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    Writing, Reading and College Success: A First Year Composition Course for All Learners

    by Athena Kashyap & Erika Dysquito

    funded by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

    originally published on Libretexts


    Licensed CC BY-NC 4.0; individual pages or chapters may have more restrictive licensing, so please check each page's licensing requirements before re-using material


    The goal for this textbook was to revise and adapt the open educational resource (OER) textbook, Writing for Success so that the revision met the current needs of California Community College students. We succeeded in meeting our goal by adding additional scaffolding for developmental and ESL learners to help them with reading, writing, and college success skills; materials for learning in multiple modalities; teacher resources; and expanded materials about the reading and writing process. This in-depth revision allowed us to combine pre-collegiate level English instruction along with first year composition materials. We have not only fulfilled all that we said we would do in our initial proposal but, in addition, expanded the focus to all potential learners in a first year college composition course.

    Review of Results and Implementation

    As a result of the passing of AB 705, students are no longer required to take placement tests that might require them to take several Basic Skills classes. Instead, they are now placed directly into first-year composition along with other learners with higher skill levels. To address the wide disparity in skill levels, we wanted to create/adapt a text book that had information for learners of all levels. To achieve this, we expanded the scaffolded instruction for developmental and ESL learners, as well as the reading and writing sections, elaborating on the reading-writing connection. At the same time, to make the course challenging for learners who would traditionally have placed into first-year composition, we discussed writing in the context of rhetoric so that students could start thinking about how essay writing relates to persuasion and argumentation.

    We also expanded the Writing Process section so that we could include more resources in each of the different stages of writing so that students and instructors might have more resources to help them understand each step in the process. To bring writing to the forefront, we moved the grammar section back while including more material suitable for English language learners, and made reading and writing the focus of the book, a process which entailed a thorough restructuring of the book.

    Many students taking first-year composition in their very first semester lack college success skills. To help these students become better equipped to embrace challenges in college, we added more resources to the chapter on college success, including expanding the time management section. Lastly, many teachers are ill-equipped to teach students who are at very different skill levels in the same classroom. We created a sample outline for them showing how the different topics and units might be scaffolded as needed to suit learners at both the basic skills and regular levels.

    Guided Pathways

    Guided pathways were created so that students can make conscious choices that help them reach their goals. We addressed guided pathways with two new sections on Writing in the Age of Technology and Writing as Conversation. The former emphasizes the importance of writing and the skills one acquires for work by writing essays. In Writing as Conversation, we make writing much more accessible by connecting writing to joining a conversation. We also interspersed the text with Writing at Work tips to show how writing essays has real-world applications.

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