Focus on Reading and Writing Essays

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/1/2014
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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PACKAGE THIS TITLE WITH OUR 2016 MLA SUPPLEMENT, Documenting Sources in MLA Style (package ISBN-13: 9781319088187). Get the most recent updates on MLA citation in a convenient, 40-page resource based on The MLA Handbook, 8th Edition, with plenty of models. Browse our catalog or contact your representative for a full listing of updated titles and packages, or to request a custom ISBN.

Focus on Reading and Writing is a new book by veteran author team Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell and in collaboration with two reading specialists. It provides thorough, integrated instruction on reading and writing essays and includes several effective features to help students make the connection between the reading and writing processes, including TEST—Kirszner and Mandell’s simple and effective reading and writing tool designed to help students gauge their progress. Kirszner and Mandell believe that students learn best when they try their hand at a new concept first with their own work. That’s why they designed the Focus on Reading and Writing strand throughout each chapter. This strand first prompts students to read and write, then learn essential concepts, and ultimately apply those concepts while re-reading and revising. With a complete grammar guide, supplementary online grammar practice, and 23 professional reading selections, this comprehensive text gets students reading, writing, and thinking critically in preparation for academic, career, and life success.

Author Biography

During their long collaboration, Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell have written a number of best-selling college texts for Bedford/St. Martin's, including Patterns for College Writing, Foundations First, Writing First, Focus on Writing, and, most recently, Practical Argument. Laurie Kirszner is a Professor of English at the University of the Sciences, where she has taught composition, literature, creative writing, and scientific writing, and served as coordinator of the first-year writing program.  Stephen Mandell is a Professor of English at Drexel University, where he founded and directed the basic writing program and has taught composition, literature, speech, and technical and business writing.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Using TEST When You Read and Write

TESTing Essays

TESTing Body Paragraphs


1 Understanding the Active Reading Process

Before You Read

As You Read

After You Read

Writing a Response Paragraph

Chapter Review

2 Building Vocabulary for Reading and Writing

Understanding Your Vocabularies

"Knowing" Words

Acquiring New Words

Using New Words in Your Writing

Chapter Review

3 Understanding the Writing Process 


Understanding Essay Structure

Moving from Assignment to Topic

Finding Ideas to Write About

Stating Your Thesis


Choosing Supporting Points

Making an Outline


Drafting Your Essay


TESTing Your Essay

Revising Your Essay


Editing Your Essay

Proofreading Your Essay

Chapter Review

4 Understanding Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions


Body Paragraphs


Chapter Review

5 Thinking, Reading, and Writing Critically

Identifying Audience, Purpose, and Tone

Identifying Connotations and Figurative Language

Identifying the Main Idea

Identifying Major and Minor Points

Evaluating the Writer’s Ideas

Reading and Writing Critically

Chapter Review

6 Reading and Writing about Different Kinds of Texts

Reading Written Texts

Reading Visuals

Responding to Visuals

Chapter Review


7 Reading and Writing Exemplification Essays

Reading Exemplification Essays

Writing Exemplification Essays

Integrating Reading and Writing

       Richard Rodriguez, "Around the World, Women Are on the Move"

Chapter Review

8 Reading and Writing Narrative Essays

Reading Narrative Essays

Writing Narrative Essays

Integrating Reading and Writing

       Lynda Barry, "The Sanctuary of School"

Chapter Review

9 Reading and Writing Cause-and-Effect Essays 

Reading Cause-and-Effect Essays

Writing Cause-and-Effect Essays

Integrating Reading and Writing

       Julia Angwin, "How Facebook is Making Friending Obsolete"

Chapter Review

10 Reading and Writing Comparison-and-Contrast Essays 

Reading Comparison-and-Contrast Essays

Writing Comparison-and-Contrast Essays

Integrating Reading and Writing

       Steven Conn, "The Twin Revolutions of Lincoln and Darwin"

Chapter Review

11 Reading and Writing Argument Essays 

Reading Argument Essays

Writing Argument Essays

Integrating Reading and Writing

       Mary Sherry, "In Praise of the F Word"

Chapter Review

12 Additional Options for Organizing Essays


       Rachel Carson, "A Fable for Tomorrow"


       Amy Ma, "My Grandmother’s Dumpling"


       Scott Russell Sanders, "The Men We Carry in Our Minds"


       Julia Alvarez, "Quinceañera"


13 Working with Sources

Finding and Evaluating Sources

Using Sources in Your Writing

Avoiding Plagiarism

Documenting Sources [MLA and APA]

Chapter Review


14 Understanding Verbs

Regular Verbs

Irregular Verbs

Problem Verbs: Be

Problem Verbs: Can/Could and Will/Would

Regular Past Participles

Irregular Past Participles

The Present Perfect Tense

The Past Perfect Tense

15 Understanding Nouns and Pronouns

Identifying Nouns

Forming Plural Nouns

Identifying Pronouns

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Special Problems with Agreement

Vague and Unnecessary Pronouns

Pronoun Case

Special Problems with Pronoun Case

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

16 Understanding Adjectives and Adverbs

Identifying Adjectives and Adverbs

Comparatives and Superlatives 

17 Writing Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences


Identifying Subjects

Identifying Prepositional Phrases

Identifying Verbs


Using Coordinating Conjunctions

Using Semicolons

Using Transitional Words and Phrases


Using Subordinating Conjunctions

Using Relative Pronouns

18 Writing Varied Sentences

Varying Sentence Types

Varying Sentence Openings

Combining Sentences

Mixing Long and Short Sentences

19 Using Parallelism

Recognizing Parallel Structure

Using Parallel Structure

20 Using Words Effectively

Using Specific Words

Using Concise Language

Using Similes and Metaphors

Avoiding Slang

Avoiding Clichés

Avoiding Sexist Language

Commonly Confused Words

21 Run-Ons and Comma Splices

Recognizing Run-Ons

Correcting Run-Ons

22 Fragments

Recognizing Fragments

Missing-Subject Fragments

Phrase Fragments

Incomplete-Verb Fragments

Dependent Clause Fragments  

23 Subject-Verb Agreement

Understanding Subject-Verb Agreement

Compound Subjects

Be, Have, and Do

Words between Subject and Verb

Collective Noun Subjects

Indefinite Pronoun Subjects

Verbs before Subjects

24 Illogical Shifts

Shifts in Tense

Shifts in Person

Shifts in Voice

25 Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

Correcting Dangling Modifiers  

26 Using Commas

Commas in a Series

Commas with Introductory Phrases and Transitional Words and Phrases

Commas with Appositives

Commas with Nonrestrictive Clauses

Commas in Dates and Addresses

Unnecessary Commas

27 Using Apostrophes

Apostrophes in Contractions

Apostrophes in Possessives

Incorrect Use of Apostrophes 

28 Understanding Mechanics

Capitalizing Proper Nouns

Punctuating Direct Quotations

Setting Off Titles

Using Hyphens

Using Abbreviations

Using Numbers

Using Semicolons, Colons, Dashes, and Parentheses


29 Readings for Writers

Reading and Writing

       Amy Tan
, "Mother Tongue"

       Richard Lederer, "The Case for Short Words"

       Richard Wright, "The Library Card"

Teaching and Learning

       Joshuah Bearman,
"My Half-Baked Bubble"

       Adam Goodheart, "How to Mummify a Pharaoh"

       Carolyn Foster Segal, "The Dog Ate My Flashdrive, and Other Tales of Woe"


       John Gray,
"Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus"

       Judy Brady, "I Want a Wife"

       D. B. Grady, "Why Women Soldiers Don’t Belong on the Front Lines"

Current Issues

       John Edgar Wideman,
"The Seat Not Taken"

       Bob Herbert, "Tweet Less, Kiss More"

       Adam Winkler, "The Guns of Academe" 

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