be used for late high school too. While the brevity and conciseness is overall a positive for a text like this, there are a few sections that... read more

Reviewed by Olga Gould, Assistant Professor Reading/Literacy, Eastern New Mexico University on 1/1/22, updated 4/22/24

It needs to be stated up front that this book is easy to comprehend. In its Introduction section, the authors explain how to use this text and for who it was meant. The book is divided into multiple chapters/sections each of which has a... read more

Reviewed by Christopher Zimmerly-Beck, Associate Faculty, Clackamas Community College on 11/15/21

The material in this textbook is an excellent tool for helping students meet the learning outcomes of an introductory composition course, i.e., WR121. The book covers everything from building strong literacy skills to engaging with texts to... read more

Reviewed by Jeffrey Breitenfeldt, Associate Professor, Roxbury Community College on 6/28/21

This text covers a wide range of skills for writing--from advice crafting titles to managing anxiety/writer's block to rhetorical tools like audience/purpose and even instruction on information literacy. However, one of its best and more unique... read more

Reviewed by L Boyd, English faculty, Portland Community College on 6/14/21

An ambitious undertaking, this text covers reading, information literacy, and writing processes independently and as integrated components of college learning. The authors connect with students in an accessible, friendly tone and with relevant... read more

Reviewed by Riley McGuire, Assistant Professor, Worcester State University on 6/7/21

The authors do an excellent job covering the central elements of their ambitious dual foci on college reading and writing. I appreciate the textbook’s elucidation of the generative feedback loop between strong critical reading skills and the... read more

Reviewed by Laura Schlegel, Faculty, Holyoke Community College on 6/1/21

The book is great at starting before the beginning. I like that the authors start with what it means to be a college student reading college texts and the checklists for students. Going into how to be a good reader is often overlooked in first... read more

Reviewed by Thomasina Hughey, Instructor, Integrated Reading and Writing, Aiken Technical College on 2/22/21

As a source for integrated reading and writing, I found the text to be a foundational reading source; although more heavily weighted towards writing. I appreciated the "Check Your Understanding" sections. read more

Reviewed by Rachana Son, Part-Time Writing Faculty, Portland Community College on 1/15/21

The textbook manages to demystify reading at a college-level by breaking down active reading into steps including pre-reading strategies and effective note-taking. There are also tips for analyzing texts and detailed demonstrations of... read more

Reviewed by Shanell Sanchez, Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Southern Oregon University on 1/12/21

Wow, this text covered reading and writing in one! I was so impressed with how the book was able to start at the basics of learning to read successfully in college (and life) to writing. I teach a methods course that I have always found so... read more

Reviewed by Christian Aguiar, Asst Professor of English, The University of the District of Columbia on 12/22/20

The text offers a shorter, more concise approach to research-based writing than the traditional first-year writing textbook - it is, in some ways, more like an extended or enhanced writing handbook. It covers the most important elements of a... read more

Reviewed by Patricia Lynne, Professor, Framingham State University on 6/30/20

The book does a very good job with reading guidance and support, both the work of reading and writing about texts -- much better than most first-year writing texts that I have used (both OER and not). It also covers writing process matters and... read more

Reviewed by Ben Greenlee, Instructor, Colorado State University on 6/30/20

As other reviewers have stated, a "comprehensive" discussion of reading and writing could fill volumes so the term may not be as applicable here. That said, I do feel this book lays out many fundamental aspects of reading and writing for early... read more

Reviewed by Zach Buscher, Assistant Professor of English, Mount Wachusett Community College on 6/29/20

The textbook covers all of the information found in the tried and true style guide I've been using for the past ten years. My students will benefit greatly from getting this same information free of charge. In some ways, it goes beyond the... read more

Reviewed by Luana McCuish, Professor of English, Bunker Hill Community College on 6/29/20

The text is thorough in its exploration of the reading and writing connection. It includes helpful examples for the student. It will work well for entry-level students since it covers many topics that may be unfamiliar to a new student, whether... read more

Reviewed by Julie Tovar, Adjunct Instructor, Middlesex Community College on 6/2/20

This textbook is comprehensive without being overwhelming. For example, it starts from the basics of "What is a Text?" yet also explores various aspects of textual analysis--from sentence and paragraph levels to synthesizing readings. read more

Reviewed by Molly McClennen, Instructor, Marshall University on 5/12/20

I have been looking for a book that covers the full range of topics I cover in the reading/writing classes I teach without overwhelming the students with a lot of extraneous information we will not be covering in the class. Most books either take... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Suter, Assistant Professor of English, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 3/6/20

I don't think that the word "comprehensiveness" is easily applied to subjects as capacious as reading and writing, frankly, but there is a great deal of useful materiel covered here for students new to analyzing and creating college-level texts. A... read more

Reviewed by Cherie Nelson, Instructor, Colorado State University on 11/19/19

The Word on College Reading and Writing, is heavily skills based and does not seem to be informed (at least not explicitly,) by a larger theoretical framework. This text does a nice job talking about the skills necessary for a beginning writing... read more

Reviewed by Alice Henton, Assistant Professor of English , Richard Bland College on 4/10/19

The text covers a wide variety of critical reading and writing practices, from general introductions (“what is a text”) to specific strategies (“dialectic note taking) and in-depth appraisals of the components of academic writing (“the paragraph... read more

Reviewed by Melissa Cheese, Assistant Professor, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on 1/23/19

This book is very thorough and includes key elements that will help college students strengthen their reading and writing skills. The author concludes each section with engaging activities for the reader to check their understanding of the text... read more

Reviewed by Amanda Sieling, Assistant Professor, Southwest Minnesota State University on 1/7/19

This book covers all of the main ideas necessary for teaching college writing. I'm looking for a primer of sorts to use to remind my upper-level students of the basics of writing and research for their capstone project. This book has everything... read more

Reviewed by Abbey Payeur, Teaching Partner , Bethel University on 11/17/18

This textbook starts at the very basic level of defining a text and teaching strategies for pre-reading and reading. It moves into annotating and taking notes, and then reflecting on what you've read to discover the author's message. There is a... read more

Reviewed by Brian Leingang, Associate Professor of English, Edison State Community College on 10/4/18

The Word covers all the necessary areas for a first year writing class and beginning writers. This book appealed to our department because our former textbooks were essay anthologies and not a book dedicated solely to writing. We like for students... read more

Reviewed by Lucas Street, Director of the Reading/Writing Center and Instructor of English, Augustana College on 6/19/18

A good introduction to college reading/writing, especially useful for first-year students. While some of the subsections are a bit short, there’s good breadth here. The focus seems to be on what students most need to know and presenting an array... read more

Reviewed by Farah Marklevits, Assistant Director, The Reading/Writing Center, Augustana College on 6/19/18

Including and starting with reading is an excellent, much-needed approach to introduce students in how to think critically and write effectively for academic audiences. The portion on writing is comprehensive, clearly organized, and directed to... read more

Reviewed by Claudia Hutchison, Adjunct Professor, Portland Community College on 6/19/18

Introduced as “a handy guide” for all college reading and writing assignments, this text thoroughly addresses the vital aspects of reading comprehension and expository writing. It also touches on effective study habits and student success skills.... read more

Reviewed by Phoebe Reeves, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati, Clermont College on 3/27/18

Succinctly and with adequate explanations/exercises/examples, this text covers all the basics. I like that it keeps a tight focus on these basics, and doesn't try to do everything (ie, it doesn't get deeply into research writing or argumentative... read more

Reviewed by Stefanie Lauer, GSW Dual Enrollment Professor, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

Not only does this book provide a comprehensive coverage of the entire subject of the differences between high school and college reading and writing, it also gives examples, short discussion questions, and quizzes to check comprehension. It is... read more

Reviewed by Tara Coleman, Assistant Professor, LaGuardia Community College on 2/1/18

The book covers all of the important features of the reading and writing process, including a few sections, like the one on information Literacy and Giving and Receiving Feedback, which are important to how many of us teach writing but are not... read more

Reviewed by Kris Lowrey, Instructor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/1/18

This text provides a solid introduction to both the reading and writing skills that students would need as they begin their university studies. It has a helpful glossary, and while there is no index, the table of contents is sufficiently detailed... read more

Reviewed by Joseph Szpila, Adjunct Professor, Rhoce Island College on 2/1/18

THE WORD ON COLLEGE READING AND WRITING provides a strong overview of the reading and writing process for, in particular, a target audience of freshman- and sophomore-level college students or those attending a community college. The text is... read more

Table of Contents

Part 1: Working with Texts

  • What is a Text?

Building Strong Reading Skills

  • Read Effectively
  • Create an Optimal Setting for Reading
  • Use Pre-reading Strategies
  • Read Efficiently
  • Annotate and Take Notes
  • Do Quick Research
  • Discover What a Text is Trying to Say
  • Explore the Ways the Text Affects You
  • Reflect
  • Troubleshoot Your Reading

Writing about Texts

  • Reading Critically
  • Exploring the Structure of a Text
  • Dialectic Note-taking
  • Analyzing Content and Rhetoric
  • Sentence-Level Analysis
  • Point of View
  • Word Choice
  • Paragraph Analysis
  • Summarizing a Text
  • Critiquing a Text
  • Drawing Conclusions, Synthesizing, and Reflecting

What is Information Literacy?

  • Why is Information Literacy Important?
  • Finding Quality Texts
  • Learning About Plagiarism and Guidelines for Using Information

Part 2: Writing

  • About This Section

Why Write?

  • Self-Exploration and Self-Enrichment
  • Creativity
  • Comprehension and Academic Performance
  • Professional Opportunities
  • Effective Communication and Persuasion

Determining Your Audience and Purpose

  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • Appealing to Your Audience
  • Exercises
  • Tone, Voice, and Point of View

Prewriting—Generating Ideas

  • Selecting and Narrowing a Topic
  • Strategies for Getting Started
  • Imagining Your Audience's Needs


  • Organizing Your Ideas and Looking for Connections
  • Finding the Thesis
  • Writing a First Draft
  • Writing Paragraphs
  • The Paragraph Body: Supporting Your Ideas
  • Developing Relationships between Ideas
  • Patterns of Organization and Methods of Development
  • Writing Introductions
  • Writing Conclusions
  • Writing Summaries
  • Paraphrasing
  • Quoting

Using Sources Correctly

  • Crediting and Citing Your Sources
  • Citing: Identifying In-Text Sources
  • Citing or Identifying Images in Your Writing
  • Handling Titles
  • Proofreading Your Work with Sources
  • Using Citation Generators

Dealing with Obstacles and Developing Good Habits

  • Overcoming Writing Anxiety and Writer's Block
  • Good Writing Habits
  • Procrastination


  • Higher vs. Lower Order Concerns
  • Reverse Outlining
  • Editing
  • Document Format, Documentation Style, and Proofreading
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback
  • What's Next?

Grammar and Style
Resources for Working with MLA
Creating a Works Cited Page
Results for the "Check Your Understanding" Activities
Glossary of Terms
Works Cited in This Text

Ancillary Material

Submit ancillary resource

About the Book

Written by five college reading and writing instructors, this interactive, multimedia text draws from decades of experience teaching students who are entering the college reading and writing environment for the very first time. It includes examples, exercises, and definitions for just about every reading- and writing-related topic students will encounter in their college courses.

About the Contributors


Monique Babin, Instructional Designer in Portland, Oregon

Carol Burnell, Faculty Member in the English department at Clackamas Community College, Oregon City

Susan Pesznecker, Adjunct Instructor in the English department at Clackamas Community College, Oregon City

Nicole Rosevear, Faculty Member in the English department at Clackamas Community College, Oregon City

Jaime Wood, Program Manager for Educational Initiatives at Portland State University, Portland

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