Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC)
The goal of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) is to prepare college-bound seniors for the literacy demands of higher education. Through a sequence of approximately eight rigorous instructional modules, students in this year-long rhetoric-based course develop advanced proficiency in expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. The cornerstone of the course—the ERWC Assignment Template—presents a scaffolded process for helping students read, comprehend, and respond to nonfiction and literary texts. Modules also provide instruction in research methods and documentation conventions. Students will be expected to increase their awareness of the rhetorical strategies employed by authors and to apply those strategies to their own writing. They will read closely to examine the relationship between an author’s argument or theme and his or her audience and purpose; to analyze the impact of structural and rhetorical strategies; and to examine the social, political, and philosophical assumptions that underlie the text. By the end of the course, students will be expected to use this process independently when reading unfamiliar texts and writing in response to them. Students successfully completing this course develop skills, knowledge, processes, and dispositions in the following areas of academic literacy: reading rhetorically, writing rhetorically, listening and speaking rhetorically, and habits of mind.
In alignment with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy (CCSS for ELA/Literacy), the following are the desired outcomes of the year’s course:
Reading Rhetorically Outcomes:
- Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what a text says and implies
- Analyze how ideas, events, and/or narrative elements interact and develop over the course of a text
- Determine the meaning of words or phrases as they are used in a text
- Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument
- Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text
- Analyze the writer’s use of rhetorical devices and strategies
- Understand key rhetorical concepts such as audience, purpose, context, and genre through analysis of texts
Writing Rhetorically Outcomes:
- Write a variety of text types for real audiences and purposes, making effective rhetorical choices in light of those audiences and purposes
- Write reading-based arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence
- Develop academic/analytical essays that are focused on a central idea and effectively organized
- Incorporate the texts of others effectively and use documentation styles suitable to the task, genre, and discipline
- Edit for clarity and for standard written English grammar, usage, and mechanics
- Select words and phrases that express precise meaning concisely and effectively, taking into consideration the rhetorical purpose of the text
- Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
Listening and Speaking Rhetorically Outcomes:
- Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with peers
- Prepare for the thoughtful, evidence-based, and well-reasoned exchange of ideas
- Collaborate with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions, and decision-making
- Pose and respond to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; examine a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
- Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; identify and use rhetorical strategies in discussions, and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
Texts and Supplemental Material:
The ERWC class does not use a textbook, therefore, students will receive photocopies of activities and articles from The Expository Reading and Writing Course, other texts, and essays needed throughout the year. A spiral-bound notebook is provided. Students must keep track of this at all times as assignments are often completed in the notebook. A loss of the notebook will result in a 0 for notebook assignments.
Each of the instructional modules uses an assignment template to guide students through the following processes: reading rhetorically, connecting reading to writing, and writing. Examples of assignments include the following:
- Quick Writes to access prior knowledge
- Survey of textual features
- Predictions about content and contest
- Vocabulary previews and self-assessments
- Reciprocal reading and teaching activities, including summarizing, questioning, predicting, and
- Responding orally and in writing to critical thinking questions
- Annotating and re-reading texts
- Highlighting textual features
- Analyzing stylistic choices
- Mapping text structure
- Analyzing ethical, logical, and emotional appeals (ethos, logos, pathos)
- Peer response activities
- End of module essays
Formative assessments include pre-reading assignments, such as quick writes, vocabulary, concept mapping, annotations, etc., reading and responses to critical thinking questions and discussions, and grammar assignments.
Summative assessments include essays, formal presentations, and tests. Failure to turn in an assignment will result in an F for that assignment.
Overall class grades will be based on the following percentages of student work:
- Essays 55%
- Projects/quizzes/tests 15%
- Classwork and participation 30%
Cheating or Plagiarism will result in an F.
100% A+ 92-99% A 90-91% A- 88-89% B+ 82-87% B 80-81% B- 78-79% C+ 72-77% C 70-71% C- 68-69% D+ 62-67% D 60-61% D- 0-59% F (This will result
in 0 credits)
Classroom Behavior Policies:
As seniors, students should come into the classroom with a positive, mature attitude and a willingness to learn and work to the best of their abilities. Follow the mutually developed, discussed, and agreed upon Classroom Contract posted at the front of the room. Self-discipline, hard work, attentive behaviors, and a positive mindset can lead to success.
Remember: “Don’t suffer silently.” If you need help, ask.