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7.1: Letter to Instructors

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    Dear instructors,

    Welcome to Reading, Writing, Researching, and Reasoning: An Advanced ESL Text. We hope that you can use this book to help teach your advanced ESL students the skills and practices of college level reading and writing.

    About us

    This book was created through an OER grant from the Academic Senate of the California Community College. All of the contributors are California Community College instructors. We were inspired to create this text because we could not find other texts with the challenging content we hope to teach, themes and topics that are most relevant to our students, and a focus on “just in time” language teaching.

    However, we are first and foremost teachers, not professional textbook writers. This book is the result of a bottom-up process, generated through our own experience of seeing what worked. As an OER text, we see it as part of an iterative, ongoing process. We hope that you will use what works for you and continue to adapt and develop the materials.

    We also bring to this project our own teaching styles and diverse ways of categorizing information. This can be seen in some slight differences in style between the different chapters. We see this as a benefit and hope that you will find material in here that matches your own teaching style, as well as something that will show you a new way of looking at the material.

    Our guiding principles

    As instructors, we value sharing sample writing assignments for students to analyze. As such, we have included at least one sample writing in each chapter. They represent different genres including a reading response journal, a summary/response essay, and research-based essays.

    We also link the reading and writing processes by assigning several thematically related texts for students to read and write about. In this book, each chapter has a social justice–oriented thematic focus with several related texts and related writing samples from our own students. We also seek to keep all examples on topic and appropriately academic so that students can be exposed to the kind of texts that they are expected to produce.

    Another purpose in including authentic texts is to provide students the chance to inductively analyze writing choices made by these professional writers and explore how that influences the reader and how they could incorporate the same skills into their own writing. In this book, you can see this process through the sequence of “notice this”, “try this”, and “apply this” activities in each chapter.

    Using this book

    This book follows the general course of one of our own reading and writing classes, in which we first address reading strategies, and then focus on essay structure through a shorter essay. After that, we assign a longer research paper that includes a focus on research strategies as well as more in-depth looks on refining a paper through exploring sources and exploring logic, and finally revision for clarity and style. However, each of these skills is a recursive process that is repeated throughout the semester with increasing complexity.

    Thus, we do not envision this as a textbook that will be read straight through from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6. Instead, you are perhaps more likely to use it as a reference text and assign specific activities to students as needed, and you may use the sample student essays to teach multiple skills. Each chapter also has a language toolkit which is a concise reference that you can encourage students to save and refer back to throughout the semester.

    While you may be excited to explore the themes of the topics, you are also encouraged to apply the activities to your own readings and themes. For this reason, the examples on each individual page do not build cumulatively; students should be able to understand the readings or text of any individual page with only the briefest of background information.

    Lastly, we want you to make this your own. You are encouraged to change, add, or edit to make this fit into your own teaching style and class. You can also copy text into your own LMS site. We only ask that you maintain the licensing on any adaptations, as that is a requirement of our CC BY NC Creative Commons licensing.

    We are curious to hear about what worked for you and your suggestions for revision, as well as seeing what sample work your students have produced. Please send all comments to Gabriel Winer ( and Elizabeth Wadell (

    Happy teaching!

    Anne Agard, Laney College

    Claire Corcoran, City College of San Francisco

    Marit ter Mate-Martinsen, Santa Barbara City College

    Susie Naughton, Santa Barbara City College

    Cynthia Spence, Imperial Valley College and College of the Desert

    Elizabeth Wadell, Laney College

    Gabriel Winer, Berkeley City College

    Jenny Yap, Berkeley City College

    Clara Zimmerman, Porterville College

    May, 2022

    This page titled 7.1: Letter to Instructors is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gabriel Winer & Elizabeth Wadell (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .

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