Rhetorical Reading

Overall, the practice of using Writing About Writing in my basic writing classroom has been a fruitful enterprise. One notable success was my decision to assign Christina Haas and Linda Flower’s “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” for the summary essay. Students were required to read and summarize Haas and Flower’s essay in a 2-page double-spaced summary essay. My students found themselves relating well with the students described in Haas and Flower’s study of freshman readers, and the content of the article was relevant, as we worked on developing effective reading strategies that can lead to writing for academic purposes. The assignment sequence was successful also because the article offered enough complexity that students actually had to choose what issues and details to focus on and include in their summary. Continue reading “Rhetorical Reading”

Teaching Reading in Wayne State’s Basic Writing Classs

For the last month, I’ve been working on setting specific, research-based goals for teaching reading in the basic writing classroom. Teaching reading can be challenging because it is hard to access in the classroom: reading is something that really happens entirely inside the student’s mind, and we often can only access indirect measures of reading ability, such as written responses to questions, summaries, notes, etc. Nonetheless, reading is fundamental to the composition class. For example, in the basic writing class, two of our central genres are summary and response. These two ways of interacting texts are deeply rooted in reading abilities, and lie at the core of much academic writing. Continue reading “Teaching Reading in Wayne State’s Basic Writing Classs”