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Writing for College and Beyond

Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom


CJ Kent

Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom explains how the many skills taught in the Freshman Composition course apply at work and in life. The composition class is a pre-requisite and General Education course for most colleges and universities in the United States. It reaches students in every area of study. As people wonder about the value of a liberal arts education and question whether colleges and universities are truly preparing students for the workforce, Writing for College and Beyond challenges those arguments by pointing out exactly how classroom policies and writing assignments apply beyond school walls. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students teaching Freshman Composition courses will find this book helpful. Administrators who service the Freshman Composition population, such as Writing Center Directors, will also find Writing for College and Beyond: Life Lessons from the College Composition Classroom a wonderful aid.

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Chapter One: You Know to Read, Not How to Read


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You Know to Read, Not How to Read

If you have this book in your hand, then you know to read. You have basic literacy, but that doesn’t mean you know how to read well enough. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that 14% of American adults showed “below basic” literacy.1 That means 30 million people have “no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills.”2 They are functionally illiterate because literacy is considered the ability to use “printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”3 Literacy isn’t simply the ability to read, but to improve your life. Do you read well enough to change your life for the better?

Knowing to read is different from knowing how to read. Your ability to identify scribbles as letters and words shows your literacy, but that’s only the beginning of what reading requires and what jobs expect. Knowing how to read reveals your ability to navigate assorted complex texts, discern the tools you need to extract meaning out of each one, and identify why you believe what you believe at the end of the reading.

What do you do when you read? Most people start on the first page and stop when they get done with the assignment. That’s passive reading. You need to do more...

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