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ERIC Number: ED214187
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Readers in the Composition Course: Why They Fail, How We Can Make Them Work.
Hennessy, Michael
The effectiveness of the freshman composition "reader" as a source of prose models for student essays is questionable because their often long and complicated rhetorical strategies and ideas can intimidate the writers. The narrow expository patterns offered in the readers can also reduce essay writing to a matter of copying a prescribed organizational pattern, drawing attention away from consideration of persona, audience, and purpose, thus restricting the student's inventiveness. The greatest drawback of such models is their fundamental inability to illustrate the process of writing. Unfortunately, the writing process probably cannot be demonstrated fully and effectively in any form except the actual practice of writing. Despite these drawbacks, freshmen readers can be productive in the composition course. Students can keep journals of their responses to the passages as a prewriting technique. The instructor can then gradually steer the journal writing away from expressive and toward referential prose, including abstracts of essays and discussions or refutations of a passage's main point. The readers can still be used for direct imitation, but this should be introduced much later in the course, in conjunction with a discussion on style, and only after the less restrictive use of prose models has been explored in some detail. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A