Writing about Writing: A College Reader by Elizabeth WardleWhen Doug Downs and Elizabeth Wardle published their article “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions” in June 2007, they challenged the field to imagine a new approach to first-year composition. Their groundbreaking new reader, Writing About Writing, does exactly that, by encouraging students to draw on what they know in order to contribute to ongoing conversations about writing and literacy.
Class-tested by thousands of students, Writing about Writing presents accessible writing studies research by authors such as Donald Murray, Mike Rose, and Deborah Brandt, together with popular texts by authors such as Malcolm X, Sherman Alexie, and Junot Díaz. Throughout the book, friendly explanations and scaffolded questions help students connect to readings and — even more important — develop knowledge about writing they can use at work, in their everyday lives, and in college.
The conversation on writing about writing continues on the authors blog, Write On: Notes on Writing about Writing (a channel on Bedford Bits, Bedford/St.Martins blog for teachers of writing).
Writing about Writing: A College Reader / Edition 3
Writing about Writing WAW is a method or theory of teaching composition that emphasizes writing studies research. Writing about Writing approaches to first-year composition take a variety of forms,  typically based on the rationale that students benefit when engaging the "declarative and procedural knowledge" associated with writing studies research. Composition is not widely recognized as its own discipline. Composition instructors strive to teach students how to become better writers. As public perception often shapes public policy, this uninformed view of composition as a legitimate field of study has contributed to a lack of funding and emphasis on composition classes in academia. In , Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle published an article titled "Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions" in which they propose a reform of first-year composition instruction based on the results of a test course they developed. This course sought "to improve students' understanding of writing, rhetoric , language, and literacy" and promoted a view of reading and writing as scholarly inquiry, encouraging "more realistic conceptions of writing.
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A milestone in the field of composition, Writing about Writing continues to be the only textbook to provide an approach that makes writing studies the center of the introductory writing course. The accessible writing studies research in Writing about Writing includes foundational research by scholars such as Nancy Sommers and Donald Murray, popular commentary on writing by authors such as Malcolm X and Anne Lamott, and emerging research from both scholars and student writers. Accessible explanations, scaffolded activities, and thoughtful questions help students connect to the readings and transfer their writing-related skills from first-year composition to writing situations in other college courses, work, and their everyday lives. The third edition makes studying writing even more accessible and teachable, with a new overview of rhetoric, a stronger focus on key threshold concepts, scaffolded reading guidance for challenging selections, and a new section in the instructor's manual with responses to frequently asked questions. Martin's blog for teachers of writing. Go to community.
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