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This eighth edition of Steps in Composition continues to reflect our conviction that writing is a lively, engaging activity that helps students to fulfill their personal and professional goals. Our approach to teaching writing is both practical and pedagogically sound. To encourage student success, we use a number of essential elements:
- Engaging visuals elicit responses as each chapter begins.
- Contemporary, thought-provoking reading selections on the same theme as the visuals stimulate critical thinking and promote effective reading skills.
- Comprehensive discussions of rhetoric, grammar, mechanics, vocabulary building, and spelling provide jargon-free explanations and clear examples.
- Frequent Try It Out mini-exercises throughout the instructional material help students to reinforce their learning as they go along.
- Exercises are sequenced from basic practice to participatory applications, a research-based progression that transfers well to actual writing.
- Informative, entertaining exercise content includes news items with universal themes and fascinating facts to keep student interest high.
- Numerous charts help students use the text as an out-of-class reference tool.
- Extensive lists of topics for writing both paragraphs and essays stimulate student writing on a variety of contemporary issues.
To ensure that Steps in Composition remains both current and comprehensive, this eighth edition has been expanded to include thirteen chapters and several new features:
- Chapters 12 and 13 contain detailed information on all nine major patterns of essay development: description, narration, exemplification, process, comparison/contrast, classification, cause/effect, definition, and argumentation. Each rhetorical mode is illustrated with three model essays and is supported by guided writing exercises that give students the opportunity to reinforce learning.
- Five of the thirteen essays are new and are accompanied by new Reading Survey questions and vocabulary materials.
- The new design enhances the text's usefulness as a reference tool. The pages in all grammar and rhetoric sections are bordered in blue, to help students find these important materials in a chapter. In addition, a boldface heading now introduces each grammar rule or rhetorical concept, making it easier for students to retrieve information on a page.
We retain the features added to our previous revisions and continue to use the same chapter organization and instructional framework, one that offers an integration of writing instruction with reading, vocabulary building, and spelling. All thirteen chapters feature:
SPRINGBOARDS TO THINKING. Photographs, cartoons, graphs, advertisements, and an artworkaccompanied by stimulating questions get students' thinking started on a contemporary issue that forms each chapter's theme. In this edition, themes range from road rage to race relations, from gender issues to troubled families.
ESSAY. Lively discussions of thought-provoking topics focus on each chapter's theme. Several new essays are included together with some of our favorites from the previous edition. Among the authors represented in this eighth edition are Dave Barry, Ellen Goodman, Alice Walker, Martin Gottfried, Anna Quindlen, and Wally Lamb.
READING SURVEY. Questions center on main ideas, major details, inferences, and opinions. This sequence is designed to move students toward critical reading skills by leading them from literal meaning to inferential reasoning to evaluative thinking.
VOCABULARY BUILDING. Words from each chapter's essay are clustered around each chapter's theme. In this eighth edition, students learn and practice, for example, the vocabulary of self-image, of today's adolescent subculture, of a violent society. Simple, functional definitions are given within a context, and exercises encourage inductive thinking. For supplementary practice or quizzes, our Instructor's Resource Manual offers additional exercises for all lessons.
SPELLING: Lessons on spelling rules or patterns are accompanied by exercises that force students to focus on the individual letters in a word. An alphabetical list of spelling demons in Appendix III serves as an easy reference for students who want to check the spelling of a troublesome word.
KEY STEPS IN GRAMMAR OR RHETORIC. These sections, the heart of each chapter, cover skill areas central to successful writing. Clear, functional explanations are used while complicated terminology and minor rules are avoided. Spaced throughout are brief Try It Out exercises to reinforce learning in smaller steps than the chapter's culminating exercises permit. To enhance the transfer of learning from an exercise to an actual piece of writing, the exercise sequence provides participatory experiences. That is, never do students merely put checkmarks next to correct answers; instead, students complete, rewrite, create, or otherwise become directly involved with the skill. For use as supplementary practice or quizzes, a collection of additional exercises on all key grammar and rhetoric topics can be found in our Instructor's Resource Manual. The grammatical and rhetorical skills included in this eighth edition are:
- Using the writing process and prewriting strategies
- Determining purposes for writing
- Identifying an audience
- Writing effective topic sentences
- Developing paragraphs with full details and in logical order
- Revising a paragraph
- Writing mature, rich sentences rather than sentence fragments, comma splices, or run-ons
- Using correct verb forms
- Using pronouns correctly
- Applying paragraph principles to the expository essaywith special attention to finding a writing topic, drafting a thesis statement, forming main body ideas, and writing introductory and concluding paragraphs
- Revising an essay
- Using all marks of punctuation correctly
- Writing a unified essay
- Using the appropriate word
- Using parallelism and modifiers correctly
- Writing an essay that follows one of the nine major patterns of development: description, narration, exemplification, process, comparison/contrast, classification, cause/effect, definition, and argumentation
The order in this text is flexible. Chapters can be used in whatever sequence suits personal needs and preferences. Material can be omitted, rearranged, or added without interfering with underlying pedagogical principles. The Instructor's Resource Manual includes sample syllabi showing how to modify the organization of Steps in Composition to fit a variety of course outlines.
REFRESHER. This final exercise of the chapter, derived from the chapter's theme, invites students to apply their learning acquired in this and previous chapters. This exercise appears in a handwriting typeface to symbolize the need for correction.
SPRINGBOARDS TO WRITING. This long list of suggested topics for paragraphs and essays is based on each chapter's theme. Presented in the context of the writing process, the topics offer students the opportunity to explore their thinking as well as to practice their skills.