Good Writing: An Argument Rhetoric

Review of Good Writing: An Argument Rhetoric by Connie Snyder Mick

Materiality:

  • Lightweight, 527 pages, small dimensions, and very easy to carry

Cost:

Used: $30.06, New: $58.95; ISBN-13: 978-0199947256; ISBN-10: 0199947252

Strengths:

  • This book is a neatly organized, thorough, and practical guide for shaping ethical, socially responsive and responsible college-level academic argument papers. Her pedagogical mission most evident in chapter 25, which focuses on inclusive writing, and chapter 5, which focuses on writing ethically and which integrity. Chapter 5 teaches students how to avoid plagiarism through respect for other people’s ideas. I particularly appreciate chapter 25 because it has a chart entitled “Alternatives to Exclusive Language.” This chart lists examples of language that exclude people along the lines of age, citizenship status, social and economic class etc in one column, and then provides inclusive alternatives in another column.
  • This text includes content that is essential for first year student. Most of the chapters have sections called “Critical Questions” and “Office Hours.” The Critical Questions sections can provide the opportunity for students to think about their writing, and the Office Hours sections can enable students to approach their professors with the ability to articulate how and what they need help with.
  • The tables included in this book make it a great reference guide for students. For example, chapter 27 contains a table on constructing signal phrases, verbs, and adverbs for direct quotation. This table can serve as a quick reference for students having a hard time in finding the words to articulate their stance as they respond to scholarly arguments.
  • There is a table that lists and explains words that are commonly used in writing prompts, another that is a sample plan for scheduling a writing project in order to meet deadlines, and a list of questions to think about when revising a paper draft. My personal favorite set of charts was in chapter eleven, entitled “Prioritize, Organize, and Outline.” This chapter contains charts delineating how to writing the body paragraphs of an argument essay that can help students move away from the writing essay; specifically, the Toulmin method, the classical method, and chunking. There are tables to go along with each of these methods that I find could be very helpful for teaching body paragraphs.

Support in E110 Goals:

  • Write clearly about complex texts and ideas.

How the book will help achieve this goal:

  • Chapter eleven, entitled “Prioritize, Organize, and Outline.” This chapter contains charts delineating how to writing the body paragraphs of an argument essay that can help students move away from the writing essay; specifically, the Toulmin method, the classical method, and chunking.
  • Chapter 24 on style contains a section on clarity
  • Chapter 27 on evaluating sources contains a table on constructing signal phrases, verbs, and adverbs for direct quotation.
  • Consider issues of audience and context in your writing.

How the book will help will achieve this goal:

  • Her pedagogical mission most evident in chapter 25, which focuses on inclusive writing, and chapter 5, which focuses on writing ethically and which integrity. Chapter 5 teaches students how to avoid plagiarism through respect for other people’s ideas. I particularly appreciate chapter 25 because it has a chart entitled “Alternatives to Exclusive Language.” This chart lists examples of language that exclude people along the lines of age, citizenship status, social and economic class etc in one column, and then provides inclusive alternatives in another column.
  • Chapter 2 on the elements of rhetoric and chapter 1 on why to write shows students how to understand themselves and their audience – it teaches self awareness as part of being aware of how the audience might compare and contrast
  • Respond thoughtfully and constructively to the work of other writers.

How the book will  help achieve this goal:

  • chapter 21 on rebuttal and chapter 22 on advocating for change are very procedural and provide steps for engaging with the ideas of other writers.
  • chapter 27 contains a table on constructing signal phrases, verbs, and adverbs for direct quotation.
  • Compose both print and digital texts.

How the book will achieve this goal:

  • Chapter 26 deals with print digital and oral presentations everything is listed and bulleted so that students can refer to this chapter as a sort of checklist

Weaknesses:

  • While the format and design of the book does not always suit the text, the content is ideal for first year students in need of tools for writing college level argument papers.
  • The spacing of the text is a little overwhelming. The tables, bulleted and numbered lists, and paragraphing of the text seem more suited for a book that is printed in color and with larger dimensions. I personally would find it easier to read.
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