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FAQ: What and Why Should Students be Reading in a Basic Writing course?

“Teaching writing as a way of learning to read and reading closely as a model for careful writing is to guide students to the discovery of the powers of language.” — Ann E. Bertoff

By members of Karen Uehling’s graduate class at Boise State University: Spring 2015.

  • Amber Kovach
  • Heather Sinnes

What’s in your toolbox?

This page was created as part of a graduate seminar at Boise State University called, “The Theory and Teaching of Basic Writing.” Our group, consisting of two graduate students, decided to discover the benefits of using literature in the Basic Writing classroom. As MA in Literature students and First-Year writing instructors, the connection seemed obvious. Our focus is to provide useful strategies and resources to others so that they might also discover the connection for themselves.

What do we have to offer?

As students of literature and teachers of writing we believe it is important to build and teach from strengths. There are good ways to incorporate reading and writing strategies in BW. On this page you will find reading and writing strategies for instructors to add to their teaching toolbox. These teaching strategies help instructors bridge the connection between literature and BW for their students.

Why should you read this wiki?

  • The majority of the research found for this Wiki project indicates that many students lack reading comprehension skills and strategies, often because they were not previously taught, by the time they enter a college classroom.
  • Students who fall into the category of basic writer usually fall into the category of basic reader, indicating that reading and writing do have a significant and inseparable relationship with one another.
  • We assume that students know how to read actively, that reading has already been taught in the primary grades…” and that students are “able to assume the stance of experienced readers” (Levy 54).

What questions do we hope to address?

  • How do we teach reading in a writing classroom?
  • What genre should our students be reading in our courses?
  • Are there strategies to teach both reading and writing at the same time?
  • Is reading and writing about writing really the answer or is reading narrative more relatable and just as applicable to composition?

If you are a composition instructor in a basic writing course then there is a high probability that some of your students are also basic readers who lack the proper skills to read and write their way through college and beyond.

An Invitation to Contribute

As teachers of writing we all understand the value of collaboration and this wiki is no different. While our research was extensive, we live in a world where new ideas and strategies are always coming along. With that in mind we encourage you to contribute your teaching strategies, what you read in your classes and any other info you feel would benefit other readers of this wiki.

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Page last modified on May 04, 2015, at 02:14 PM