Language Power Tutorials for Writers

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  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Copyright: 2/7/2014
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Language Power helps students take control of their writing. Diagnostic activities allow students and instructors to pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement. Twenty-five tutorials give students new strategies and tools for understanding and improving vocabulary usage, grammar, and style. Whether students work through Language Power on their own or instructors integrate tutorials into class lessons, the end result is the same—students come to understand their options as writers and make confident choices to communicate with their audience and achieve their goals.

Written by UC Davis professor and ESL specialist Dana Ferris, Language Power is ideal for second language learning and first-year composition and for courses that need to address both. It can be the main text for any writing course or a robust supplement.

Author Biography

Dana Ferris is Professor and Associate Director for Lower-Division Writing in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. An applied linguist by training (Ph.D., University of Southern California), she has many years of experience teaching in ESL/multilingual writing programs and in mainstream composition programs. She also has spent over 20 years as a teacher educator, working with future K-12 teachers, with M.A. students in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Composition, and Reading, and with Ph.D. students in Linguistics, Education, and English.

Her research has focused extensively on response to student writing and on written corrective feedback in second language writing. Her work has been published in a range of journals including TESOL Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Journal of Second Language Writing, Across the Disciplines, Writing and Pedagogy, TESOL Journal, and CATESOL Journal. 

She has previously published seven books. These teacher preparation and reference books have focused on the needs of multilingual/second language writers and readers and on responding to student writing. Titles include Teaching L2 Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice (3rd Ed. 2013, with John Hedgcock, Routledge), Treatment of Error in Second Language Student Writing (2nd Ed. 2011, Michigan), and Teaching Readers of English (2009, with John Hedgcock, Routledge).

Table of Contents

Introductions (How to use this book and overview of concepts)

  • Preface for teachers: Provide suggestions for integrating the material into a course syllabus and providing effective feedback. Discussion of research informing the content and structure of the lessons and other materials in the book. References to support materials online.
  • Introduction for students: Provide context for all material in the book. Discuss why errors matter (real-world audiences, clarity & effectiveness of communication for readers). Define and discuss global and local revision.

Finding out what you already know (Diagnostic)

  • Grammar knowledge questionnaire for students
  • Diagnostic writing/error analysis activity for students/teacher to identify initial trouble spots for individuals and the whole class
  • Charts for students to track their progress—also available online?

Mastering the basics (Foundation)

  1. Parts of Speech Review
  2. Understanding Subjects & Verbs
  3. Clause Types & Sentence Patterns
  4. Developing Academic Language & Style (Application)

  5. Analyzing Vocabulary in Assigned Readings
  6. Cohesion & Coherence Between & Within Paragraphs
  7. Lexical Variety in Writing
  8. Grammar Power
  9. Punctuation Power
  10. Tackling Problem Areas (Practice)

  11. Strategies for Self-Editing
  12. Wordy Sentences
  13. Passive Voice
  14. Inaccurate Word Choice
  15. Informal Word Choice
  16. Word Form Errors
  17. The Big 3 Comma Errors
  18. Apostrophe Errors
  19. Other Punctuation Problems
  20. Pronoun Reference & Shifts
  21. Verb Tense (Shifts and Contrasts)
  22. Subject-Verb Agreement
  23. Sentence Boundaries (Run-Ons, Comma Splices, & Fragments)
  24. Noun Plurals
  25. The Big 3 Article Errors
  26. Verb Phrases (verb form issues; modals and other auxiliaries)
  27. Prepositions/Prepositional Phrases
Appendix (Review)

  • Grammar Knowledge Questionnaire
  • Final Writing & Error Analysis
  • Reflection & Analysis Activities

Answer Keys


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