Reading Critically, Writing Well with 2009 MLA and 2010 APA Updates: A Reader and Guide

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-01
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

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Click here to find out more about the 2009 MLA Updates and the 2010 APA Updates . Many instructors prefer to teach critical reading and writing without using a full-scale rhetoric. For them, Axelrod and Cooper have adapted the immensely successful approach ofThe St. Martin's Guide to Writingand applied it to a reader, creating a book that providesboth structure for students and flexibility for instructors. Chapter One introduces two general approaches to critical reading, showing students how to "read for meaning" and "read like a writer." Each of the following chapters then provides step-by-step guides to applying this knowledge in reading and writing a specific genre, ranging from autobiography to argument.

Author Biography

RISE B. AXELROD is McSweeney Professor of Rhetoric and?Teaching Excellence and director of composition at the University of California, Riverside. She has previously been professor of English at California State University, San Bernardino; director of the College Expository Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and assistant director of the Third College Composition Program at the University of California, San Diego.

CHARLES R. COOPER is an emeritus professor in the department of literature at the University of California, San Diego, where he served as coordinator of the Third College Composition Program, Dimensions of Culture Program, and Campus Writing Programs. He has also been codirector of the San Diego Writing Project, one of the National Writing Project Centers. He is coeditor, with Lee Odell, of Evaluating Writing and coauthor, with Susan Peck MacDonald, of Writing the World (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000).

Together, Axelrod and Cooper have coauthored for Bedford/St. Martin’s The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, Eighth Edition (2008) and Axelrod & Cooper’s Concise Guide to Writing, Fourth Edition (2005).

ALISON M. WARRINER is Coordinator of Composition, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, and professor of English at California State University, East Bay, where she has also been Director of the Collaborative Academic Preparation Initiative and the Summer Writing Institutes. Previously she was Director of Communications at Sacred Heart University. She is a coauthor of Academic Literacy: A Statement of Competencies Expected of Students Entering California’s Public Colleges and Universities (2002) and of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) that is currently being introduced as Senior English into California public high schools through the Early Assessment Program of the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

Table of Contents

N.B. The Guide to Writing sections of Chapters 3 – 9 include the same subsections as Chapter 2; however, for the sake of brevity, the subheadings are not repeated in this abridged table of contents. Similarly, the subsections Reading for Meaning, Reading Like a Writer, and Reflecting on Your Experience follow the first readings in Chapters 3 – 9, though they are included only under Chapter 2 in this listing.

1. Introduction

Reading Critically

Reading for Meaning

Reading Like a Writer

Reading to Compare

Writing Well

The Writing Assignments

The Guide to Writing

2. Autobiography

Writing Situations for Autobiography

A Guide to Reading Autobiography


Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

Reading for Meaning

Reading Like a Writer

Reflecting on Your Experience with Autobiography

Saira Shah, Longing to Belong

Luis J. Rodriguez, Always Running

*Anne Morgan Gray, Daddy’s Loss

Brad Benioff, Rick (student)

Jean Brandt, Calling Home

A Guide to Writing Autobiography



Reading a Draft Critically


Editing and Proofreading

Reflecting on What You Have Learned

3. Observation

Writing Situations for Observational Essays

A Guide to Reading Observational Essays


The New Yorker, Soup

John T. Edge, I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing

*William L. Hamilton, At Ole Miss, the Tailgaters Never Lose

*Peggy Orenstein, The Daily Grind: Lessons in the Hidden Curriculum

Brian Cable, The Last Stop (student)

*Katie Diehm, "Paddlers Sit Ready!": The Enduring Sport of Dragon Boating (student)

A Guide to Writing Observational Essays

4. Reflection

Writing Situations for Reflective Essays

A Guide to Reading Reflective Essays


Brent Staples, Black Men and Public Space

*Carl Safina, Comes a Turtle, Comes the World

*Steven Doloff, A Universe Lies on the Sidewalks of New York

*Carolina A. Miranda, Diving into the Gene Pool

Wendy Lee, Peeling Bananas (student)

Katherine Haines, Whose Body Is This? (student)

A Guide to Writing Reflective Essays

5. Explaining Concepts

Writing Situations for Essays Explaining Concepts

A Guide to Reading Essays Explaining Concepts


David Quammen, Is Sex Necessary? Virgin Birth and Opportunism in the Garden

Deborah Tannen, Marked Women

Beth L. Bailey, Dating

*Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Linh Kieu Ngo, Cannibalism: It Still Exists (student)

*Clayton Strothers, Flow (student)

A Guide to Writing Essays Explaining Concepts

6. Evaluation

Writing Situations for Evaluation

A Guide to Reading Evaluations


Amitai Etzioni, Working at McDonald’s

*Farhad Manjoo, iPod: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

*Ella Taylor, Hooverville: Little Miss Sunshine Lights into the American Family

*Stacy Shiff, Know It All

Christine Romano, "Children Need to Play, Not Compete" by Jessica Statsky: An Evaluation (student)

*Wendy Kim, Grading Professors (student)

A Guide to Writing Evaluations

7. Speculating about Causes or Effects

Writing Situations for Essays Speculating about Causes or Effects

A Guide to Reading Essays Speculating about Causes or Effects


Stephen King, Why We Crave Horror Movies

Natalie Angier, Intolerance of Boyish Behavior

*John Dutton, Toxic Soup

Jonathan Kozol, The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society

*Amber Ripplinger, Declining Coral Reefs (student)

*Joshua Slick, Not Just for Nerds Anymore (student)

A Guide to Writing Essays Speculating about Causes or Effects

8. Proposal to Solve a Problem

Writing Situations for Proposals

A Guide to Reading Proposals


*Michael Pollan, The Vegetable-Industrial Complex

*William F. Shughart II, Why Not a Football Degree?

*Gary Beck, Not Your Everyday Homeless Proposal

*Karen Kornbluh, Win-Win Flexibility

Patrick O’Malley, More Testing, More Learning (student)

*Jeff Varley, High School Starting Time (student)

A Guide to Writing Proposals

9. Position Paper

Writing Situations for Position Papers

A Guide to Reading Position Papers


*Vinod Khosla, My Big Biofuels Bet

*Karen Stabiner, Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal

*David Brooks, A Nation of Grinders

*David Moberg, Class Consciousness Matters

*Amber Dahlke, Sex Education in Schools (student)

Jessica Statsky, Children Need to Play, Not Compete (student)

A Guide to Writing Position Papers

Appendix 1: A Catalog of Critical Reading Strategies


Martin Luther King, Jr., An Annotated Sample from "Letter from Birmingham Jail"






Questioning to Understand and Remember


Reflecting on Challenges to Your Beliefs and Values

Exploring the Significance of Figurative Language

Looking for Patterns of Opposition

Evaluating the Logic of an Argument

Using a Toulmin Analysis

Recognizing Emotional Manipulation

Judging the Writer’s Credibility

Considering Logical Fallacies

Comparing and Contrasting

Related Readings

Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr., Legitimate Pressures and Illegitimate Results

Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen

Appendix 2: Strategies for Research and Documentation

Conducting Research

Evaluating Sources Critically

Integrating Sources with Your Own Writing

Documenting Sources

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