College of Arts and Sciences

Recommended Textbooks

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 English 100

Clark, Carol Lee. Praxis: A Brief Rhetoric. 3rd Ed. Fountainhead, 2016. Print $43. 336 pages.
  • Bonnie: Praxis provides excellent visuals and uses ethos, pathos, and logos throughout the text, which I like. This may be my first choice for English 100. It begins with defining “rhetoric”, which I find helpful. I still need a book that provides a “hook” for my English 100 students and I may choose The Good Food Revolution and combine it with this text. Or I may use the paperback and my own handbouts.
Clouse, Barbara Fine. A Troubleshooting Guide for Writers: Strategies and Process.  7th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print $46. 224 pages.
  • Penny: Wonderful guide that would encourage students to self-identify problem areas and get viable options for appropriate growth and writing development.  Includes strategies for growth in skill, confidence, practice, drafting.
Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres to Composing. Cengage, 2017. Print $75. Rent $32. 512 pages.
  • Bonnie: One more comment:  I had a few minutes to look at one more text, and I was surprised to see the content in The New Harbrace Guide: Genres for Composing by Cheryl Glenn.  The content seems applicable for either English 100 or 180.  I particularly liked the rhetorical issues it addresses and the examples, activities, and explanations she provides.  She also  is thorough on the Methods of Development, which is often difficult for me to clarify.  I actually love this text and intend to use it soon.
Goshgarian, Gary. Exploring Language. 14th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2015. Print $64. 512 pages.
  • Jacque: This is mainly a reader that is organized around concepts related to language, Learning to Communicate, Personal Recollections, What’s Your English, and so forth. I think the reading selections are excellent. It might work for English 100 if the course moved more in the direction of reading rather than the students’ own writing process. This is the English 100 dilemma. The more time spent on their own process, the less time available for reading. But this is a book that might work if the instructor focused on a few of the units. Vote: Yes with reservations.
Miller, James S. The Real World Reader: A Rhetorical Reader for Writers. Oxford, 2015. Print $43. 432 pages.
  • Jacque: This is a strong reader that emphasizes rhetorical situations. The readings would be of interest to an English 100 audience—Facebook, Partisanship, Fitness, Environment, etc. This would also be effective in a more reading-intensive version of English 100. Vote: Yes with reservations.
  • Bonnie: Has effective essays for voice, purpose, argument, etc. I like the topics. I guess I get hung up on the formatting of the material. Looking at the font (very small) in this text makes me think that it would be ideal for English 280 or a second text for 180.

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English 180

Ballenger, Bruce. The Curious Writer. 5th Ed. Boston: Pearson, 2018. Print $82. 432 pages.
  • Penny: I have always used this text for the online 180.  The ways he explains assignments and the reasons behind them make the text very clear and relatable for students.  The homework and paper assignments are easily adaptable to whatever is needed..  The 5th edition includes a re-genre chapter.
Ede, Lisa. The Academic Writer: A Brief Rhetoric. 4th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017. Print $42. 464 pages.
  • Christy: I really loved/love this text. I believe it aligns with the core of our curriculum, it is readable/accessible for students, and it is organized in such a way that instructors/professors could tailor the readings/lessons to their assignments. However, I found the content to be a bit more basic than I prefer for English 280 students. Perhaps, it could be a possible text for English 180. I may use a chapter(s) as a reading(s) for my course.
  • Brenda: The text is divided into three parts; Part I, titled “Writing and Rhetoric in Action,” is the section most closely correlated with Writing Program course objectives. Topics include the Habits of Mind, Academic Reading, How Genre Affects Reading, Rhetorical Analysis, the Three Appeals, and Writing Process. Part II, “Writing in College” includes discussions of entering a scholarly conversation, analysis, synthesis, argument, research, use of stasis questions, quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, MLA conventions etc. This section would line up well with instruction related to a research paper. Part III, “Practical Strategies for Composing Texts” is a detailed examination of the Writing Process with pragmatic tools and strategies for use at each stage. It also includes a chapter on multimodal composition The appendices include guidelines for MLA and APA. Few reading are included, and the content relies mainly on textbook explanations of concepts with sample student essays. No mention of discourse community specifically, but the Part II may lend itself to teaching about this topic. Genre mentioned only in the context of its effect on reading. Visual: Black, white, and green. Some visual images, bullet-pointed lists, diagrams, etc. Recommended for 180.
Flachmann, Kim and Michael Flachmann. Nexus: A Rhetorical Reader for Writers. New York: Pearson, 2015. Print $86. 512 pages.
  • Jose: The textbook starts with two chapters on reading and writing multimedia texts, which is an interesting way to get students interested in the type of writing and images they encounter in their everyday lives. However, these chapters are short and focus on elements commonly explored in other composition textbooks (brainstorming, drafting, revising, etc.). The next chapter contains a concise version of working with sources, which seems helpful for a class geared toward getting students up and running in relation to analysis and research. The textbook also contains chapters on description, narrative, “illustration,” and “process analysis.” Some, but not all, of these sections seem helpful for students working on short paper assignments such as a narrative essay. The final sections of the textbook contain chapters on division and classification, comparison and contrast, and cause and effect, among others; some of these sections may be helpful for students taking ENG 100 (when they are building from previous knowledge and writing assignments they may have encountered in the past) but probably not for ENG 180 or 280. But then, the final chapter of the textbook is about writing an argument paper, which is the paper I used to assign when teaching ENG 280. Lastly, each chapter contains about five to seven short nonfiction pieces, some by well-known authors, illustrating each concept, skill, or genre. Overall, this may be a helpful textbook for an ENG 100 or 180 class.
Glenn, Cheryl. The New Harbrace Guide: Genres to Composing. Cengage, 2017. Print $75. Rent $32. 512 pages.
  • Kathleen: The book has MindTap capabilities. Begins with a section on understanding the rhetorical situation: opportunity, purpose, audience, stance, genre, and medium. Some interesting examples of writing: Michael Berube’s book introduction; Malala Yousafzai’s blog entries; Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”; The Amethyst Initiative’s web page; Barry Prizant’s essay on autism and Disney movies. Helpful section on analyzing multimedia texts. Sections on how to write profiles, memoirs, investigative reports, position arguments, proposals, evaluations, critical analyses, literary analyses. Section on strategies – from tentative idea to finished product. Some interesting and helpful ideas in this section. Part 4 is the guide to research: finding and evaluating sources; synthesizing sources; MLA and APA citation only. Part 5 is called Real Situations for Real Writing: A Thematic Reader. It contains several essays on food; the millennial generation; public space; live that matter; STEM vs. STEAM. The essays are mix of student and professional essays. 4-6 examples/essays in each section. The book has some nice screen shots and graphics to add variety and interest to the book. Maybe a little simple for 280 but it would work. Maybe better suited to 180.
Jack, Jordynn and Katie Rose Guest Pryal. How Writing Works: A Guide to Composing Genres. Oxford, 2016. Print $49.95. 694 pages.
  • Brenda: Primary focus is on genre. Part I is entitled “Genre Toolkit” and Part II includes ten chapters each of which focuses on a specific academic genre. Part 3 consists of eight chapters devoted to the Writing Process. Part 4 focuses on research and includes the standard information on evaluating and integrating sources, avoiding plagiarism, citing sources etc. MLA and APA guides included as well as a Style and Usage Guide that addresses grammar concerns. No mention of discourse community in the index. Few readings are included, and the content relies mainly on textbook explanations of concepts with sample student essays. Lots of exercises, journal prompts, group activities throughout. Visual: Full color, many images, graphs, photos, etc.
Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of Everyday Life: A Guide to Writing. 5th Ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print $79. 832 pages.
  • Kathleen: 180ish book. Has 21 chapters. Many are topic/task related like inventing ideas; remembering who you were; explaining relationships; analyzing written texts and images; responding to arguments; proposing solutions; finding sources, etc. Also chapter on writing: organization, voice, and sentence structure. Includes a handbook and readings. Each chapter has readings from mostly students in the various modes. Most are short (2-4 pages). Has some useful information on invention and exploration activities but there is nothing unique or very aligned to the new curriculum. Could be used in 180 as a stretch.
Parks, Stephen. Writing Communities: A Text with Readings. Bedford, 2017. $58. 444 pages.
  • Brenda: The first chapter is a primer for critical reading; it includes a rationale for why one should read actively and critically and follows up with practical information and tools for developing critical reading strategies. The second chapter is about intellectual discourse and contains a discussion of writing process. Following are chapters on moving in to new communities at college and finding community in the writing classroom. Other chapter topics include writing identity, writing about place, digital writing, and publishing. Each chapter begins with a Writing Prompt that may be useful for journaling or even for formal assignments. Chapters 3, 4, 8, 10 include a total of 30 “Projects” which could be modified and used as journal prompts, formal writing assignments, group activities, etc. Visual: Black and white throughout with few visual images. Yes for 180.
  • Jacque: This book is organized around the idea of writing within and about communities, including neighborhoods, academia, and national and international communities. I like the concept, but there’s a lot of discussion about rhetoric that I think goes beyond the English 100 level. Vote: No for 100.
Reid, Stephen R. and Dominic DelliCarpini. The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers. New York: Pearson, 2017. Print $99. 608 pages.
  • Jose: The topics, content, and organization of this textbook reflect several of the goals and objectives for students taking ENG 180 (writing process, genre, critical thinking, research strategies, etc.). The concepts and ideas discussed and explained in the textbook also follow a similar sequence that builds on previous knowledge and concepts. The textbook has early chapters on “purposes and processes for writing,” audience, and rhetorical situation, which are useful when introducing students to college writing. The next chapter focuses on critical thinking and rhetorical analysis, followed by a section on analysis of multimedia texts. The textbook also introduces students to problem solving and argumentation, and the last two chapters focus on research and “researched writing.” This textbook contains some of the most detailed discussions on key concepts that I’ve encountered so far such as discussions on genre, rhetorical situation, guidance for revision, evaluation of sources, analyzing problems and solutions, in-text documentation, etc. This textbook also has a good balance of content, secondary readings, and sample student writings. Lastly, I liked its concise handbook included as an appendix. One missing concept from the current ENG 180 goals and objectives, however, is discourse community. Although this textbook is filled with great content, a major drawback, at least for me, is its price (more than $100 new on

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English 280

Ballenger, Bruce. The Curious Researcher. 9th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2018. Pring $42. 384 pages.
  • Penny: This text includes all of our objectives and addresses them well.  I have always appreciated the way he breaks the required work in to steps to allow the students to understand how and why a piece is necessary and fits in to the larger picture.  Speaks plainly and uses relatable examples.
Barnet and Bedau. From Critical Thinking to Argument. Bedford, 2014. $27. 395 pages.
  • Kathleen: This is a book that several of us have used over the years. It contains good information on writing arguments and includes some of our course goal information although not in our language. It has some examples of student and professional work. Helpful section on documentation in MLA and APA. Has a section on visual rhetoric. Would still be useful in 280 if supplemented with readings more focused on our goals. One of its strengths is its reasonable price.
Comer, Denise K. Writing in Transit. Fountainhead, 2015. Print $71.
  • Alisha: With an interdisciplinary focus this textbook “offers a transfer-based approach to writing” (back cover). This book looks really interesting, and would appeal to students in multiple majors, but the reading level may be higher than our average 280 student. The analysis chapter looks at a variety of types of data academic writers analyze including visual data, textual (language in a variety of genres and forms), and quantitative (scientific data analysis with examples with statistical analysis, which our students have trouble understanding in scholarly journals). This section includes examination of multiple modes of analysis (rhetorical, critical discourse, content analysis, visual analysis…). The chapter on arguments has a good discussion of criterial reading for effective argument. In addition, there is a detailed chapter on formats and modalities for designing arguments with examples like photographic essays, graphics, academic posters, elevator speeches, PSA’s and videos.
Greene, Stuart and April Lidinsky. From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Practical Guide. 3rd Ed. Boston: Bedford, 2015. Print $41. 384 pages.
  • Penny: Includes the WPA Outcomes!  I’ve been using this text for several semesters for the Online 280 and highly recommend it.  Includes many exercises that feed into larger assignments while still leaving me the option to include them as they are or tweak them a little to my assignments.  Many examples of college-level writing and beyond, with professional essays students have actually enjoyed.  Chapter One introduces the “Habits of Mind” for academic thinkers/writers: making inquiries; seeking and valuing complexity; seeing writing as a kind of conversation; and, understanding is a process that they can control to their benefit.
Holdstein, Deborah H., and Danielle Aquiline. Who Says? The Writer’s Research. 2nd Ed. New York: Oxford, 2017. Print $22.95. 192 pages.
  • Penny: Even though this text doesn’t address genre or discourse communities, I really like it.  The messages on research, rhetorical situation, interviewing, and process appear to be really helpful without being overly wording or providing too much direction.  Even the preface material would be useful as inclusions for course use I would consider using portions/chapters of this as supplements for my class.
  • Christy: I have, in the past, used the first edition of this text as a resource or research handbook. I like its brief discussion of rhetoric, information literacy, and research questions. I believe the text supports the curriculum but only as a resource versus a main text. One point to note: the students found it to be unnecessary or “stuff they already know.” I would recommend this text for English 280.
Keys for Writers with Assignment Guides – Ann Raimes and Susan K. Miller-Cochran. 7th Ed. – Cengage, 2017. Price $65/spiral/Amazon. 736 pages.
  • Kathleen: Very short section at the beginning of the book on reading and thinking critically. Also has a 30 page section in the beginning on common writing genres: literacy narratives; summary/response; rhetorical analyses; visual analyses; abstracts; research proposals; annotated bibs; literature reviews; persuasive arguments; lab reports; portfolio reflections; job application letters; resumes; memos (interesting). That section includes a discussion of purpose, audience, voice, and medium for each along with a key points page. Could be helpful and aligns well with our new goals and assignments.

The first half of the handbook is the writing process: critical thinking, reading, and writing; drafting in stages; revising, editing, and proofreading; writing and analyzing arguments; writing in academic disciplines. This section contains some student examples. One student sample is arguing not everyone needs to drink milk and one is an argument about theater, creativity, and profit. Nice to see something different in argument. It has sections in green detailing key points and includes some exercises. Includes sections on MLA, APA, CSE, and Chicago style. There is also a section on Design, Media and Presentation which includes document design, online communication forums, oral/multimedia presentations, portfolios, resumes, and business letters.

The last section of the handbook is the standard style and punctuation section with an interesting addition of a section on writing across languages and cultures.

This is a book I would consider using in 280 as a supplement or even as a text if I could get used copies as the cost is high. It would be a good book for 280 students to keep and take with them into their fields and their careers.

Thonney, Teresa. Academic Writing:Concepts and Connections with Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Print $59. 928 pages.
  • Christy: This text does align with the curriculum. There is good material on genre theory and rhetorical analysis. I think it’s a good text. My only critique is how it is organized. In some ways, it feels organized to specific genres rather than outcomes, concepts, or objectives. I would recommend this text for English 280, although I would not use it myself.
  • Jose: This textbook contains an overwhelming amount of information, at least for me, as it is almost 900-pages. Although we seldom assign students to read entire textbooks during one semester, even some of its chapters have discussions that extend for fifty pages or more. One major drawback is that the extensive amount of information (readings, summaries, sample papers, questions sections, secondary sources at the end of each chapter, etc.) makes it very difficult to navigate or find information on a particular topic or subject. This textbook seems to me more helpful for ENG 280 students since some of its structure and its chapter focus on research papers and “academic arguments.” The first chapter begins by talking about “academic writing across the disciplines”; then, chapter two moves to “strategies for reading academic writing,” moving to “reading academic arguments” (chapter three) and “writing academic arguments” (chapter 4), etc. One interesting feature of this textbook is that it contains extended sections that pair academic writing with a particular discipline (for example, sociology, environmental science, business, computer science, etc.). In sum, this textbook seems too focused or narrow in its emphasis on academic writing since one of the goals of the WIU Writing Program, I believe, is to expose students to the different types of writing that occur in academic settings but also the writing that occurs outside the classroom or in a work environment, among others.
Van Rys, John et al. The College Writer: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Researching, 6th Ed. Cengage – 2018. Cost $87. Rent: $35. 608 pages.
  • Kathleen: 3 Parts: I. Rhetoric; II. – Readings; III. – Research.

Part I –  130 pages; Rhetoric: 1. Critical thinking; Critical thinking has a section on practicing modes: analysis; synthesis; evaluation; application. Includes critical thinking strategies and information on how to write summary and analysis pieces. 2. Writing Process section includes –clear info on rhetorical situation; understanding the assignment/relating it to course goals; connecting assignments to yourself and other assignments; section on reflection as a mode; focus/thesis statement section; graphic organizers for planning; checklists at the end of each section; discussion of writing center tutors job vs. student’s job; example showing one writer’s journey through a paper (interesting); creating and submitting portfolios.

Part II – Readings section – 230 pages; talks about/provides examples for writing in different modes: classification; process; comparison/contrast; cause/effect; literary analysis; argument. Mix of student and professional examples in these areas.

Part III – Research section – 165 pages; discusses how to do research/evaluate sources; includes MLA and APA citation sections; examples of papers. Would work for 280 but the cost of purchase is certainly prohibitive.

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Alfano, Christine, L., and Alyssa J. O’Brien. Envision in Depth: Reading, Writing, and Researching Argument. 4th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2018. Print $110. Ebook $63. 592 pages.
  • Penny: Addresses rhetorical situation, asking research questions, and primary/secondary sources. There’s a lot of focus on the research process.
  • Christy: This text really only addresses argument/argumentation. Because I believe our curriculum to be much more complex, I assess this text as lacking. There seems to be more of an emphasis on visual engagement than on content. It does include some valuable material on research questions and primary research, though. I would not recommend this text for English 280.
  • Alisha: Overall I think this would be a good textbook. Concepts are easy to understand and use of images and figures support content. It has good description of rhetorical analysis. The section on Analysis and Argument includes written and visual rhetoric, persuasion, composing arguments, research. The chapter on planning research and collecting sources seems detailed with good examples. Drafting research chapters include extensive examples of mind maps and outlines. The works cited section includes many examples that are often left out of comp textbooks (videogames, social media posts…). There is a small section on conducting field research with minimal examples. Designing arguments includes examples from multiple genres and popular formats, like portfolios, newsletters, and multimedia presentation. Part 4 has readings based on themes (you are what you eat, life online, playing against stereotypes, crisis and resilience, claiming citizenship) with a variety of genres and media represented.
Axelrod, Rise B., Charles R. Cooper, and Alison M. Warriner. Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide. 11th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017. Print $65. 640 pages.
  • Christy: While this text has an excellent opening chapter that emphasizes the concepts and objectives of our curriculum, the text is organized by genre. Our courses are designed to emphasize concepts versus genres, and even in the genre chapters the objectives focus less on rhetorical situation (and even genre standards) than the entirety of our curriculum. I was excited to see a chapter in this text on Reflection but was disappointed to find that the chapter highlighted narrative rather than analysis. I would not recommend this text for English 280.
Behrens, Laurence and Leonard J. Rosen. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum . Pearson, 2015. Print $108. Rental $17. 672 pages.
  • Jacque: This book focuses on synthesis, analysis, argument, and sources. Too advanced for English 100. Vote: No.
Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically. 11th Ed. Stamford: Cengage, 2015. Print $53. 608 pages.
  • Penny: This is not really a composition text:  it goes over problem-solving, thinking, perceiving, and believing.  It does have lots of new media references and exercises.  Would be helpful for critical thinking work, but not about writing.
  • Kathleen: DO NOT RECOMMEND. Doesn’t contain any of our goals discussion or good assignment prompts for big projects. It does have some interesting small prompts. It focuses on critical thinking. Has some traditional readings and some more recent ones like the Casey Anthony case. There is a lot about visual analysis and each chapter has some recommended films to view as examples of the concept discussed. Chapter titles: Thinking; Thinking Critically; Solving Problems; Perceiving and Believing; Constructing Knowledge; Language and Thought; Forming and Applying Concepts; Relating and Organizing; Thinking Critically about Moral Issues; Constructing Arguments; Reasoning Critically; Thinking Critically, Living Creatively.
  • Jacque: This book contains a lot of charts and visuals about thinking critically and solving a problem. It’s fairly sophisticated on a rhetorical level and too advanced for English 100. Vote: No for 100.
Crusius, Timothy W. and Carolyn E. Channell. The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. 8th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015. Print $87. 608 pages.
  • Penny: Introduces “joining the conversation” as “arguing to inquire.” No “discourse community,” “genre,” “primary” or “secondary research.” Some “field research” and “interviews.”  Of course, readings are outdated and not all are even cited (dated).  It would be difficult to look at the topics as “current.”
Flachmann, Kim, and Michael Flachmann. The Prose Reader: Essays for Thinking, Reading, and Writing. Pearson, 2016. Print $85. Rental $17. 624 pages.
  • Jacque: This is a rhetorical modes reader that includes a large section devoted to documented writing. Vote: No for English 100.
Gooch and Seyler, eds. Argument. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print $78. 480 pages.
  • Penny: Presented like a large, glossy magazine, with headlines and pictures that function for the text but resemble ads and article photos from a magazine. This is based on their “Scholarship + Pedagogy = M-Series” to help students pay attention, stay on task, and be engaged with the material.  Frankly, although it doesn’t include any of our curriculum cue words, I do think it would engage students who are used to having many visual, electronic items going at once, and does indeed cover developing research questions, habits, work, and writing.  However, I can NOT engage with it!  (Sets my OCD/anxiety on edge!)
Goshgarian, Gary. Exploring Language. 14th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2015. Print $64. 512 pages.
  • Penny: Explains primary sources, but that is it when it comes to our objectives.  Has just the basics about researching in the rhetorical chapters with most of the book taken up by great groupings of a wide array of essays about types of language issues—some are really interesting.  There’s not enough on research to cover 280, but there’s too much, I think, for 180.
Johnson-Sheehan, Richard, and Charles Paine. Writing Today. Third Edition. Pearson, 2016. Print $82.58; Rental $25.
  • Jacque: A large portion of this book is devoted to research. Too advanced for English 100. Vote: No.
  • Bonnie: I really wanted to use this for English 100 because of the thorough coverage of issues, such as genre, rhetorical situation, reading critically, and such, but I finally decided it would serve English 180 students better, as it is less likely to scare them away (large, dense book, etc.). It also does not contain a “hook”, which is important to me, but it does have “white space”, divisions, colors, etc., which helps students understand the information more clearly.
Lester, James D. and James D. Lester, Jr. Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide. 15th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2015. Print $64. 416 pages.
  • Penny: While this book covers all sorts of researching rules, tips, and checklists, it doesn’t include our objectives.  There is a VERY brief mention of presenting research in “alternative forms,” but that is the closest it comes.
Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of Everyday Life: A Guide to Writing. 5th Ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print $79. 832 pages.
  • Kathleen: 180ish book. Has 21 chapters. Many are topic/task related like inventing ideas; remembering who you were; explaining relationships; analyzing written texts and images; responding to arguments; proposing solutions; finding sources, etc. Also chapter on writing: organization, voice, and sentence structure. Includes a handbook and readings. Each chapter has readings from mostly students in the various modes. Most are short (2-4 pages). Has some useful information on invention and exploration activities but there is nothing unique or very aligned to the new curriculum. Could be used in 180 as a stretch.
  • Bonnie: I love the essays in this text and think the students would benefit for its use. It is also very thorough and does contain issues dealing with everyday life. I wonder if the density would be too much for 180. I would strongly “vote” for its use in that course.
  • Christy: This text seems to focus mostly on the writing process. I would not recommend this text for English 280.
Miller-Cochran, Susan, Roy Stamper, and Stacey Cochran. An Insider’s Guide to Academic Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016. Print $41. 688 pages.
  • Christy: This Guide to Writing includes the WPA outcomes and emphasizes the concepts and objectives of our curriculum; however, it feels more like an introduction to the core concepts/outcomes rather than a guide to mastery. So, perhaps, this text would be better suited to an English 180 section or even a hybrid 180/280 course (in the future). I would not recommend this text for English 280.
  • Penny: Includes WPA Outcomes!  Has a lot of interesting, different methods available to students to demonstrate what is being focused on.  There are video links available on the companion site and interviews with professionals in various fields about how and when they do writing and research.  Would certainly be a useful concrete demonstration of academic writing. This text would actually be a very useful one for a hybrid 180/280 writing class for true Distance Learning/Online students who are older and have experience with real world writing, but could use reminders about and then pointers on academic writing.
Morey, Sean. The Digital Writer. Fountainhead Press, 2017. E-book $50.
  • Jose: This is an interesting textbook that focuses on several of the goals and outcomes of the WIU Writing Program with an emphasis on how some of these concepts and skills (rhetoric, argumentation, analysis, research, documentation, etc.) occur in “digital” environments (webpages, online advertisement, internet images, internet videos, social media, etc.). In contrast to other textbooks that focus on some of these “digital” platforms or some elements within them, The Digital Writer focuses exclusively on these genres or how writing, argumentation, analysis, etc. occurs when writing and reading texts and images online. One important benefit of focusing on digital platforms exclusively is that the textbook’s content could resonate more with students who have grown in the digital age and are accustomed to finding information online, watching Youtube videos, and using several social media platforms. One disadvantage, however, is that the textbook seem to suggest that writing and reading happens exclusively, or primarily at least, on a digital environment; the textbook does not discuss any type of “traditional” genres such as a narrative, a bibliography, or a research paper. I could imagine an interesting composition course (whether it is ENG 100, 180, or 280) in which the emphasis is about writing about “digital writing” instead of “writing about writing.”  
  • Alisha: I am totally fascinated by this textbook, but I’m not sure if I am brave enough to try it out. The focus is digital writing, but it includes many of the aspects our program expects us to consider like rhetorical appeals, working in different genres, conducting research and formulating arguments. Much of the information is specific to writing in digital media, such as digital image and video rhetoric and digital editing. It looks like it is written for professors who do not already have a tech background, but I would worry that it is more advanced than some of our students.
Northey, Margot and Joan McKibbin. Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing. 8th Ed. Canada: Oxford, 2015. Print $24.95. 240 pages.
  • Alisha: This would be a great supplementary text to use for basics in style and documenting sources. The drafting chapters are pretty simplistic without very much meat to them. Genres discussed are limited to writing a book report, essay, lab report, business report, or giving an oral presentation.
  • Penny: Simple book with none of the objective language at all.  Includes how to write a book report, lab or business report, and how to write in an examination.  Doesn’t seem college-appropriate.
Schick, Kurt and Laura Schubert. So What? The Writer’s Argument, with Readings. 2nd Ed. New York: Oxford, 2017. Print $24.95. 576 pages.
  • Penny: While genre and research are mentioned briefly in the rhetoric, research is, of course the point of the text. There’s much on the uses of research and where and how to conduct research.  Primary research isn’t labeled as such, with talking to a specialist to get their direction to other sources as the only real example (this of course wasn’t even labeled as interview).
  • Christy: This text really only addresses argument/argumentation. Because I believe our curriculum to be much more complex, I assess this text as lacking overall. It does include some valuable material on analyzing arguments. I really liked the chapter on analyzing arguments and could see myself using that chapter as a reading for my course, but I would not recommend the text in its entirety for English 280.

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Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer. 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016. Print $23. 400 pages.
  • Penny: (I am going to try this text.)  I feel it is important there we address grammar and writing issues with our students, some of whom even ask for grammar exercises and help.  Due to the ongoing issues we’ve had with Hacker, I have looked for a new possibility.  This one, in this edition, is cheaper than the current Hacker.
Smith, Allison. Signs: A Grammar Handbook. Fountainhead, 2016. Print $42. 336 pages.
  • Bonnie: Signs seems like a better grammar book for English 100 and 180 since it is more user friendly than Hacker. It is clear and less dense AND has color and divisions to clarify the usage uses.
Wysocki, Anne Frances, and Dennis A. Lynch. The DK Handbook. Pearson, 2016. 576 pages. $90 Spiral Bound.
  • Kathleen: Visually interesting. Tabbed and spiral-bound for ease of use. Good section/explanation on MLA documentation. Also includes APA, CSE, and CMS. Interesting first section on how to be a good college student. Other sections are Process; Finding Ideas; Using Sources with Integrity; Analyzing Arguments; Organizing; Drafting; Revising with Style; Documenting; Editing and Proofreading; Grammar and Punctuation. Nice book but the cost is prohibitive – around $90 – and it’s not that much better than our Hacker or the Easy Writer above.

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Additional Comments:

  • Christy: I found most of the texts I selected for review to be more introductory texts than mastery texts, which I believe for English 280 mastery is essential. I also find myself turned off by texts “with readings.” Many of the texts emphasize genre rather than outcomes, concepts, and objectives. Therefore, I recommended very few texts for English 280.
  • Bonnie: I feel like I could be accused of “dumbing” down English 100 student material, but without their attention, no learning can take place, and all of these textbooks have turned many of them “off” for years. I need a topic that I can use to fire them up. A “compost pile with worms” does that!!! Hope this helps.
  • Jacque: Reflections: I have put a star above on the texts that I think might work for English 100 but would be more suitable for English 180. Often in the past when I have reviewed textbooks, the ones “designed” for English 100 have more of a “workbook” feel to them, and there weren’t any books like this in the stack this time. I’m assuming that this type of book still exists, but in any case I always think they are more suitable for a pre-English 100 type course, such as those offered at a community college. Then it seems like there’s a huge leap to even the two books I thought might be suitable for English 100 but perhaps more suitable for English 180. The course that I have designed for English 100 is “between” the workbook style course and the full-blown reader. 100s focus on process somewhat limits the number of readings that could be accomplished in a given semester. Having said that, I have often thought that English 100 should include more readings than mine does. This past semester, I thought that the students needed more to read or watch than I gave them, and something to really talk about in the class, so that the class itself could form a discourse community focusing on some topical issue or problem.

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Not Reviewed:

Some books are on the list but not reviewed. I couldn’t even find some of them on the shelves and no one admitted to having them? Are some in Magdelyn’s office? Here they are by publisher:


  • Exploring Writing: Paragraphs and Essays, 3e Langan
  • A Writer’s Workshop: Crafting Paragraphs, Building Essays, 3e, Brannan
  • The Student Writer, 9e Clouse
  • Invention and Craft, 1e, Dively
  • Writing Matters 2e (3ed comes out in 2018), Howard


  • Writing About Writing – Dan has and is to review?
  • Joining the Conversation – Magdelyn has and is reviewing?

Fountainhead Press

  • Building Bridges through Writing, Trixie and Allison Smith


  • Brenda said she would also write a blurb for Everyone’s an Author – Lunsford

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