Real Reading and Writing Paragraphs and Essays

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-12-05
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Real Reading and Writing puts both reading skills and writing skills in a real-world context, showing students that good writing, reading, and thinking skills are both achievable and essential to their success in college and beyond.

Miriam Moore, a developmental and ESL specialist from Lord Fairfax Community College, collaborated with Susan Anker to provide students with an integrated reading and writing package. Students connect reading and writing with their real lives through practical examples, model writing samples, and readings that are both engaging and relevant to their lives.  To keep students from getting overwhelmed, the book focuses first on the most important concepts in each area, such as the Four Basics of the Reading and Writing Process; Four Basics of each rhetorical strategy; the Four Most Serious Errors in the grammar section; and the academic skills of summary, analysis, and synthesis.

This edition can be packaged with LaunchPad Solo for Real Reading and Writing, which includes LearningCurve, the adaptive online quizzing program with immediate feedback that 95% of students surveyed recommend to their peers. Additional online multiple-choice grammar exercises offer even more practice on the grammar concepts students find most challenging.

Author Biography

Susan Anker (BA, MEd, Boston University) brings a unique perspective to the teaching of the developmental writing course. She taught English and developmental writing before entering college publishing, where she worked for eighteen years: as a sales representative and English/ESL editor at Macmillan Publishing Company; as developmental English/ESL editor, executive editor, and editor in chief at St. Martin’s Press; and as vice president and editor in chief for humanities at Houghton Mifflin Company. In each of these positions, she worked with developmental writing instructors and students, maintaining her early interest in the field.  Since the publication of the first edition of Real Writing in 1998, Anker has traveled extensively to campuses across the country, continuing her conversations with instructors and students and giving workshops and presentations. She believes that the writing course is, for many students, their first, best opportunity to learn the skills they will need to succeed in college and achieve their goals.
Miriam Moore (BA, Baylor University; MA, PhD, University of South Carolina) discovered her passion for teaching over 20 years ago when, as a graduate student, she worked with ESL writers in a sheltered section of first-year composition.  Since then, she has taught in a state university, an intensive English program, an industry-sponsored ESL program, and two community colleges.  Whether teaching developmental writing, literacy, ESL grammar, reading, or first-year composition, her focus is the same:  to introduce students to academic culture and provide instruction that will help them succeed in their academic programs.  She is currently professor of English and ESL at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Virginia, where she is developing an expanded ESL program and leading the College’s implementation of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) redesign of development English.  In 2011-2012, she served on the team which developed the integrated curriculum for the VCCS redesign, and she has presented strategies for teaching developmental and ESL courses at local, state, regional, and national conferences.


Table of Contents


Part I:  The Processes of Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking

Chapter 1:  Understand Reading Writing, and Critical Thinking

The First Basic:  Follow a Thoughtful Process

Reading and Writing: Closely Linked Processes

The Second Basic:  Pay Attention to Context: Audience, Purpose, and Topic

The Third Basic:  As a Good Writer, Make and Support a Point; as a Good Reader, Identify the Point and the Supporting Details

The Fourth Basic:  Organize Support and Identify Organizational Patterns

Grammar, Spelling, and Vocabulary

The Four Basics:  Put It All Together

Chapter Reading:  George Dorrill, “Reading:  A Personal History”

Chapter Review

Chapter 2:  Begin Well: Focus on Context and Audience

Making Connections:  Finding the Context

Preview to Find Audience, Purpose, and Topic in Reading 

Preview a Reading to Find A Personal Context 

Preview By Asking Guiding Questions

Begin Well in Writing:  Prewriting

Prewrite to Find Audience, Purpose, and Topic

Prewrite by Narrowing Topics

Use Prewriting Techniques

Prewriting:  Ask Guiding Questions 

Chapter Reading: Barbara DeMarco Barrett, “Set Your Writing Free”

Chapter Review

Chapter 3:  Read Well: Annotate, Question, and Connect

The Work of Reading

The First Annotation Basic: Pay Attention to Vocabulary

The Second Annotation Basic:  Find the Main Point

The Third Annotation Basic:  Identify Support and See How Support Is Organized

The Fourth Annotation Basic:  Ask Questions and Make Connections

Chapter Reading:  Annie Murphy Paul, “Your Brain on Fiction”

Chapter Review

Chapter 4: Write Well: Develop Your Topic, Thesis, and Support

Write a Preliminary Topic Sentence or Thesis Statement

It Fits the Size of the Assignment

It Contains a Single Main Point

It Is Specific

It Is an Idea You Can Show, Explain, or Prove

Write Support for the Thesis

Select the Best Primary Support
Arrange Support

Planning Paragraphs

Planning Support in an Essay:  Mapping and Outlining

Write an Introduction and Conclusion

Open with a Misconception

Open with a Quotation

Give an Example, or Tell a Story

Start with a Surprising Fact or Idea

Offer a Strong Opinion or Position

Ask a Question

Write a Conclusion

A Complete Draft

Chapter Reading:  Gail Godwin, “The Watcher at the Gates” 

Chapter Review

Chapter 5:   Finish Well: Review, Revise, and Reflect

Finish Well When Reading


Reflecting and Responding

Finish Well When Writing

Revising Your Writing 

Tips for Revision

Checklist: Revising Your Writing

Basics of Useful Feedback

Checklist: Questions for Peer Reviewers

Strategies for Revision

Revise for Unity

Revise for Details and Support

Revise for Coherence

Checklist:  Evaluating Your Revised Essay

Chapter Reading:  Donald M. Murray, “The Maker’s Eye”

Chapter Review

Chapter 6: Practice Summaries

Four Basics of a Good Summary

Summaries: A Result of Both Reading and Writing Together

Drafting the Summary

Writing in Your Own Words:  Paraphrasing

Revising a Summary

Chapter Review

Part II:  Reading and Writing Different Kinds of Paragraphs and Essays

Chapter 7: Narration and Description:  Texts that Tell a Story

Understand What Narration Is

Four Basics of Good Narration

Narration in the Classroom: Timelines

Main Point in Narration

Paragraphs vs. Essays in Narration 

Support in Narration

Choosing Major Events

Descriptive Details about the Events in Narration

Organization in Narration

Read and Analyze Narration

Student Narration Paragraph: Dora Garcia, “Beowulf and Me” 

Student Narration Essay: Lauren Mack, “Gel Pens” 

Reading/Writing Workbook: Narration

Professional Essay:  Amy Tan, “Fish Cheeks”  

Professional Essay:  Pat Conroy “Chili Cheese Dogs, My Father, and Me” 

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Narration

Checklist: Writing a Narration

Chapter 8: Illustration:  Texts that Give Examples

Understand what Illustration is

Four Basics of Good Illustration

Illustration in the Classroom: Resumes

Main Point in Illustration

Paragraphs vs. Essays in Illustration

Support in Illustration

Organization in Illustration

Read and Analyze Illustration

Student Illustration Paragraph: Inez King, “Empathy” 

Student Illustration Essay:  James Carnill, “You”

Reading/Writing Workbook: Illustration

Professional Essay: Susan Adams, “The Weirdest Job Interview Questions and How to Handle Them”

Professional Essay: Dianne Hales, “Why Are We So Angry?” 

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Illustration

Checklist: Writing an Illustration

Chapter 9:  Process Analysis:  Texts that Present a Sequence of Steps

Understand what Process Analysis is

Four Basics of Good Process Analysis

Process Analysis in the Classroom: Diagramming a Sequence of Steps

Main Point in Process Analysis

Paragraph vs. Essays in Process Analysis

Support in Process Analysis

Organization in Process Analysis

Read and Analyze Process Analysis

Student Process Paragraph:  Ibrahim Alfaqueeh, “Weddings in Saudi Arabia”

Student Process Essay:  Jasen Beverly, “My Pilgrimage”

Reading/Writing Workbook: Process Analysis

Professional Essay:   Tara Parker-Pope, “How to Boost Your Willpower”

Professional Essay:  Samantha Levine-Finley, “Isn’t It Time You Hit the Books?”

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Process Analysis

Checklist: Writing Process Analysis

Chapter 10: Classification: Texts that Analyze through Grouping

Understand What Classification Is

Four Basics of Good Classification

Classification in the Classroom:  Learning Specialized Words by Grouping Them into Categories

Main Point in Classification

Paragraphs vs. Essays in Classification

Support in Classification

Organization in Classification

Read and Analyze Classification

Student Classification Paragraph:  Lorenza Mattazi, “All My Music” 

Student Classification essay, Beth Trimmer, “Birth Order”  

Reading/Writing Workbook: Classification

Professional Essay: Stephanie Ericsson, “The Ways We Lie”  

Professional Essay:  Carolyn Foster Segal, “The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and other Tales of Woe”

Connect and Extend: Write Your Own Classification

Checklist:  Writing a Classification

Chapter 11: Comparison and Contrast: Texts that Show Similarity and Difference

Understand what Comparison and Contrast Are

Four Basics of Good Comparison and Contrast

Comparison and Contrast in the Classroom:  Reviewing for a Test

Apply What You Have Learned

Main Point in Comparison and Contrast

Paragraphs vs. Essays in Comparison and Contrast

Support in Comparison and Contrast

Organization in Comparison and Contrast

Read and Analyze Comparison and Contrast

Student Comparison and Contrast Paragraph: Said Ibrahim, “Eyeglasses vs. Laser Surgery:  Benefits and Drawbacks”

Student Comparison and Contrast Essay:  Rui Dai, “A Whiff of Memory” 

Reading/Writing Workbook: Comparison and Contrast

Professional Essay: Dave Barry, “The Ugly Truth about Beauty”

Professional Essay: Judith Ortiz Cofer, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” 

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Comparison and Contrast

Checklist: Writing a Comparison and Contrast

Chapter 12: Cause and Effect: Texts that Explain Reasons and Results

Understand what Cause and Effect Are

Four Basics of Good Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect in the Classroom: Using Diagrams to Show a Chain of Events

Main Point in Cause and Effect

Paragraphs vs. Essays in Cause and Effect

Support in Cause and Effect

Organization in Cause and Effect

Read and Analyze Cause and Effect

Student Cause and Effect Paragraph: Caitlyn Prokop, “A Difficult Decision with a Positive Outcome” 

Student Cause and Effect Essay: Tyler Dashner, “A Look at Academic Dishonesty”

Reading and Writing Workbook: Cause and Effect

Professional Essay: John Tierney, “Yes, Money Can Buy Happiness” 

Professional Essay:  Devon A. Mihesuah, “Despoiling and Desecration of Indian Property and

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Cause and Effect Essay

Checklist: Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

Chapter 13: Argument:  Texts that Persuade

Understand What Argument Is

Four Basics of Good Argument

Argument in the Classroom: Commenting Effectively on Discussion Boards

Main Point in Argument

Paragraph vs. Essays in Argument

Support in Argument

Four Basics of Critical Thinking

Questioning Assumptions to Build Evidence

Addressing Audience and Testing Evidence

Organization in Argument

Read and Analyze ArgumentStudent Argument Essay: Jason Yilmaz, “A Learning Tool Whose Time Has Come”

Student Argument Essay: Shari Beck, “A Classroom Distraction—And Worse”

Reading and Writing Workbook: Argument

Professional Essay: Bill Maxwell, “Start Snitching”

Professional Essay:  Alexandra Natapoff, “Bait and Snitch:  The High Cost of Snitching for Law Enforcement”

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Argument

Checklist:  Writing an Argument

Chapter 14: Research: Texts that Explore a Question and Synthesize Information

Understand What Research Is

Four Basics of Good Research

Begin with a Question: Choosing a Topic to Research 

Find Appropriate Sources

Consult a Reference Librarian

Use the Online Catalog

Look at Your Library’s Website

Use the Internet

Use Your Library’s Online Databases and Other Reference Materials

Use Your Search Engines and Keyword Searches

Other Helpful Online Research Sites

Interview People

Evaluate Sources

Use Sources Fairly and Honestly: Avoid Plagiarism

Keep a Running Bibliography

Synthesize Information to Support a Thesis

Cite and Document Your Sources

Use In-Text Citations within your Essay

Use a Works Cited List at the End of Your Essay

Student Research Essay: Dara Riesler, “Service Dogs Help Heal the Mental Wounds of War”

Reading and Writing Workbook: The Research Essay

Student Essay:  Rodrigo Villagomez, “The Designer Player”

Extend and Connect: Write Your Own Research Paper

Checklist:  Writing a Research Essay

Part III:  The Four Most Serious Errors

Chapter 15:  The Basic Sentence:  An Overview

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

The Four Most Serious Errors

The Parts of Speech

The Basic Sentence




Six Basic English Sentence Patterns

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Chapter 16: Fragments:  Incomplete Sentences

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Fragments Are

Language and Writing

Find and Correct Fragments

1. Fragments That Start with Prepositions
2. Fragments That Start with Dependent Words
3. Fragments That Start with –ing Verb Forms
4. Fragments That Start with to and a Verb
5. Fragments that are Examples or Explanations

Edit for Fragments

Chapter Test

Finding and Fixing Fragments

Chapter 17: Run-Ons:  Two Sentences Joined Incorrectly

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Run-Ons Are

Sentences with Two Independent Clauses

In the Real World, Why is it Important to Correct Run-Ons?

Find and Correct Run-Ons

Add a Period

Add a Semicolon

Add a Semicolon, a Conjunctive Adverb, and a Comma

Add a Comma and a Coordinating Conjunction

Add a Dependent Word

Special Considerations:  Two Situations That Cause Run-ons

The Word “Then”

Introducing a Quotation

Edit for Run-Ons

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Finding and Fixing Run-Ons

Chapter 18: Problems with Subject-Verb Agreement: When Subjects and Verbs Don’t Match

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Subject-Verb Agreement Is

In the Real World, Why Is It Important to Correct Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement?

Find and Correct Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement

1. The Verb Is a Form of Be, Have, or Do
2. Words Come between the Subject and the Verb
3. The Sentence Has a Compound Subject
4. The Subject is an Indefinite Pronoun
5. The Verb Comes before the Subject

Subject-Verb Agreement in Partial Quotes

Edit for Subject-Verb Agreement

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Finding and Fixing Problems with Subject-Verb Agreement

Chapter 19: Verb Tense:  Using Verbs to Express Different Times

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Verb Tense Is

In the Real World, Why is it Important to Use the Correct Verb Tense?

Regular Verbs

Present-Tense Endings: -s and No Ending

One Regular Past Tense Ending: -ed.

Irregular Verbs

Present Tense of Be and Have

Past Tense of Be

Perfect Tenses and Past Participles

Passive Voice and Past Participles

Consistency of Verb Tense

Edit for Verb Problems

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Finding and Fixing Verb-Tense Errors

Part IV:  Other Grammar Concerns

Chapter 20: Pronouns:  Using Substitutes for Nouns

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Pronouns Are

Practice Using Pronouns Correctly

Identify Pronouns

Check for Pronoun Agreement

Indefinite Pronouns

Collective Nouns

Make Pronoun Reference Clear

Use the Right Type of Pronoun   

Make Pronouns Consistent in Person

Edit for Pronoun Problems

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Finding and Fixing Pronoun Problems

Chapter 21:  Adjectives and Adverbs: Using Descriptive Words

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Adjectives and Adverbs Are

Practice Using Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly

Choosing between Adjectives and Adverbs

Using Adjectives and Adverbs in Comparisons

Using Good, Well, Bad, and Badly

Edit for Adjective and Adverb Problems

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing for Correct Usage of Adjectives and Adverbs

Chapter 22: Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers:  Avoiding Confusing Descriptions

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Misplaced Modifiers Are

Practice Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

Understand What Dangling Modifiers Are

Practice Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Edit for Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing for Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Chapter 23: Parallelism: Balancing Ideas

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Parallelism Is

Practice Writing Parallel Sentences

Parallelism in Pairs and Lists

Parallelism in Comparisons

Parallelism with Certain Paired Words

Edit for Parallelism Problems

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing for Parallelism

Chapter 24: Sentence Variety:  Finding A Rhythm for Your Writing

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Sentence Variety Is

Practice Creating Sentence Variety

Join Ideas Together to Lengthen Sentences:  Coordination

Joining Ideas Together:  Subordination

Other Ways to Join Ideas

Strategies for Changing Sentence Openers

Start Some Sentences with Adverbs

Start Some Sentences with Prepositions or Infinitives

Edit for Sentence Variety

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing for Sentence Variety

Chapter 25: ESL Concerns:  Trouble Spots for Multilingual Students

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Basic Sentence Patterns




There is/There are


Confusing Subject and Object Pronouns

Confusing Gender

Leaving Out a Pronoun 

Using a Pronoun to Repeat a Subject

Using Relative Pronouns


The Simple Tenses

Simple Present

Simple Past Simple Future

Common Errors in Using Simple Tenses

Using the Future Tense in a Dependent Clause that Begins with a Time Word

The Perfect Tenses

Present Perfect

Past Perfect

Future Perfect

Common Errors in Forming the Perfect Tense

The Present Progressive Tenses

Modal (Helping) Verbs

Common Errors with Modal Verbs

Gerunds and Infinitives


Definite and Indefinite Articles

Count and Noncount Nouns


Prepositions after Adjectives

Prepositions after Verbs

Separable vs. Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Part V: Word Use 

Chapter 26: Vocabulary and Word Choice:  Finding the Right Word

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understanding the Importance of Building Vocabulary and Choosing Words Carefully



Practice Avoiding Four Common Word-Choice Problems

Vague and Abstract Words


Wordy Language


Edit for Word Choice

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing for Word Choice

Chapter 27:  Spelling and Commonly Confused Words

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Finding and Correcting Spelling Mistakes

Use a Dictionary

Use a Spell Checker—with Caution

Use Proofreading Techniques

Make a Personal Spelling List

Strategies for Becoming a Better Speller

Master Commonly Confused Words

Learn Six Spelling Rules

Exceptions When Forming Plurals

Consult a List of Commonly Misspelled Words

Practice Using Commonly Confused Words Correctly

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Part VI:  Punctuation and Capitalization

Chapter 28:  Commas

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Commas Do

Practice Using Commas Correctly

Commas between Items in a Series

Commas between Coordinate Adjectives

Commas in Compound sentences

Commas after Introductory Words

Commas around Appositives and Interrupters

Commas around Adjective Clauses

Other Uses for Commas

Edit for Commas

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Chapter 29:  Apostrophes  

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Apostrophes Do

Practice Using Apostrophes Correctly

Apostrophes to Show Ownership  

Apostrophes in Contractions

Apostrophes with Letters, Numbers, and Time

Edit for Apostrophes

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Chapter 30: Quotation Marks

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand What Quotation Marks Do

Practice Using Quotation Marks Correctly

Quotation Marks for Direct Quotations

Setting Off a Quotation within another Quotation

No Quotation Marks for Indirect Quotations

Quotation Marks for Certain Titles

Edit for Quotation Marks

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Chapter 31: Other Punctuation

Understand What Punctuation Does

Practice Using Punctuation Correctly






Edit for Other Punctuation marks

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Chapter 32: Capitalization:  Using Capital Letters

Note: LaunchPad Solo activities available for this chapter

Understand Three Rules of Capitalization

Practice Capitalization

Capitalization of Sentences

Capitalization of Names of Specific People, Places, Dates, and Things

Capitalization of Titles

Chapter Review

Chapter Test

Editing Review Tests 1-5


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