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The Main Event: Readings for Writing and Critical Thinking / Edition 1

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Overview

This reader contains twelve thematic sections, each featuring a “Main Event” reading and a companion assignment for critical thinking and writing. Each writing assignment covers a different type of writing—both academic and practical. The book discusses various preparation strategies so that its users can more effectively and efficiently put their thoughts into words—and their words onto paper. KEY TOPICS A variety of themes—Film and Television, Democracy in the Classroom, Dreams, Marriage and Divorce, American Cities, Technology, Your Body, Youth Culture, Biographies, Fairy Tales; The Justice System: and Jobs in the 21st Century—will appeal to a wide and diverse audience. For readers and writers who want to learn how to respond critically to a text, and generate responses of their own.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130486585
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 9/30/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

In today's classroom, students are looking for relevance in the curriculum. They want to know that what they are learning has practical applications, both in their future studies and in the world beyond schooling. Facing this is the composition instructor. One tool for the instructor is a reading text that provides articles and essays that are interesting, challenging, and relevant. A composition instructor needs a text that provides practical advice and solid examples of composition. Of course, instruction on critical thinking skills is an important facet of many composition courses, so the selected text must help students learn this vital skill, too. In short, teaching composition involves the teaching of reading, writing, and critical thinking. An instructor needs a text designed for that task.

The Main Event: Readings for Writing and Critical Thinking is a thematic reader that meets the needs of freshman English and composition courses in which reading, writing, and critical thinking form the core of the instruction. The reader allows instructors to explore a particular subject of relevance to today's students. In each chapter, there is a featured essay, called the Main Event Reading. The Main Event Reading is the work on which that chapter's instruction on reading, writing, and critical thinking is based, giving all lessons a common ground. The Main Event Reading is followed by the writing assignment. The writing assignment in each chapter covers a different.type of writing, both academic and practical. In this way, instructors can build a course with confidence, knowing their students will gain experience writing for a variety of situations.

Building a course with The Main Event is easy. An advantage of the Main Event format is that instructors can choose which types of writing assignments they wish to cover and feel comfortable that the pedagogy in each chapter is tailored to suit the needs of each writing situation. The writing lessons are practical, and each chapter presents a sample essay written for each particular type of writing situation. The themes in this text meet both the academic requirements of freshman English and composition courses and the interests of many college students.

Instructors have a choice of twelve thematic chapters, with twelve different types of writing assignments. The chapters are essentially self-contained, so instructors can teach any selection of the chapters. To design a course, instructors can choose the themes they want to teach, confident that the writing lessons, assignments, and readings will provide good opportunities for learning. Because the instruction is based on the Main Event Reading, instructors and students are provided with a context for each writing lesson. Beyond each Main Event Reading, there are six to eight additional readings in each chapter. The text provides many opportunities to provide students with good reading, writing, and critical thinking instruction.

Critical thinking skills are an increasingly vital aspect of all college classrooms, and in college writing classes, these skills may be used to analyze readings and to produce written materials, such as essays and term papers. Consequently, The Main Event helps with this process by not only providing critical thinking questions for each reading in the text, but also by integrating critical thinking skills into the writing lessons. Critical thinking is not separate from but an essential element of good writing.

FEATURES OF THE MAIN EVENT

The Main Event begins with an Introduction to Reading that covers the basics of reading college-level material. Included in the introduction is instruction on reading for meaning, highlighting, separating facts and inferences, and analyzing the credibility of an author. The Introduction to Reading provides students with the thinking tools needed to succeed in critically analyzing the readings. We highly recommend instructors assign the Introduction to Reading early in the semester, if not at the very start.

Following the introduction are twelve chapters, each on a different theme. Each chapter contains the following features:

The Main Event Reading

Each chapter begins with a Main Event Reading that serves as the context for the lessons. It is also the principal reading for most of the critical thinking questions, and the sample paper is based on a response to this reading. The reading is marked with handwritten margin notes, serving as a model for students to see how to mark up a text themselves. The margin notes encourage students to consider the important questions that each Main Event Reading presents. In other words, as students are reading the text, they are thinking critically.

Preceding each reading is a list of vocabulary words with definitions. Following the reading are three sets of questions. The first questions are "What Did You Read?" questions that encourage students to read for comprehension. Questions' labeled "What Do You Think?" provoke inquiry and discussion about each reading that can also provide alternative writing contexts to the Main Event Writing Assignment questions. Lastly, "How Was It Done?" questions explore the rhetorical strategies embedded in each essay, helping students examine how professional writers choose to organize and develop their essays.

The Main Event Writing Assignment

Each chapter introduces a new writing assignment. Each assignment provides four to five different questions as options for the assignment. The questions are not only based on the issues raised directly by the Main Event Reading, but also by the theme of the chapter itself. Students do not have to be limited by the Main Event Reading if they wish to investigate other areas related to the theme. Each Main Event Writing Assignment requires a different approach and form from those found in other chapters, giving students more variety and practical experience in confronting different writing situations.

Preparation Punch List

This is a suggested list of questions that instructors and students can consider before beginning the drafting process. The Preparation Punch List guides students in thinking about their writing options, and the types of reading and research they might need to do before composing their essays. The list can also provide instructors with questions to stimulate in-class discussions. Of course, the list is only a starting point. As a prewriting exercise, the punch list can help students brainstorm their own ideas.

The Main Event Writing Lesson

Each chapter has a writing lesson that describes the tasks for the Main Event Writing Assignment, so students have an understanding of what each assignment requires. Emphasis is on practical considerations, including preparation for writing, form, audience, content, and presentation. Instruction is provided for the following aspects of writing:

  • Basic essay form
  • Definition
  • Using summary in an analysis
  • Conducting an interview
  • Audience, tone, purpose
  • Critique
  • Causal analysis
  • Critical analysis
  • Historical analysis
  • Literary analysis
  • Policy report
  • Research-based paper
Main Event Sample Essay

Each chapter includes a model paper, done on a question from the Main Event Writing Assignment, and which applies the Writing Lesson. Key parts of each sample paper are highlighted with margin notes. Each paper provides students not only with a good example of what a successful final product looks like, but, as the chapters proceed, each essay demonstrates increasing sophistication with incorporating research and documenting those materials in Modern Language Association (MLA) format.

Additional Readings

In addition to the Main Event Reading, each thematic section features six or seven more readings. These readings range from classic to contemporary. The additional readings also have vocabulary lists and sets of questions called "What Did You Read?", "What Do You Think?", and "How Was It Done?".

Appendices

After the last thematic chapter, there are two appendices. Appendix I presents the basics of the MLA documentation system, based on The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition, and Appendix II does the same for the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system, based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition. Examples of both in-text documentation and bibliographic entries are included in both appendices.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading Critically.

The Basics of Reading Critically.

Determining Main Ideas and Supporting Ideas.

Summarizing the Reading.

Analyzing the Evidence.

Establishing the Credibility of the Author.

Reading Yourself into an Expert.

1. Film and Television.

Main Event Reading: “The Stoned Screen” by Brian D. Johnson.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Basic Essay Form.

Thesis.

The Essay.

Structure of the Essay: The Funnel System.

Body Paragraph Development.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Disturbing Films”.

Additional Readings:

“Go Ahead, Make Her Day” by Richard Corliss and Jeanne McDowell.

“You’ve Come Which Way, Baby?” by Elayne Rapping.

“Working Women” by Tess Ryan-Wilkinson.

“Fade to Black” by George Alexander.

“Call It ‘Kid-Fluence’” by Marci McDonald and Marianne Lavelle.

“The Market for Television Violence” by James T. Hamilton.

“We are Training Our Kids to Kill” by Dave Grossman.

2. Democracy in the Classroom.

Main Event Reading: “Crossing Boundaries” by Mike Rose.

Main Event Writing Assignment: Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Using Definition in an Essay.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Democracy Promotes Success”.

Additional Readings:

from Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.

“Tocqueville on Democratic Intellectual Life” by Allan Bloom.

“The De-Democratization of Schools and Literacy in America” by James V. Hoffman.

“Renewing Democracy in Schools” by Nel Noddings.

“Tests That Fail Democracy” by Gregory Shafer.

“The Good Old Golden Rule Days” by William A. Henry, III.

3. Dreams.

Main Event Reading: from The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Using Summary in an Essay.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Wish Fulfillment: A Dream of My Mother”.

Additional Readings:

“On the Nature of Dreams” by Carl Jung.

“The Nature of Dreaming” by James A. Hall.

“The Meaning of Dreams” by Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick.

“People in Dreams” by Gayle Delaney.

“Scientists Debate over Dreams Takes a New Twist” by Brigid Schulte. “The Nature and Uses of Dreaming”

by Ernest Hartmann.

“I Have a Dream” by Roger L. Welsch.

4. Marriage and Divorce.

Main Event Reading: “Patterns in Marriage” by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: An Interview.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “The Marriage of Serena and Vince”.

Additional Readings:

“Blowing Up the Myths: Myth #4 and Myth #5” by Phillip C. McGraw.

“Love Lessons from a Divorce Lawyer” by Robert Stephan Cohen.

“Marriage and Divorce American Style” by E. Mavis Hetherington.

“Fault or No Fault?” by Muller Davis.

“Warning: Living Together May Ruin Your Relationship” by Stephanie Staal.

“Time, Sex, and Money” by Michael G. Lawler and Gail S. Risch.

“The Marriage Rehearsal” from Chatelaine by Peter Carter.

5. American Cities and Towns.

Main Event Reading: “On the Playing Fields of Suburbia” by David Brooks.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Audience, Tone, and Purpose.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “The Myth of Suburbia”.

Additional Readings:

“Critical Mass or Incredible Mess?” by Bill Manson.

“Making Cities Civil” by Joseph Dolman.

“The Ecology of Hollywood” by Rory Spowers.

“The Future of New York” by Jonathan Alter and Geoffrey Gagnon.

“In Detroit, A Crusade to Stop Child Killings” by Alexandra Marks.

“Bitterness Taints a Sweet Victory” by David Lamb.

“The Changing Heartland” by Dean Foust, Brian Grow, and Aixa M. Pascual.

6. Technology & Society.

Main Event Reading: “DNA Detectives” by Gunjan Sinha.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Critique.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Critique of ‘DNA Detectives’”.

Additional Readings:

“Welcome to the Snooper Bowl” by Lev Grossman.

“Narcissus Cloned” by John J. Conley.

“Clear Thinking about Human Cloning” by Terence Hines.

“The Virtualizing of Education” by Samuel L. Dunn.

“Look Out for the Luddite Label” by Langdon Winner.

“Technology as a Magnifier of Good and Evil” by Robert D. Kaplan.

“The Mike Mulligan Moment: Computers May be Dumb, But They’re Not Too Dumb to Take Your Job” by

Robert Wright.

7. Your Body.

Main Event Reading: “The Pursuit of Beauty: The Enforcement of Aesthetics or a Freely Adopted Lifestyle?” by Henri

Wijsbek.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Causal Analysis.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Fad Diets: A Craze You Should Avoid”.

Additional Readings:

“Body Envy” by Nora Underwood.

“Does He or Doesn’t He?” by Pat Haire.

“Exercise That Fits Your Body” by Kimberly Wong.

“The Answer to Weight Loss is Easy – Doing It is Hard” by Marion J. Franz.

“I Had an Eating Disorder…and Didn’t Even Know It!” by Lori Gottlieb.

“The Fattening of America” by Barry Sears with Bill Lawren.

“Sports Supplement Dangers” from Consumer Reports.

8. Youth Culture.

Main Event Reading: “Born in Fire: A Hip-Hop Odyssey”.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Critical Analysis.

Induction.

Deduction.

Distinguishing Between Facts and Inferences.

Logical Fallacies.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Fashion as the Symbol of a New Generation”.

Additional Readings:

“Rave Fever” by Susan Oh and Ruth Atherley.

“Get Ready for the Net Generation” by Mark L. Alch.

“Understanding Youth, Popular Culture, and the Hip Hop Influence” by Patricia Thandi Hicks Harper.

“The Kids are All Right” from The Economist.

“Going to Extremes” by Joan Raymond.

“Habla English?” by Rebecca Gardyn.

“Youth Shall Be Served” by Becky Ebenkamp and Karl Greenberg.

9. Biographies.

Main Event Reading: “Out West” from Inventing Mark Twain by Andrew Jay Hoffman.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Historical Analysis.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Mark Twain: Samuel Clemens in the Wild West”.

Additional Readings:

“It’s Going to Happen” by James Wallace and Jim Erickson.

“Prologue” by Edmund Morris.

“Outside the Slaughterhouse” by Theodora Kroeber.

“Portraits of a Marriage” by Hayden Herrera.

from Shakey: The Neil Young Story by Jimmy McDonough.

“Politics” by Sidney Poitier.

“Then and Now” by Bill Blass.

10. Fairy Tales.

Main Event Reading: “Cinderella, Or the Little Glass Slipper” by Charles Perrault.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Literary Analysis.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Women in Fairy Tales”.

Additional Readings:

“Hansel and Gretel” by Jacob and Wilheim Grimm.

“Rumpelstilzskin” by Jacob and Wilheim Grimm.

“Beauty and the Beast” by Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.

“The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen.

from The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim.

“The Fairy Tale Lady” by Claire Whitcomb.

“From an Ounce of Sorrow” by Jan Knappert.

11. The Justice System.

Main Event Reading: “Reasonable Doubts” by Stephen Pomper.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: The Concession Paragraph.

The Main Event Writing Sample: “Desperately Needed Prison Reforms”.

Additional Readings:

“Death and Texas” by JoAnn Wypijewski.

“Justice on the Cheap” by Amy Bach.

“The Problem with the Chair” by Carl M. Cannon.

“Against Mandatory Minimums” by John J. DiIulio, Jr.

“The Risks Juveniles Face” by Jason Ziedenberg and Vincent Schiraldi.

“Adult Consequences for Young Offenders by Adam Rich.

“When the Evidence Lies” by Belinda Luscombe, et al.

12. Jobs in the 21st Century.

Main Event Reading: “Expanding Your Comfort Zone” by Sandy Anderson.

Main Event Writing Assignment.

Preparation Punch List.

Main Event Writing Lesson: Conducting Research.

Main Event Writing Sample: “Jobs for the Future”.

Additional Readings:

“Where the Job Machine Will Be Cranking” by Bill Cheng.

“Creating a Successful Career” by Anthony Stith.

“Excellence: The Call to Greatness” by Lawrence G. Boldt.

“Suit Yourself: The Secret of Career Satisfaction” by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger.

“Do You Fit the Bill?” by Sandra Gurvis.

“Introduction: Advantages and Disadvantages of Night Owl Jobs” by Louise Miller.

Appendix 1: MLA Documentation.

Appendix 2: APA Documentation.

Read More Show Less

Preface

In today's classroom, students are looking for relevance in the curriculum. They want to know that what they are learning has practical applications, both in their future studies and in the world beyond schooling. Facing this is the composition instructor. One tool for the instructor is a reading text that provides articles and essays that are interesting, challenging, and relevant. A composition instructor needs a text that provides practical advice and solid examples of composition. Of course, instruction on critical thinking skills is an important facet of many composition courses, so the selected text must help students learn this vital skill, too. In short, teaching composition involves the teaching of reading, writing, and critical thinking. An instructor needs a text designed for that task.

The Main Event: Readings for Writing and Critical Thinking is a thematic reader that meets the needs of freshman English and composition courses in which reading, writing, and critical thinking form the core of the instruction. The reader allows instructors to explore a particular subject of relevance to today's students. In each chapter, there is a featured essay, called the Main Event Reading. The Main Event Reading is the work on which that chapter's instruction on reading, writing, and critical thinking is based, giving all lessons a common ground. The Main Event Reading is followed by the writing assignment. The writing assignment in each chapter covers a different.type of writing, both academic and practical. In this way, instructors can build a course with confidence, knowing their students will gain experience writing for a variety of situations.

Building a course with The Main Event is easy. An advantage of the Main Event format is that instructors can choose which types of writing assignments they wish to cover and feel comfortable that the pedagogy in each chapter is tailored to suit the needs of each writing situation. The writing lessons are practical, and each chapter presents a sample essay written for each particular type of writing situation. The themes in this text meet both the academic requirements of freshman English and composition courses and the interests of many college students.

Instructors have a choice of twelve thematic chapters, with twelve different types of writing assignments. The chapters are essentially self-contained, so instructors can teach any selection of the chapters. To design a course, instructors can choose the themes they want to teach, confident that the writing lessons, assignments, and readings will provide good opportunities for learning. Because the instruction is based on the Main Event Reading, instructors and students are provided with a context for each writing lesson. Beyond each Main Event Reading, there are six to eight additional readings in each chapter. The text provides many opportunities to provide students with good reading, writing, and critical thinking instruction.

Critical thinking skills are an increasingly vital aspect of all college classrooms, and in college writing classes, these skills may be used to analyze readings and to produce written materials, such as essays and term papers. Consequently, The Main Event helps with this process by not only providing critical thinking questions for each reading in the text, but also by integrating critical thinking skills into the writing lessons. Critical thinking is not separate from but an essential element of good writing.

FEATURES OF THE MAIN EVENT

The Main Event begins with an Introduction to Reading that covers the basics of reading college-level material. Included in the introduction is instruction on reading for meaning, highlighting, separating facts and inferences, and analyzing the credibility of an author. The Introduction to Reading provides students with the thinking tools needed to succeed in critically analyzing the readings. We highly recommend instructors assign the Introduction to Reading early in the semester, if not at the very start.

Following the introduction are twelve chapters, each on a different theme. Each chapter contains the following features:

The Main Event Reading

Each chapter begins with a Main Event Reading that serves as the context for the lessons. It is also the principal reading for most of the critical thinking questions, and the sample paper is based on a response to this reading. The reading is marked with handwritten margin notes, serving as a model for students to see how to mark up a text themselves. The margin notes encourage students to consider the important questions that each Main Event Reading presents. In other words, as students are reading the text, they are thinking critically.

Preceding each reading is a list of vocabulary words with definitions. Following the reading are three sets of questions. The first questions are "What Did You Read?" questions that encourage students to read for comprehension. Questions' labeled "What Do You Think?" provoke inquiry and discussion about each reading that can also provide alternative writing contexts to the Main Event Writing Assignment questions. Lastly, "How Was It Done?" questions explore the rhetorical strategies embedded in each essay, helping students examine how professional writers choose to organize and develop their essays.

The Main Event Writing Assignment

Each chapter introduces a new writing assignment. Each assignment provides four to five different questions as options for the assignment. The questions are not only based on the issues raised directly by the Main Event Reading, but also by the theme of the chapter itself. Students do not have to be limited by the Main Event Reading if they wish to investigate other areas related to the theme. Each Main Event Writing Assignment requires a different approach and form from those found in other chapters, giving students more variety and practical experience in confronting different writing situations.

Preparation Punch List

This is a suggested list of questions that instructors and students can consider before beginning the drafting process. The Preparation Punch List guides students in thinking about their writing options, and the types of reading and research they might need to do before composing their essays. The list can also provide instructors with questions to stimulate in-class discussions. Of course, the list is only a starting point. As a prewriting exercise, the punch list can help students brainstorm their own ideas.

The Main Event Writing Lesson

Each chapter has a writing lesson that describes the tasks for the Main Event Writing Assignment, so students have an understanding of what each assignment requires. Emphasis is on practical considerations, including preparation for writing, form, audience, content, and presentation. Instruction is provided for the following aspects of writing:

  • Basic essay form
  • Definition
  • Using summary in an analysis
  • Conducting an interview
  • Audience, tone, purpose
  • Critique
  • Causal analysis
  • Critical analysis
  • Historical analysis
  • Literary analysis
  • Policy report
  • Research-based paper

Main Event Sample Essay

Each chapter includes a model paper, done on a question from the Main Event Writing Assignment, and which applies the Writing Lesson. Key parts of each sample paper are highlighted with margin notes. Each paper provides students not only with a good example of what a successful final product looks like, but, as the chapters proceed, each essay demonstrates increasing sophistication with incorporating research and documenting those materials in Modern Language Association (MLA) format.

Additional Readings

In addition to the Main Event Reading, each thematic section features six or seven more readings. These readings range from classic to contemporary. The additional readings also have vocabulary lists and sets of questions called "What Did You Read?", "What Do You Think?", and "How Was It Done?".

Appendices

After the last thematic chapter, there are two appendices. Appendix I presents the basics of the MLA documentation system, based on The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition, and Appendix II does the same for the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system, based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition. Examples of both in-text documentation and bibliographic entries are included in both appendices.

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