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Teaching Resources for Writing Instructors

One of the challenges of current staffing practices for college writing courses in my institutions is the sometimes last-minute assignment of multiple course preparations, additional sections, or new preparations that instructors can receive due to fluctuation in enrollments or inaccurate curricular planning. On this page, we offer direction to some teaching and learning sources that provide models of syllabi and assignments as well as heuristics and guidelines that can help instructors with the planning process that goes into teaching college writing. We also include some open-access materials that can be assigned in courses as student reading or that support course development.

Syllabi and Assignment Models or Collections of First-Year Writing Materials

  • Council on Basic Writing Resource Sharing Website
  • University of Georgia’s Syllabus System (browsable by course)
  • Campus Compact Syllabus Archives (select ‘writing’) for courses using engaged learning
  • Florida State Teachers’ Guide to the College Composition Program (including sample syllabi)
  • Printable Handouts for students on Writing Topics , Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, Ohio University

Writing and Research Assignment Banks

  • CORA: Community of Online Research Assignments : An Open Access Resource for Faculty and Librarians: A searchable bank of assignments for developing and assessing information literacy. 
  • Effective Research Assignments , Oregon State University Libraries (audience, exploration and topic selection, reading and evaluation)
  • Creating Successful Research Skills Assignments , Penn State Libraries
  • Alternative Research Assignments , San Diego State University Libraries
  • Alternative Assignments to Term Papers , Lawrence University
  • Writing Assignment Ideas for Specific Purposes (to learn, to communicate, Hobart and William Smith colleges
  • College Composition Instructor Guide , Three Rivers Community College, for first-year writing (including syllabus checklist and learning module ideas)
  • Effective Writing Assignments , Lehman College
  • Sample Writing Assignments for first and second-semester writing courses (narrative, summary, rhetorical analysis, synthesis, literary analysis) from Stephen Austin University
  • Sample Writing Assignments (literacy narrative, ethnography, new media, visual analysis), Georgia State University
  • Resources for Writing Teachers , George Mason University

Tutorials and Guidance for Writing Class Planning and Management

  • Colorado State’s Teaching Activities Bank : Discussion, Peer review, working with sources
  • Teaching College Composition: A Practical Guide for New Instructors (excerpts through Google books)
  • Dartmouth’s Principles for Syllabus Design
  • Sample Chapter from NCTE’s book “ Sequencing Writing Projects in Any Composition Class .” In Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition
  • Designing Writing Assignments , by Traci Gardner (open-access e-book)
  • First Time Up: An Insider’s Guide for New Composition Teachers , Brock Dethier (open-access e-book)
  • Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing , (open-access e-book)
  • The Teaching Professor Special Report, “ Keys to Designing Effective Writing and Research Assignments ,” principles and guidelines for developing writing assignments.

Open Source Sites

These are open-access educational materials that can be useful for instructors who are assigned courses with little time to advance order traditional textbooks.

  • Writing Spaces : An open-Textbook Project for college-level writing studies courses.
  • Writing Commons : Writing Commons is a free, online textbook. As outlined by the Site Map, Writing Common provides a comprehensive introduction to academic writing
  • Open-Textbooks: English and Composition , full-access textbooks available online
  • University of North Carolina Supporting Materials for a College Writing Course
  • Merlot: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching , a repository of learning objects and activities for use in English and Writing Courses
  • Basic Writing
  • English 101: Composition I
  • English 102: Composition II

Bibliographies on Composition Teaching Topics

  • Teaching in an Accelerated Learning Program Context

Professional Resources from Publishers (at no cost)

Bedford St. Martin’s

  • Bibliographies
  • Background Readings
  • The Bedford/St. Martin’s Series in Rhetoric and Composition
  • Workshop and Symposia

Guides for Writing Teachers in Specific Curricula or Contexts

  • Teaching Composition in the Two-Year College: Background Readings
  • Informed Choices: A Guide for Teachers of College Writing
  • The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing
  • Developmental Education: Readings on Its Past, Present, and Future
  • Teaching Developmental Reading: Historical, Theoretical, and Practical Background Readings
  • The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing
  • Multimodal Composition: Teaching Developmental Writing
  • Background Readings: A Critical Sourcebook
  • Renew Your Membership

Join CCCC today!

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  • Read CCC Articles
  • Find a Position Statement
  • Learn about Committees
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college composition writing assignments

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Common Writing Assignments

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

These OWL resources will help you understand and complete specific types of writing assignments, such as annotated bibliographies, book reports, and research papers. This section also includes resources on writing academic proposals for conference presentations, journal articles, and books.

Understanding Writing Assignments

This resource describes some steps you can take to better understand the requirements of your writing assignments. This resource works for either in-class, teacher-led discussion or for personal use.

Argument Papers

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Research Papers

This handout provides detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.

Exploratory Papers

This resource will help you with exploratory/inquiry essay assignments.

Annotated Bibliographies

This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Book Report

This resource discusses book reports and how to write them.


This handout provides suggestions and examples for writing definitions.

Essays for Exams

While most OWL resources recommend a longer writing process (start early, revise often, conduct thorough research, etc.), sometimes you just have to write quickly in test situations. However, these exam essays can be no less important pieces of writing than research papers because they can influence final grades for courses, and/or they can mean the difference between getting into an academic program (GED, SAT, GRE). To that end, this resource will help you prepare and write essays for exams.

Book Review

This resource discusses book reviews and how to write them.

Academic Proposals

This resource will help undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars write proposals for academic conferences, articles, and books.

In this section


Library Home

You, Writing! A Guide to College Composition

(25 reviews)

college composition writing assignments

Alexandra Glynn, North Hennepin Community College

Kelli Hallsten-Erickson, Lake Superior College

Amy Jo Swing, Lake Superior College

Copyright Year: 2018

Publisher: Alexandra Glynn

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.


Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Tara Montague, Part-time instructor, Portland Community College on 3/6/22

The text is comprehensive; it covers all of the topics I would expect it to. It has a lengthy (10-page) glossary, but no index. I am undecided as to how useful the glossary is. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

The text is comprehensive; it covers all of the topics I would expect it to. It has a lengthy (10-page) glossary, but no index. I am undecided as to how useful the glossary is.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

I have no concerns about the accuracy or bias of the content.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

For the most part, I feel like the content is up-to-date, though I believe the website and app litmus test (148) could be revisited. I believe any updates would be easy and straightforward to implement.

Clarity rating: 5

This text does a great job of speaking to students with accessible, conversational prose and of defining terms and concepts.

Consistency rating: 5

I don’t have any concerns with the consistency of the text in terms of terminology and framework.

Modularity rating: 5

I think the modularity is strong, which makes this text a great candidate for one of the online reading formats with hyperlinked contents. There are many subtopics within larger topics within larger sections. I will likely use this text by selecting sections to assign; the modularity makes this easy to do.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The authors have used the “Basic Writing Process Chart” (page 12) to organize the chapters of the text. For the most part that makes sense as an organizational principle. If I were designing the organization, I think I’d have Exploration before Audience and Purpose, but I can also see that the authors’ arrangement makes sense. I also felt like the very long Modes of Writing section (pp. 56-79) was a little out of balance and out of pace with the rest of the text.

Interface rating: 3

The only available format for this text is PDF, and I don’t think it’s marked up or accessible. The 170-page text is a long, word-processed document. This creates navigation issues as the text is long and linear, with no hyperlinks from the table of contents. Word maps are used to add some color and graphic appeal, but the fonts are difficult to read. (Captions are, however, included.) The use of a few icons here and there is a little confusing. The interface is a big barrier to me because I believe it would create a barrier to learning for many of my students.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

While I didn’t notice grammatical errors, I found some editing errors, including incomplete links, some typos, and a misspelling.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

There is some diversity in examples. I didn’t notice anything exclusive or offensive. Many of the examples are related to life experiences that everyone would have. I am not sure that the “Anglo-Saxon” vs. “Latinate” distinction is helpful or relevant at this point..

This text is a solid choice for an introductory writing course. I found the editing and proofreading sections especially useful; they have impressively accessible and clear (and not over-long) discussions. I particularly like the breakdown of style. My biggest issue with this text is that the only format it’s available in is a continuous essay-style document converted to a PDF without hyperlinks. This makes it a bit difficult to work with and not the most accessible or appealing for students.

Reviewed by Lindsay Tigue, Assistant Professor, Eastern New Mexico University on 12/31/21

This book covers most of the topics I cover in my Composition courses and it includes a lot of helpful information on the topic of writing. read more

This book covers most of the topics I cover in my Composition courses and it includes a lot of helpful information on the topic of writing.

I did not notice any errors in my review of this textbook.

This book contains relevant examples, but overall the suggestions of writing, editing, and revision do not feel as if they will go out of date.

The text is written in accessible and readable language without talking down to students in any way.

I found the texts quality and terminology to be consistent throughout.

I could definitely see pulling relevant chapters and using them as stand-alone resources in a course as the text is designed to be used whole or in parts. I found several parts especially useful--like the chapter on thesis statements and titling the essay. I definitely see myself pulling specific chapters to use with students.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

This text is well-organized and the table of contents lays out a clear organization for the text.

Interface rating: 4

The text is clean and easy to read and includes helpful images. It would be even more helpful if the table of contents sections were linkable to that part of the text.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

I did not notice any grammatical errors in the text.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I found the text inclusive.

I appreciate the clear, helpful information on college writing in this text. I found the parts about thesis statements, introductions and conclusions, and titling especially helpful. I don't think I have ever seen a Composition textbook tackle titling an essay in such a clear, helpful way for students. I appreciate the visuals and how even handwritten examples of things like mind mapping are included to show students what that would really look like in their notes. The only thing I would like to see is the chapters linked in the table of contents to that part of the pdf. At least in the download I was looking at, there were no links. The text doesn't have a very designed look and could be more visually interesting. However, the information is useful and easy to read so that is fine. Overall, I found this text useful and I will definitely pull chapters of it for my Composition course.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Bidinger, Professor, Worcester State University on 7/7/21

This textbook provides excellent coverage of the fundamental topics that are covered in most FYW courses, and is especially well-suited for one that doesn't emphasize writing with sources and research. It is unusually thorough on the basics of... read more

This textbook provides excellent coverage of the fundamental topics that are covered in most FYW courses, and is especially well-suited for one that doesn't emphasize writing with sources and research. It is unusually thorough on the basics of the writing process, such as planning, drafting, organizing, and revising, which I find very helpful. Clearly written sections beautifully explain and illustrate skills like organizing paragraphs and writing introductions and conclusions. Especially useful is the chapter on revision, which includes a student essay with inserted suggestions for revision, followed by a revised draft. This text provides the most thorough and instructive discussion of audience of any FYW textbook that I can recall, which I find a perfect place to start. No index, but a comprehensive glossary defines virtually every composition and rhetoric term that might be used in a FYW course. While this book covers the basics in fluid, highly accessible prose, some of its discussions are perhaps too general and even elementary. The section on different modes of writing provides such superficial descriptions of different types of writing that it manages to make them all sound fairly uniform and lacking in the distinctiveness that should make them sound fun to write. It would be an ideal FYW textbook if there was an attempt to supplement the basics with some sophisticated and challenging discussions on critical thinking and cultural criticism, as well as a wider range of examples of writing in different modes. The troubling implication of a college text that covers basic writing skills in depth but totally omits intellectually and aesthetically engaging materials is that students who need to review essay and paragraph organization wouldn't be inspired by reading, or capable of producing, prose that is rich with irony, humor, nuance, or difficult truths. The student example of a report is titled, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" (Chapter 7: Drafting), which I fear many college students would find offensively rudimentary. I would have also really liked some exercise prompts.

The information in the book is accurate, error-free, and completely responsible and sound.

The authors do a fine job of keeping the focus on the fairly timeless basics of how to craft effective prose, so very little would become outdated in the near future and the few timely cultural references to things like BLM are presented in a way that makes them relevant now and, I would guess, for many years.

One of the great strengths of this book is its clear, conversational, highly readable prose. The explanations are easy to follow and every potentially unfamiliar term is provided with adequate context.

This text is consistent in form, approach, structure, and authorial voice. It conveys professionalism and expertise.

Modularity rating: 4

The book's chapters are designed so that each provides a detailed discussion of a discrete skill set, so that it would be very easy to assign a single chapter within a module or unit. I'm giving it a 4 rating instead of a 5 in this area because I would have really liked self-contained chapters on a few different modes of writing that included planning strategies for each kind of essay described. A discussion of the process of finding a topic could be more illustrative and inspiring if it's geared towards a specific kind of writing, but also, it would be nice to have a self-contained chapter on writing a narrative essay that could be used by itself for a unit focused on that assignment.

The book is thoughtfully organized to follow the steps of the writing process, so for a first-semester, FYW course, the organization works very well. The single chapter on research being added at the end might seem a troubling suggestion, in the view of others, that research is completely separate from the writing process, but I personally find the approach of separating writing skills from research skills to be less intimidating to new college students.

Interface rating: 5

I had no problems accessing or navigating any section or component of this text. I do think it could be presented in a more visually engaging and accessible way, with more highlighted text boxes that separate and emphasize key takeaways.

I found the text to be grammatically sound and effectively written.

There is certainly nothing insensitive or offensive in this book. However, a casual glance at the works cited in each chapter shows how overwhelmingly canonical and traditional the majority of the textual examples and references are: D. H. Lawrence, Steinbeck, Jefferson, Melville, R. L. Stevenson, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Nietsche, Steven Pinker, and G. K. Chesterton. There's a brief excerpt from a children's book by James Baldwin, and a couple examples that refer, in fairly generic ways, to works by Angelou and Douglass. The text would be greatly enlivened, deepened, and culturally enriched by textual examples from a wider range of cultures, communities, literatures, and Englishes.

This is an exceptionally useful book for first-semester, first-year college students, because of its patient, in-depth, and generous explanations of basic writing skills for college writing. For this reason, it would be an excellent resource for a FYW course if it were supplemented with additional readings that helped students see how their own experience and perspective can be transformed into energetic and powerful prose.

Reviewed by Danielle Santos, Adjunct Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/14/21

For an introductory Composition course, this text covers what I teach. I like the examples given, and many of the diagrams are helpful & similar to what I already use. However, I wouldn't have minded more prompts for practice exercises as I... read more

For an introductory Composition course, this text covers what I teach. I like the examples given, and many of the diagrams are helpful & similar to what I already use. However, I wouldn't have minded more prompts for practice exercises as I tend to gravitate towards texts that include those. I do think the text lends itself well to developmental instruction (which I also teach), so while accessible and easy to read for all students, I could see myself using it more for certain Composition courses than others.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

I do think the material accurately covers the concepts presented. I am happy to see a short section on annotated bibliographies (because I typically require these when I assign research papers), but I noticed the example wasn't structured correctly in alphabetical order/presented in the appropriate way. A small detail, but something that I would still have to provide my own example for.

The concepts covered are certainly relevant to the times. It's possible that some examples will be outdated in a couple of years and more relevant examples could be substituted.

The conversational, friendly tone is definitely an asset of this text. The authors present the concepts in a straightforward manner with solid explanations, all the while avoiding excessive jargon. This is an accessible text for all levels of learners.

The text is consistently organized and presented, and the voice of the text carries through each chapter.

I think the information is sectioned out well and clearly presented. There are some chapters where the material is more dense; others seem rather short. Chapter 7 is particularly lengthy, but one could easily refer to only the information necessary (specific modes of writing, for example). Chapter 11 is also a long one, and it seemed to be especially text-heavy for the first half of it. I think that chapter would've benefitted from further visuals when discussing how to find sources, using keywords, etc.

"You, Writing!" takes a pretty traditional organization for a Composition text. It starts with the writing process and situation, progresses through topics, thesis statements, and organization, and rounds out with grammar and research. For courses that typically structure basic writing skills early in the semester followed by a research project, this organization works well; however, one could also assign the reading out of sequence and it would be fine.

The interface looks good. I appreciate the additional resources in the form of web links, but a few did not work (I feel this can be common for this type of resource).

There are a few errors in the text, but the writing is clear and consistent. Grammatical errors are minor (though I do believe they should be fixed for a textbook on writing!).

The text is culturally sensitive and inclusive. It includes examples, names, and current events that are culturally-attuned.

Overall, there are a lot of aspects of this text that I liked. I would most likely use it in my course, supplementing with readings and exercises. I appreciate the fact that it is comprehensive and easy to read.

Reviewed by David Beach, Associate Professor, Radford University on 5/21/21

Glynn's text serves as a comprehensive rhetoric to help first-year college students navigate the expectations of expository college writing. A good supplemental text for any FY expository writing course. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

Glynn's text serves as a comprehensive rhetoric to help first-year college students navigate the expectations of expository college writing. A good supplemental text for any FY expository writing course.

Most information on rhetoric and composition are on the mark. I always struggle with the traditional way of teaching "thesis." In FYC, we interpret "thesis" as the controlling idea of an essay. However, the way it is often taught is to develop the controlling idea, then find supporting evidence to that idea. This is not how college students should approach research. Granted, a working thesis may help point students in a particular direction, but if we want our students to be good researchers and writers, then they need to grapple with ideas to come to some conclusion (thesis), and they do this by working from the inside out, not starting with a thesis.

Everything in Glynn's text is relevant...until MLA and APA publish new editions! However, the fundamental information on MLA and APA will be able to stand.

Clarity rating: 4

Glynn's text is overall lucid and accessible, with mostly clear explanations of jargon and technical terminology. By their nature, rhetoric, grammar, and mechanics are not native languages to most FY college students, and I think Glynn does a good job helping FY college students become proficient in the language of writing.

"You, Writing!" reinforces ideas throughout the text through scaffolding and by being consistent in terminology and framework.

Modularity rating: 3

While there are some good infographics throughout the text, there are meaningless graphics peppered throughout in an attempt to make the text visually appealing. As it is, the book is a bit text-heavy, despite it being a book about rhetoric and composition! Today's students are visually oriented, so more infographics definitely helps.

Clear, logical organization throughout the text, exploring how we come to writing, how we can write, and the tools and skills needed to write effectively.

As a PDF, the text is solid, with the ability to move to pages easily. It would be helpful to have a hyperlinked sidebar menu so the students can move to sections based on topic instead of page number.

The only grammatical errors are those that were intended to show as examples.

Glynn uses a diverse and wide variety of references throughout the text. Though not a fan of Stanley Fish, I understand using his points for the sake of argument!

I plan to use this text in my first-semester FY writing courses as it is a strong, open-source resource that students can use throughout their college careers and later.

Reviewed by Michele Ren, Associate Professor, Radford University on 5/4/21

The book is certainly comprehensive and provides a glossary; I wish I could give 4.5 because a clickable table of contents would be wonderful. read more

The book is certainly comprehensive and provides a glossary; I wish I could give 4.5 because a clickable table of contents would be wonderful.

Caught a typo pretty early on (page 12 "conclusionn"), but the content itself is accurate and unbiased. Re. accuracy, I especially appreciated that the list of "transition words" is specifically discussed as a way to make transitions within a paragraph rather than between paragraphs. Many texts simply list those words but do not discuss ways of using them and students inevitably will insert a "furthermore" when adding something that is neither further nor more.

Uses specific contemporary detail for writing examples in a way that makes the text relevant for students, but not in a way that it would seem outdated any time soon.

Easy to read, short sections, lots of spacing and bold and graphics to break up chunks of text in ways that are not distracting.

Chapters follow a similar format with subtitles, bulleted information, graphics, and spacing between paragraphs when larger chunks of text are needed to explain a concept. Fonts and font styles (bold, italics) and justification are used consistently from chapter to chapter.

Chapters are short and subdivided in ways that would make creation of handouts or assigning small passages/sections easy.

The placement of thesis and research in different places gives me pause, especially when research is used after an argument is created (I worry about confirmation bias rather than doing research and then formulating a topic), but, the book is set up in a way that sections could be assigned in different order, and the authors address the difficulty in defining one specific writing process in the graphics they provide on pages 12 and 13.

Again, a clickable table of contents would have been so lovely!

These are composition instructors, so errors are minimal. But, again, "conclusionn" page 12 did jump out at me. Also: "Black Lives Matters" should be "Black Lives Matter"

I appreciated the attention to diversity in examples (Black Lives Matter - in spite of the misspelling, Native American traditions), although maybe not college women trying to avoid the "freshman fifteen."

My university has an older OER composition handbook that I have been using for awhile; I am actually considering replacing it with this one because examples are newer and it may work for both freshman courses. I would love to see a clickable TOC, though!

Reviewed by Erica Braverman, Part-time instructor, Portland Community College on 1/12/21

This book is great for a writing class geared toward academic writing. It covers the basics of instructing a first-year student of how to go through the writing process and what they can expect while doing so. I especially liked the section on... read more

This book is great for a writing class geared toward academic writing. It covers the basics of instructing a first-year student of how to go through the writing process and what they can expect while doing so. I especially liked the section on revision, which clearly laid out critical questions the student can ask themself when making decisions. I also liked the attention to different processes, giving students information about what they are and encouraging students to find the one that works for them.

This book has credible, clear information. The information is presented in a non-prescriptive way, giving agency to students to try things out and find what works for them. The authors also include sources for students to do further research on their own if they want.

The book includes cultural, historical and literary examples to explain concepts. The authors were shrewd in choosing cultural references that are relevant to students now but will also age well (e.g., Google). I also appreciated the attention to writing that has real-world relevancy for students, such as writing resumes or a letter or email to a manager. I thought some of the examples used, however, would not be as interesting to students who aren't as focused on academic studies or obtaining a four-year degree (Shakespeare; Moby Dick; latinate used in Abraham Lincoln's speech). I thought the authors missed an opportunity to engage students who might not make writing, research, or academia their career, but are still interested in learning to write and communicate better in real-world situations outside of the classroom.

The authors explain concepts well, but perhaps a bit too thoroughly. The chapters contain long blocks of text that might seem intimidating to beginner-level students. Again, the examples given tend toward "high-culture," and might not help students connect concepts to their lived experiences.

The book is consistent and easy to navigate.

Instructors can break up the information as they want with relative ease.

It's designed with the student in mind, taking them through the writing process step-by-step. The chapter on editing, though, consists of a lot of information on grammar, sentence structure, etc., which students might find overwhelming. I wanted the information to first be more succinct, before getting into the specifics and details.

The text is easy to read and navigate. I especially liked the way the authors explained how the steps of the writing process may not always be linear. They first listed out the steps, and then marked them up in a graphic to show how the order might be different.

The text is clean and clear of errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

I personally would not use this textbook with my community college students because I don't think the examples would particularly interest them or pertain to them (mostly literary, historical, scholarly examples--very few cultural or real-world examples they could relate to their lived experience).

Reviewed by Matthew Chelf, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College on 12/9/20

You, Writing! wonderfully covers the whole of the writing process in 170 pages of approachable, audience-friendly language. Like many contemporary texts on first year college composition, You, Writing! stresses writing as a process, not a product.... read more

You, Writing! wonderfully covers the whole of the writing process in 170 pages of approachable, audience-friendly language. Like many contemporary texts on first year college composition, You, Writing! stresses writing as a process, not a product. In addition to covering academic writing, the text also includes other modalities such as professional writing (emails, resumes) and social media postings. What unites the text is a consistent focus on writing as audience-focused.

The text participates in many of the themes you find in first-year college composition texts. With that said, I did not find anything inaccurate or that I would be uncomfortable sharing with students.

In the text’s introduction, the authors seem to anticipate a common criticism of writing, and the humanities in general: why is writing relevant to more lucrative and pursued careers that require a STEM degree? Given the relationship between writing and reading, I found this to be a relevant note to start on, and the authors answer the question “why write?” by demonstrating how many of the skills within writing (critical thinking, communication) transfer to real world applications and careers, like Google for instance. To get their point across, the text is organized in quick, pithy sections laden with different formats that will appeal to students coming of age in the digital era.

The language and sentences are clear and straightforward. There is nothing confusing or complicated. For example, the authors do a great job explicating thesis writing. Often, we teachers treat the components of thesis writing as cumbersome moving parts, but here the elements of a good thesis are three: interesting, limited, specific (32). Using the previous discussion of audience-centered writing, the authors demonstrate in three subsequent subsections how the three qualities of thesis writing play out in unique examples.

The tone, language, and format remains consistent yet dynamic throughout the text. One major theme in particular--audience-focused writing--reminds the reader of previous passages in the text, so as the reader moves forward they integrate new knowledge with previous information. This repetition is wonderful, and each chapter builds upon itself.

I enjoy the brief, concise chapter-and-subchapter format and find them student-friendly. Paragraphs are never more than several sentences. Examples, images, subheadings often follow paragraphs so there is rarely more than 3-4 paragraphs grouped at a time. The table of contents is very thorough, which makes it simple to pick what you want to assign and what you may want to skip. The text is holistic enough, though, that I could see myself assigning the text as a whole.

As I stated, I enjoy the brief, concise chapter-and-subchapter format and find them student-friendly. The chapters build upon each other in a logical fashion. At the end of chapters, there are resources for further reading.

The authors include graphics, charts, bulleted lists, and illustrations to accompany ideas, themes, and lessons in the text without cluttering the page or the meaning. I found the text easy on the eyes and presented in a very streamlined fashion.

I did not find grammar mistakes. In fact, there are even chapters later in the text about grammar.

Sprinkled with references to contemporary life like Twitter, Black Lives Matter, and the intricacies of identity like gender and socio-economic background, part of the success of You, Writing! is that it recontextualizes first year college composition to the current cultural landscape. Moreover, the organization of the text in its streamlined, modular fashion is well suited to the cultural reading style that young students seem to have owing to growing up with the Internet. In other words, I think this text is well suited, culturally, to digitally fluent students.

Reviewed by Charles Prescott, Professor of English, Berkshire Community College on 6/28/20

The text effectively and comprehensively covers the main topics and strategies included in an introductory composition course. I especially appreciate the Basic Writing Process Chart as a graphic introduction of the key steps of the writing... read more

The text effectively and comprehensively covers the main topics and strategies included in an introductory composition course. I especially appreciate the Basic Writing Process Chart as a graphic introduction of the key steps of the writing process, immediately followed by hand-drawn arrows indicating how messy and recursive that process can be. There are also good examples of how to come up with ideas to write about, how to establish organization, and how to revise. The glossary of key terms, like the rest of the text, is both thorough and approachable to guide new college students through the writing process.

The book is accurate in dealing with the subject matter. I did not find any material I would consider inaccurate.

The strategies presented in the text for brainstorming, drafting, and revising are highly relevant and broad enough so that they should not need updating. The sections on research strategies and citation, especially in APA, may need more frequent updating. However, the less-is-more approach to the basics of citation, should make it relatively easy to update in the text. The text presents enough information so that the individual instructor can easily fill in any holes or mention updated strategies while teaching the course.

The clear, approachable writing style the authors use is by far the best feature of this text! Not only is the writing process presented in a clear, step-by-step manner, the text is actually fun and funny to read! Examples of how to brainstorm topics and how to compose drafts of specific types of essays are clear and approachable. I expect my students to get a lot out of this text, and to enjoy reading it as well!

The text uses the Basic Writing Process Chart to create consistency, explaining each of those steps thoroughly with examples. Visual cues like handwritten annotations also help to build a strong sense of consistency throughout the text. Some of the transitions between sections in the Drafting chapter are a bit clunky, but overall the presentation is consistent.

Modularity is a strength of this text. Smaller sections on brainstorming techniques and grammar could easily be inserted into discussion of other composition topics.

For the most part the organization of this text is fine, but including discussion of different rhetorical modes in the Drafting chapter is a bit odd. I would prefer to see discussion of different styles of writing (narrative, informative, persuasive) as separate chapters, rather than listed as part of Drafting. However, I acknowledge that’s more of a personal preference than a real critique.

I did not notice any interface problems.

I did not notice any distracting grammatical errors. The text is clean, clear, and approachable, making it an ideal model of what good writing can do in the context of an introductory composition course.

The text includes some discussion and examples of culturally relevant topics, such a Black Lives Matter. I did not specifically notice Cultural Relevance as a strength or weakness of the text.

I find You, Writing! to be a fun and flexible, unintimidating introduction to composition. Its combination of a playful tone, emphasis on process, and explanation that writing should not be too bound by that process strikes me as just the right mix. I anticipate that the students will find it a very helpful resource, and that I’ll enjoy teaching with it.

Reviewed by Caroline Stanley, Associate Professor, Bridgewater State University on 6/22/20

The text is comprehensive in covering the major topics pertaining to basic writing. It provides many useful tips about the writing process including proofreading, correcting run-on sentences, and overcoming writer’s block. Likewise, the glossary... read more

The text is comprehensive in covering the major topics pertaining to basic writing. It provides many useful tips about the writing process including proofreading, correcting run-on sentences, and overcoming writer’s block. Likewise, the glossary is comprehensive and well-written.

The content appears to be accurate and error-free.

The content is up-to-date and rife with examples that are relevant for the college population. Examples are not likely to become obsolete or else can be easily updated.

Readers will appreciate the fact that the paragraphs are short, and the writing is concise. There is little jargon or technical terminology used and new terms are defined very clearly. The authors provide interesting examples and the writing style is casual, relatable, and humorous.

Consistency rating: 4

The text is consistent in terms of its terminology and framework. Likewise, the writing style remains consistent across the chapters.

The text is modular in that each chapter “stands on its own” and can be assigned separately from the others. Each chapter is useful regardless of the order in which it is assigned and the length of each chapter is manageable.

The text is well-organized and the chapters are presented in a logical order.

Some of the “charts” (see page 45) presented are actually lists of words. These lists would be more effective if displayed in a table.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

There are some grammatical errors, some pertaining to tense or subject-verb agreement (i.e., “psychologist Abraham Maslow describe,” pg. 19; “The most important section are,” pg. 19). Though these errors do not obscure meaning, they could (and should) be corrected.

The text is inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It may be of interest to some instructors that, when discussing how to write a strong thesis statement in chapter 5, the author briefly discusses the Black Lives Matters Movement. In doing so, the author provides content that may be especially relevant for those wishing to expose students to the concept of racial bias.

I find the language to be simple and easy to understand. Some may consider it too elementary for a college sample and more suitable for high school readers.

Reviewed by Colin Rafferty, Associate Professor, University of Mary Washington on 6/19/20

Covers the full spectrum of introductory writing studies, including big picture things like generating ideas and organizing them as well as more local issues like style and grammar. A glossary of commonly used terms is helpful, as the discussion... read more

Covers the full spectrum of introductory writing studies, including big picture things like generating ideas and organizing them as well as more local issues like style and grammar. A glossary of commonly used terms is helpful, as the discussion of citations and research. It's a book that's clearly rooted in theory but avoids getting the reader bogged down in it--perfect for the general academic writing class.

Very little in the book is inaccurate; perhaps it might have addressed the emergence of the singular "they" in recent years, but beyond that, the book is almost entirely error-free.

Its focus on the writing process rather than the end product, while still emphasizing its importance, allows the book to stay fresh for generations of students. I was very pleased to see that the book notes the existence of multiple drafts between the first and final ones. Barring a seismic shift in the world of writing pedagogy, this book will remain useful for years to come.

Incredibly accessible to the general audience. The voice is familiar and welcoming without trying too hard to be on the level of the students. As I stated before, it's a book that has done the theoretical work so that the reader doesn't have to get caught up in jargon and esoterica.

The three authors have managed a consistent voice throughout the entire book, and nothing transitions jarringly or confusingly. They remain constant throughout in how they refer to the elements of writing, and at no point do they introduce new knowledge without explaining to the reader just what it means.

Even as I was reading the book, I was thinking about how I could use certain chapters and sections in my existing composition course. The book is easily adaptable to a variety of situations, and the authors are careful to make sure that the chapters, while informing each other, can stand alone, which allows for the professor to use as she sees fit.

Despite the book's potential for modularity, the best way to encounter it is to read it straight through. The ideas follow logically upon one another, and the authors build the sense of writing as a process through their own organization of the text.

Easily readable and clear throughout, even when graphics enter the text.

Nothing that obscures meaning.

Inclusive throughout, whether in the choices of examples--BLM shows up at one point, which is appropriate for my Fall 2020 classes--or in the names used in the text. A good book for all. (Now, about that singular "they"...)

A solid book for the composition classroom. I look forward to adopting it for my general writing seminar this fall.

Reviewed by Katie Durant, Adjunct Professor, Middlesex Community College on 6/17/20

This book covers all the major topics I teach in my class currently. It is written clearly with many interesting examples to help students understand the concepts. The index is very helpful and the glossary in the back defines many of the key... read more

This book covers all the major topics I teach in my class currently. It is written clearly with many interesting examples to help students understand the concepts. The index is very helpful and the glossary in the back defines many of the key terms in an easy to read format.

This book is accurate in dealing with the subject matter. I covers much of what I have taught for years in a clear and comprehensive way. I found no bias or errors (besides one typo).

This book is relevant as it mentions only cultural happenings and figures that are significant like lasting political movements and figures as well as well-read authors. There is one mention of a writer who is referred to as living but is now deceased, but that does not affect the relevance of the text. Because the book focuses on basics, it is unlikely that it will need any content updates besides possibly the mention of the author.

The book demonstrates a relatable voice without using vocabulary and sentence complexity that is out of reach for a developmental or beginning-college level. It is easy to read and has a comfortable pacing. There is little jargon or technical terminology in this book, but where new terms are introduced, the definitions are provided in a comprehensive way.

The book retains its consistency throughout. From the beginning to the end the voice of the author is relatable, and the book's vocabulary is not overbearing.

Because each section of the book is self reliant, the book is modular and each chapter can be used alone or in conjunction with other chapters. The self-contained nature of this book makes it more useful in different classes.

The flow of topics in the text is logical and effective with one topic building onto the previous ones. The only exception is the section on basic grammar skills like making complete sentences. This information is found in the last chapter on proofreading. While proofreading does require these skills, It would be more logical to move this section to the beginning chapters and refer back to the basic grammar in the revising section.

The author was careful to create a simple interface without distracting of confusing diagrams and images. One can navigate it easily.

I only found one typo on the text. The rest of it retains the grammatical standards that it teaches.

This book used examples from real life when making points, and I found these to be culturally relevant, inclusive, and effective. The author mentions the Black Lives Matter movement and discusses the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. to cite two examples of inclusivity and cultural relevance.

I will be picking up this book to teach a composition course and portions of it for a developmental writing course. Its clear and conversational tone as well as its modularity make it an ideal OER resource for my class.

Reviewed by Matthew Gilbert, Adjunct Instructor, East Tennessee State University on 4/16/20

This book provides a comprehensive approach for all levels of writers for a range of writing projects. The text works effectively in providing a breakdown of all major aspects of composition: how to determine the audience or purpose of the... read more

This book provides a comprehensive approach for all levels of writers for a range of writing projects. The text works effectively in providing a breakdown of all major aspects of composition: how to determine the audience or purpose of the assignment, how to develop a thesis statement and supporting arguments, and how to write a draft and follow through development and revisions from start to finish. The text is targeted towards beginning college writers, though it is not limited to beginners. The text approaches a wide range of assignments/academic tasking, including but not limited to, professional email etiquette, argumentation, and critical analysis. While the book does demonstrate a wide representation of college writing expectations and skills, the generality of it requires instructors to supplement other materials to further develop student understanding beyond the basic levels. The table of contents provides precise detailing of the materials throughout and I found the glossary incredibly useful.

The book is surprisingly accurate and well-composed. The writers demonstrate a wide and thorough understanding of the writing process conventions of language, style, tone, etc., and they provide informative lessons on where to find current formatting instruction. The grammar section of the text is quite brief but effectively introduces students to many of the major areas of concern in academic writing; However, if a teacher wants to focus highly on grammar, supplemental information or a different text would be more beneficial.

Majority of the information provided works universally and provides a strong foundation to students without experience in writing academically or professionally. The text provides a strong overview or how to brainstorm and develop ideas, how to organize and structure an essay around a claim, how to pitch your idea to an audience, how to properly use subordinating clauses, and how to write introductions and conclusions. The authors provide resources for further studies like Online Writing Labs, where students can find up-to-date APA formatting for example. The writing seems contemporary and addressed composition from current pedagogical approaches.

The writer does well to not only instruct students with their precise writing styles and examples but to showcase these lessons through the text writing itself. The writing is concise, concrete, and easy to read. As an example of the clear writing that sets this book apart from more commercial texts: “Some instructors will also call the clause, ‘As I walked down the store’ an introductory phrase that needs a comma after it. Whatever the instructor calls it, the comma needs to be there.” This passage not only provides clear instruction but highlights the authors’ understanding of diverse terminology that teachers may use in the classroom.

The book maintains its terminology and framework throughout the chapters. Each chapter addresses key steps in the writing process, which works comprehensively with previous chapters to build on developed knowledge.

Structurally the book works well in the order that the lessons and chapters are positioned, though I find that students learn better when they have positive examples to learn from. For this reason, I would recommend that proofreading skills are moved closer to the front, but this can easily be addressed with supplemental lessons and instruction. The text works well in order, but it can be adapted to suit the needs of the instructor and the classroom with a little foresight.

The writing process steps are quite organized in a manner that is easy to scaffold. As mentioned in the structure, I think that proofreading could be moved sooner in the text so that students can learn from seeing proper usage. I also feel that the research, plagiarism, and citation section could have been moved closer to the front; however, the text can be adapted to suit the classroom needs with a little planning. The authors make an excellent point that the writing process is not linear; therefore, the text can be taught out of order to a similar effect as teaching from start to finish of the text.

The text was quite legible so I had no difficulty reading lessons or examples. The images and charts are visually appealing and very contemporary. I think the overall approach to text construction works well to appeal to students regardless of their learning types.

The grammar is excellent and works well to instruct students by example!

The writing samples illustrate a diverse range of writers and backgrounds. This will work well to avoid intimidating students, especially beginner writers.

Overall, I find this text to be written with precision. It seems like an appropriate way to approach composition/ writing instruction for beginner writers and writers who need to broaden their range of writing approaches.

Reviewed by Susan Pesti-Strobel, Adjunct Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College on 1/12/20

_You, Writing!_ by Glynn et al. guides the student writer through successful moves of academic writing. This book would be a very useful companion for both students and instructors. It is clear that the writers have extensive experience with... read more

_You, Writing!_ by Glynn et al. guides the student writer through successful moves of academic writing. This book would be a very useful companion for both students and instructors. It is clear that the writers have extensive experience with teaching college composition and, accordingly, they cover the writing process for a collection of generally assigned types of papers in early writing courses. They also provide a multi-modal, visually accessible format with plenty of white space to keep it from an overwhelming experience for student writers. The same student writers get a lot of encouragement to build on what they already know and have practiced during their career so far, but they also get plenty of friendly nudges toward taking it to the next level. The authors offer writing samples, ranging from phrases or sentences to paragraph-length samples to sample essays, each of which is a quite helpful teaching tool. Chapter 9 on revising, one of the tougher concepts in freshman composition classes, is a particularly welcome overview of helpful ways to tackle the final stages of the writing process. The relatively detailed section on style is an especially welcome discussion, again, a concept that often gets scant attention in comprehensive composition textbooks. A useful glossary completes the book. I would be tempted to adopt this textbook for my classes, but the one element that gives me pause is the rather belated discussion of research.

The textbook is readable, clear, and for the most part, error-free. It appears, though, that the promised discussion of comma splices, something I find myself addressing heavily in my classes, is missing (see p. 123 and on).

The content is absolutely relevant and reflects the current take on teaching college composition, but without the danger of becoming obsolete soon. It looks to me that it would be relatively easy to update and implement the text.

The text is indeed written in an accessible language that is easy to comprehend by its intended audience. The authors use technical terminology necessary to the content.

The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology. The visual framework could, however, be more consistent throughout. The style - color, format, etc. - of call-outs could be made more consistent for the whole text.

As with most of us teaching college composition, assigning units from a writing textbooks will usually follow the schedule of actual writing assignments. This text lends itself to short, select reading assignments to complement the curriculum.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

Overall, the topics are organized in a logical pattern. The one snag for me is the belated discussion of research - it is one of the last chapters. Consider the mantra of college writing across the curriculum: "Research everything!" With that thought in mind, I would prefer this chapter earlier in the book, especially because, and inevitably, the authors do reference the importance of research throughout.

The text is free of significant interface issues. I do suggest a more consistent usage of textboxes throughout, however.

The text is free of grammatical errors.

Even though the text refrains from addressing particularly sensitive social/cultural topics, it provides a good springboard for a variety of topics that can inspire student writers to branch out on their own.

I recommend this text for consideration in freshman composition courses. I am definitely putting it on my list of "promising titles."

Reviewed by Sheri Anderson, Composition Instructor, Colorado State University on 12/24/19

"You, Writing!" comprehensively addresses the basics of writing in a casual, easily-accessible way. It would be an extremely useful textbook in a freshman composition class. It covers a variety of writing genres, as well as some basics that we, as... read more

"You, Writing!" comprehensively addresses the basics of writing in a casual, easily-accessible way. It would be an extremely useful textbook in a freshman composition class. It covers a variety of writing genres, as well as some basics that we, as instructors, often assume that our students already know (yet they often don't), such as how to title your paper and how to annotate a text.

There are many writing samples throughout this textbook which make it a great reference for students. The examples of "high," "casual," and "low" writing styles, and rewrites to make famous excerpts a different writing style, are a smart way to demonstrate to students what academic writing is (and isn't). The lessons on grammar are framed rhetorically by being placed within a chapter about proofreading at the end of the (Ch. 10). I found this textbook to be clearly written and comprehensive in covering the basics of freshman composition.

The copy in this textbook is clean and error-free, which makes it easy to read and understand.

The information in this book is relevant and reliable for composition classes. It is clearly organized, making it easy to use and reference.

This text is particularly clear and easily to read and understand, without trying too hard to be hip and young. Students will appreciate the clear descriptions and examples within the text, as well as the inclusion of an appendix at the end of the textbook, which offers a glossary of terms which they might need to

This text uses a rhetorical framework for teaching writing, while simplifying the basics of tone and genre to make them more accessible for the student writer.

This textbook lends itself to smaller readings within a class curriculum very well. It could be used out of chapter order while still maintaining its integrity, and chapters can be easily broken into smaller, daily readings.

The chapters within this text are well-organized.

This book's text is easy to navigate, and its text and visuals are easy to read both online or as a pdf download.

The text within this textbook is clean and error-free.

This book is relevant across cultural boundaries and makes use of examples that cross a variety of backgrounds.

Reviewed by Kristin Macintyre, Instructor of Composition, Colorado State University on 12/21/19

This text appears in eleven chapters, and each chapter covers an important component in the writing process. The chapters cover basic (but important) steps such as defining audience and purpose (chapter 3), finding a topic (chapter 4), and writing... read more

This text appears in eleven chapters, and each chapter covers an important component in the writing process. The chapters cover basic (but important) steps such as defining audience and purpose (chapter 3), finding a topic (chapter 4), and writing a thesis statement (chapter 5). In addition, the text acknowledges writing in different modes (or genres), such as persuasive writing, informative writing, and professional writing. The text also covers brainstorming, drafting, editing, revising, and organizing, as well as citation and research strategies and gives plenty of specific tips on engaging with meaningful writing practices.

I didn't notice any glaring errors!

I think the items in this textbook are very relevant. The concepts are simple yet foundational. There are some links to additional resources that I can see changing over time, but I do appreciate the additional references and plan to use them! (Thinking here about the links to Purdue OWL slides/videos on page 23). Overall, I think the text is relevant, and where it makes outside reference, the text is easily able to be updated or modified.

I found this textbook very clear. The text does a nice job delivering its points in a concise manner, and it doesn't require the reader to infer meaning. Each chapter is complete with clear headings and digestible paragraphs, and the text makes frequent use of examples to illustrate its points. I think that this text would prove accessible for many students in the first-year composition classroom, regardless of their writing proficiencies.

I found this textbook very consistent. At no point did I feel that the quality of the text was compromised, and I do appreciate the consistent tone throughout. Overall, I think the text is wonderfully self-contained and does not require much modification or elaboration in any of its chapters.

I very much plan to borrow portions of this textbook. I think its ability to be divided and adapted to other lessons is a particular strength, since I am often looking to scaffold and grow my own lessons. I've already begun to mark impressive/clear examples, definitions, and explanations that I'm excited to invite into my classroom next semester.

Organization is another strength of this text. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the text's clarity. As I mentioned above, I'm impressed by the text's ability to divide writing into digestible, understandable components. Nothing here feels convoluted or unnecessarily complex. I enjoyed the logic of the book and think its chapters are clear and easily accessible. This also makes jumping around the book easy--a quality that lends itself to both teachers and students of writing.

The formatting of the textbook does feel a bit elementary or unthoughtful at times. There are just a few diagrams that are hand-drawn, which makes a few spots in the book feel a bit underdeveloped. Otherwise, the interface is very workable.

I didn't notice any grammatical missteps.

Though I'm not sure this book would be considered culturally inclusive, I certainly did not find it culturally exclusive. Its focus is primarily the writing process, and its examples do not venture into culturally offensive territory. I would feel very comfortable assigning this textbook on diverse campuses.

I really enjoyed this textbook and am planning to borrow lots of material from it! Thank you to the authors; I've struggled to find a book that feels adaptable to my courses. The information here feels relevant, consistent, and complete. I will be recommending the book to my colleagues!

Reviewed by Jessica Kane, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University on 11/14/19

The book covers the major steps for academic writing, and while it had some examples of non-academic sources, it seemed to focus pretty overwhelmingly on "essays" in various formats. That's exactly what some programs want, though a bit limited for... read more

The book covers the major steps for academic writing, and while it had some examples of non-academic sources, it seemed to focus pretty overwhelmingly on "essays" in various formats. That's exactly what some programs want, though a bit limited for others.

I generally found the content to be accurate

The book steers away from examples that will quickly become obsolete, and uses writing from a variety of time periods to help illustrate its point.

The definitions of different terms at the beginning of the chapters is especially helpful.

Consistency rating: 3

I was surprised to find that the text devoted (for example) eight pages to audience and 40-something pages to specific grammar details. While the organization went from higher-order concerns to lower-order concerns, meaning that all the editing and grammar information came towards the end, it felt lopsided in that respect. The chapter about research/finding sources came at the very end, perhaps because the authors were trying to make the discussion of organization, argument, audience, etc. relevant for projects that don't involve research, but that also surprised me.

The different sections are well-contained and easily readable.

As with consistency, I found the amount of space given to different elements of writing to be strange. The text is set up to be chronological, to take the reader through the steps of writing, beginning with audience and ending with proofreading. The first eight chapters flowed logically from one to the next, the ninth and tenth chapters ("Editing" and "Proofreading") came at a chronologically logical time but just took up so much space, and the eleventh chapter ("Research Process") seemed strangely tacked on to the end

Text interface is clear

The book's grammar is sound

The text did a good job bringing in multiple voices

An overall strong text, particularly for classes or programs that are very focused on teaching students academic writing. It generally did a good job explaining why different elements of writing and the writing process matter, it used both professional and student writing examples, and it is written to be easy to read. My major critique is the overwhelming focus on academic writing, which is an important element of first-year writing courses but not (I believe) the only element. The "professional writing" section is limited and less helpful, I would generally point students to other resources when we discuss professional writing.

Reviewed by Megan Morris, Adjunct professor, Richard Bland College on 10/16/19

The textbook thoroughly covers the subject of writing, including differences between high school and college writing, generating ideas, developing a thesis, different modes of paragraph development, research and citation, and sentence skills. The... read more

The textbook thoroughly covers the subject of writing, including differences between high school and college writing, generating ideas, developing a thesis, different modes of paragraph development, research and citation, and sentence skills. The amount of space devoted to these areas is not e even, however. While much detailed attention is given to the specific terminology of Greek logic, for example, the text might have benefited from more extensive concrete examples of critical reading and how it plays out in practice in student writing. While I really liked the sample annotations of the poems, many student writers in introductory English classes are working with prose rather than poetry. Furthermore, simply seeing the annotations would not necessarily help struggling students see how to write an essay or a paragraph that develops their critical reading of the text. Likewise, I would have liked to see more concrete examples of paraphrasing and introducing quotations later in the text; the section that discusses those issues seemed somewhat abbreviated, and those are typically major areas of student concern. All of that being said, however, the textbook's coverage of most areas of first-year writing was quite comprehensive, and the introduction of a few outside texts would easily remedy gaps such as the one I mentioned above.

I observed no problems with the text's accuracy, and I also noticed no bias in the way that it's written.

The text is up-to-date, including the most recent changes in MLA formatting, and --particularly as the conventions of English don't change very fast--I don't foresee any difficulty with updating this textbook as necessary. The social and cultural references I noticed in the textbook (such as Twitter and Steven Colbert) are up-to-date and seem likely to resonate well with students for some time to come.

The language of the textbook is generally very clear and easy to follow. I see numerous efforts throughout to make readings and examples relevant and accessible to students, and the authors also integrate a variety of useful charts and diagrams for students who prefer to think graphically.

In a few places, I did have a few concerns about clarity. In the chapter on argumentation, for instance, some of the distinctions made between different types of argument seemed to specific or arcane to be particularly useful to many English 100 and English 101 student. While distinguishing between inductive and deductive reasoning is very useful, for instance, distinguishing between "rhetorical argument" and "academic argument" seems a bit superfluous for the target audience. While that particular section is short, it distracts students a bit from the major issues at hand.

While the text generally lays out clear steps--the diagrams that outline writing processes are particularly nice--a few of the lists of steps seem somewhat cumbersome. In the Critical Reading chapter, for instance, the number of steps may be intimidating to many students.

The textbook is consistent throughout; I noticed no disparities in the use of terminology, for instance.

While the chapters themselves are long, they include useful divisions throughout, all of which are hyperlinked from the menu. It would be easy for an instructor to hyperlink only certain sections of the chapter for use in class. The sections seemed to stand quite well independently; it would be easy, for instance, to read the chapter on the writing process before the one on argumentation.

Generally, the book's organization is logical and in keeping with the typical flow of college composition textbooks. The only major exception was the chapter on the writing process. I'd at first thought that the editors had placed the chapter on argumentation first because it might cover issues like thesis and topic sentences, but that isn't the case;those topics appear most clearly--and, importantly, most accessibly for student writers--in the section on the writing process. I did feel that following the textbook in sequential order would result in students writing an essay before they'd been fully prepared to do so. I would be more inclined to place "The Writing Process" immediately after "Critical Reading," then assign the chapter on argumentation immediately before the discussion of the research process. That being said, however, it's easy to separate chapters into their component sections and assign them to fit smoothly within the broad structure of the course.

The text's interface looks really strong. I particularly liked the way that the text integrates links to a variety of media, including YouTube videos, to help student readers further explore concepts that they find either interesting or difficult.

I observed no major grammatical problems or typos.

The textbook appears to me to to be inclusive, and I didn't observe any issues with cultural sensitivity. Both issues are important to me because my college's student body is very diverse.

It's worth noting that I'd originally considered assigning this textbook for a developmental class, but I think that it's pitched too high. It would work better in the regular freshman English sequence.

Reviewed by Erica Heim, Graduate Employee / Composition Instructor, University of Oregon on 6/14/19

This text outlined all basic steps to the writing composition process, and then some. The entirety of the traditional writing process was outlined, from reading to brainstorming to organizing to drafting to revising and proofreading, but it... read more

This text outlined all basic steps to the writing composition process, and then some. The entirety of the traditional writing process was outlined, from reading to brainstorming to organizing to drafting to revising and proofreading, but it acknowledged that these stages can change order or recur; it just depends on the student. It also provided a thorough look at citations in different formats.

Besides a few intentional incomplete sentences (I believe constructed as a colloquial mechanism to relate to the pedestrian reader), the book was accurate both in content and in style.

This text is absolutely relevant to our era, and looks ahead to where we are going. It makes explicit the significance of writing in many different spheres, including social media posts and cover letters for resumes. This ubiquitous applicability ensures that the student may readily connect lessons to his or her everyday life.

The clarity might be what I appreciated most about this book. Some texts leave the student to infer their meanings, but this one made lessons crystal clear. In its clarity this text is also widely accessible, which is significant for students whose first language is not English or for whom high school English classes did not provide them with an adequate introductory education. Overall the clarity of this book makes it ideal for teaching in first-year college composition courses.

This book was certainly consistent. There were no surprises in any chapters, and students can follow along easily where the book is taking them.

The modularity is another thing I really appreciated about this text. Having sections with subsections makes it easier as an instructor to reconfigure reading assignments and construct a lesson out of several different (but relevant) subsections. Also each section was a feasible length so that different lessons could be combined without the reading assignment being too time-consuming.

Organization can always be improved, but the way this text presented its ideas was logical and clear. Readers can follow along easily without getting lost or needing to reference back to other sections.

This text's interface was easily navigable.

As mentioned previously, the grammar and syntactical structure of this text was 'correct' for the most part. There were a few instances of incomplete sentences or colloquial expressions, but those were likely intentional as a way to underscore a point or relate to the student reading.

This book was not culturally offensive. I am hyper-aware of those kinds of instances wherein an implicit cultural bias is made, and I am always looking for those instances - whether consciously or not. This text did not raise any alarms.

Overall this text was both accessible for students and moldable for teachers. It covers the basics of writing composition in college and demonstrates not only that anyone is capable of writing, but also that everyone is already writing in some way in their lives. It was crystal clear in communicating the processes of reading and writing, and also covered the ever-important topic of citations quite thoroughly. With a plethora of examples, this text illustrated the different shapes writing can take, and the different mechanisms writers can choose to employ. Ultimately, this text is thorough in content, accessible in style, and organized in such a way that an instructor can make it her own.

Reviewed by Margaret LaFleur, Instructor, Minnesota State on 5/29/19

This was quite comprehensive for a general overview of Composition. The authors don't get too deep into any given style of essay, which is helpful for instructors designing their own courses as it would allow them to build off of the general... read more

This was quite comprehensive for a general overview of Composition. The authors don't get too deep into any given style of essay, which is helpful for instructors designing their own courses as it would allow them to build off of the general examples. It also covers the Research Essay, which is key for any comprehensive Composition guide.

The authors took obvious care to write an accurate guide. There are a few instances that are accurate, if brief. The grammar chapters, for instance, are helpful but not overly detailed. This makes it helpful as a reference or starting point, but may not address all of student concerns. However, this would just require instructors to supplement, as all the information is accurate.

Good writing is somewhat timeless, even as language and styles evolve. There is a lot of discussion of process, which is the timeless aspect of good writing. Students need to be encouraged to work through the act of writing, not get hung up on a perfect finished process. In this sense the book is very relevant and helpful.

The authors make an evident effort to be clear and direct in the writing. It is definitely accessible to a wide range of readers. Additionally the authors take time to define words and ideas for students. For example, when discussing style they take time to explain "denotation" and "connotation" which are great concepts (and vocabulary!) words for students to learn as they are also learning to write.

Very consistent! In addition to a similar tone and framework the book also includes many familiar listing techniques and terminology that is common to other Composition books out there.

Like many Composition books this textbook follows the general outline of a Composition course. It starts at the beginning of the writing process, discusses drafting, then editing, and includes the Research Essay at the end of the book. These are broken up into smaller sections which would be easy to break down and assign. Generally the breakdown makes the most sense along the chapter breaks, as the chapters are clearly designed to be read in whole.

As noted above it follows an organizational pattern very familiar to Composition guides. Nothing ground breaking, but that's for the best.

I had no trouble navigating this book, and appreciated the use of simple and relevant images when they were included. The glossary and index help with the navigation as well.

Luckily the grammar is great, or it couldn't serve as a resource for those still learning grammar!

Because the language is straight forward and clear there are no accidental insensitive or offensive comments included. There are modern or current references, so it doesn't feel like students are reading dated work.

This is an excellent overview of Composition. It would require supplemental material and examples, I believe, but gives an instructor a very comprehensive basis to build off of.

Reviewed by Rebecca Owen, Adjunct Instructor , Chemeketa Community College on 5/6/19

This text is an excellent and conversational approach to college writing. It covers all the necessary topics, from styles of writing to grammar. The examples it uses are interesting and current, which makes it easy to read and follow. The glossary... read more

This text is an excellent and conversational approach to college writing. It covers all the necessary topics, from styles of writing to grammar. The examples it uses are interesting and current, which makes it easy to read and follow. The glossary in particular is quite effective! I also thought the explanations on logos, ethos, and pathos were well-defined for this level of writing student.

Nothing concerning in terms of accuracy and bias. This text could be adapted to suit any number of college composition courses.

Subject-wise, this book could be timeless. Some of the examples used (like in the grammar explanation chapters) were references to current pop culture events and figures. This could be something edited and shaped in future editions.

Very clear, very straightforward writing. It felt accessible, and it was written in such a way that might make a student nervous about writing feel more comfortable. The conversational style was a strength of this text.

Terminology and framework were acceptable. Some chapters might have benefited from explanations or activities to help boost students' understanding (especially in sentence types in the grammar sections).

Short, specific chapters that were easy to follow. I would definitely consider assigning portions of this text as supplementary reading for an online class, for instance.

The entire book is presented in an easy to read and follow fashion. The graphics are a nice touch that give it a bit of fun and personality, too.

I read this text on my iPad, and I had no trouble navigating through its entirety. Clear, streamlined writing that looked nice on the page.

I didn't see anything alarming in terms of grammatical errors.

Yes, this is definitely true--one example made mention of Trayvon Martin and Black Lives Matter in sample paragraphs. Others used songs or celebrities as subjects of sample essays and paragraphs. It felt relevant to this current era, and I think students would be comforted by how relevant it is.

I really liked how accessible and friendly this textbook seemed to me as the reader. Clear, specific explanations go a long way to make the writing process less of a mystery and more engaging and fun.

Reviewed by Tiffany Duet, Instructor, Nicholls State University on 4/29/19

The text includes pertinent content regarding writing processes and modes of writing. While it does an adequate job of explaining concepts regarding argumentation, the text neglects to provide logical fallacies (specifically ad populum) in... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

The text includes pertinent content regarding writing processes and modes of writing. While it does an adequate job of explaining concepts regarding argumentation, the text neglects to provide logical fallacies (specifically ad populum) in explaining methods of persuasion. Furthermore, some example essays in Chapter 7 lack the sophistication which is required in college-level assignments. Commentary on more challenging modes such as rhetorical and literary analysis, as well as research-based persuasion, seems underdeveloped. The text lacks an index but does include an extensive and informative glossary.

Overall, content concerning rhetorical strategies and writing style is accurate and informative. However, citations in examples of annotated bibliographies do not follow current APA or MLA guidelines, and the text includes other errors in MLA citation format.

Overall, the content is contemporary. A few examples which do pertain to the targeted age group may become obsolete within a few years. Yet, these examples should be relatively easy to update as they are isolated.

The authors avoid using advanced academic jargon. Terminology concerning the writing process is easily accessible to beginning composition students. Writing style is straight-forward and even conversational at times.

While the use of quoted material is not consistently formatted throughout the text, authors do use terminology consistently. Authors effectively use a “basic writing process chart” as both a visual aid and an organizational framework for content.

The text is divided into readable sections with appropriate heads and subheads.

The text is organized clearly around its “basic writing process” concept. Using running heads with chapter titles might help readers better comprehend the text’s organization.

The text includes helpful links to online resources. However, the “back button” returns the user to the table of contents instead of the pages containing the hyperlinks. This problem would be remedied if hyperlinks opened supplementary material in new windows. In addition, I discovered at least one invalid URL. Usability could also be improved by linking chapters on the table of contents to their corresponding pages.

While the text includes a few spelling/typographical errors, it is grammatically sound, overall.

The authors make a clear effort to include examples which are culturally inclusive. No offensive or insensitive material was detected.

The textbook does a very good job of showing the real processes of writing, messiness and all. This content should make those who struggle with the process comfortable in their own efforts to acquire or hone writing skills. Its readability will also prove helpful for the beginning composition student.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wilde, Adjunct instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/14/18

This book covers all the stages of a writing project, from determining the audience and purpose of a writing assignment, to developing a thesis statement and proofreading the final revision. It is geared to the beginning college writer and... read more

This book covers all the stages of a writing project, from determining the audience and purpose of a writing assignment, to developing a thesis statement and proofreading the final revision. It is geared to the beginning college writer and includes how to approach various assignments/academic tasks: emailing a professor about a missed quiz, constructing a literary argument, arguing a political position. Because it is so comprehensive and is generalist in its approach, there is not much time to dive deeply into any particular approach or assignment; however, because it is concisely written, the authors manage to give advice about just about everything an undergraduate may be asked to write, with a few exceptions. These include the general analytic essay, and the case report. The former assignment is useful for college writers because unlike the narrative or persuasive essays, it forces them to write with a specifically academic tone and to rely on data and logic. The book has an incredibly useful glossary, and the tablet of contents is extremely detailed.

The book is highly accurate. The writers are knowledgeable about the writing process, conventions of English, style, and where to locate up-to-date MLA and APA formatting information. The section on run-ons and sentence fragments is brief but informative. The list of subordinating conjunctions is not comprehensive. I find the phrase "dependent word" to be easier to use with writing students, but that's just a preference. The word "however" is listed as a conjunctive adverb, which it is, but not as a subordinating conjunction, which it also is (as in the sentence "However you look at it, English grammar is confusing". ) I think this whole grammar section is rather brief, trying to teach sentence skills in a few dozen pages; however, if it is meant as a review of the material for students who presumably have already learned it in a lower level class, it may be sufficient. (That "however" functions as a conjunctive adverb.) The passage of high versus low style is interesting, and not something I've seen before in writing texts. As opposed to the section on grammar, this part of the style section seems to go on too long.

Most of the material is timeless: how to generate ideas, how to organize an argument, how to pitch your writing to the audience and purpose, how to use semi-colons, how to approach introductions and conclusions, to name a few important sections. The authors helpfully provide resources such as the Online Writing Labs for students to locate and use as needed for information that is likely to change, such as the latest APA formatting rules. The writing samples feel very contemporary and not dated. (Well, except for the Gettysburg address, but that's a classic.)

The authors really lead by example here. The writing is unfussy, crystal-clear, highly specific and easy to read. Here is an example of the fine writing that sets this book apart from the oodles of writing books: "The technical way we use the word “argument” in writing simply means offering a written text into an ongoing debate with the hope of securing agreement among people of good will who currently disagree with you or hold a different view. This is the nature of deliberative democracy..." This passage exemplifies the way the authors define their terms as they go along; nothing feels like jargon because they explain their word choices.

The book is consistent in its terminology and the way the chapters are framed. Each chapter pertains to a step in the writing process. I have a small quibble with this because all the grammar and sentence skills are lumped into the chapter on proofreading, which seems too late.

It makes sense to read this book in order for the most part. I would recommend reading the section on proofreading earlier, so that writers can look at good sentences before they generate their own (that may just be me.) However, it is definitely possible to assign one chapter at a time and it is not strictly necessary to read them in order. Some students will not need to read about high and low style, while others may want to skip the section on ethos, logos and pathos (they shouldn't skip it, but if they aren't dealing with rhetoric it may not be necessary.)

I like how it is organized along the steps of the writing process: exploring, generating a thesis, writing, revising, proofreading, etc. The section on grammar perhaps should come a little earlier, and the section on research, citation and plagiarism also feels like it comes rather late in the process. However, the authors point out early in the book that the process is not linear, and student writers often loop back to where they started as research or writing alters their point of view.

I had to blow it up quite a bit to make the text legible. This was not difficult, however. The images and handwritten charts are charming and informative and they are visually pleasing. Navigation is no problem. I love the index and glossary!

The grammar is impeccable, as it should be!

The student writing samples appear to have been drawn from a diverse group of writers.

It is beautifully written. It seems just right for the young, early college writing student. It is too generalized to serve as an advanced writing text for a specific discipline. I would recommend that the section on conventions be turned into an appendix - it doesn't fit neatly into "proofreading" and it is more useful as a reference than as a chapter.

Reviewed by Michael Albright, Assistant Professor, MnSCU on 10/24/18

This text covers a range of composition and rhetoric topics, while allowing for the convenience of selecting concerns that are most relevant to particular courses or students. read more

This text covers a range of composition and rhetoric topics, while allowing for the convenience of selecting concerns that are most relevant to particular courses or students.

The authors are careful to attribute their sources and do so in a way that provides clear modeling for readers. The book is polished and accurate.

The text is refreshing in its relevance and timeliness. The authors include common cultural and social references to reinforce their ideas and main topics.

One of the text's virtues is its accessibility. It is crafted for students and addressed to readers in a non-threatening and approachable way.

The text maintains consistency in terms of formatting and content.

The text is blocked into chapters and subsections, and the Table of Contents allows for easy redirection. There are some rather large blocks of prose that span for several pages at a time, which could prove daunting for students who are not prepared or equipped to pore over large swaths of text.

The overall organization is logical and intuitive.

The text is navigable and free of any technical errors or distortions. Some of the work's most appealing aspects are its authentic screenshots, markups, and charts.

The text is cleanly written and polished.

The text is geared toward multiple readers of diverse backgrounds. It is neither biased nor insensitive.

You, Writing! provides a refreshing and accessible approach to first-year composition, as it sets out to present a range of useful and translatable concepts in a disarming manner. Students and instructors will benefit from clearly defined sections and authentic examples, which supplement extensive commentary on rhetorical issues ranging from thesis development to Anglo-Saxon or Latinate language use.

This text would serve as a fine primary reader for composition students, while certain sections would prove immensely valuable as supplementary content give the depth of the book as a whole.

college composition writing assignments

Reviewed by Zachary Canter, Adjunct Faculty, East Tennessee State University on 10/10/18

The table of contents is very detailed, and a helpful glossary is included at the end of the book. A chapter on using logic and reasoning and avoiding logical fallacies would be helpful. There is no index. read more

The table of contents is very detailed, and a helpful glossary is included at the end of the book. A chapter on using logic and reasoning and avoiding logical fallacies would be helpful. There is no index.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

The content is both accurate and unbiased; however, the discussion of sources (pp. 138-143) is inadequate. Sources are only classified as “excellent,” “good,” and “other,” with very little information on how to evaluate them. Peer-reviewed journal articles are only briefly mentioned, and the quality of information from library databases over Internet search engines is not stressed enough.

The content of the text is relevant, and most examples come from classic literature, so they will not become dated. Writing is explored in a way that balances the use of technology with traditional methods.

The text is very accessible, being conversational and helpful in tone. The informative writing example, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation,” did seem somewhat elementary for a college text (pp. 53-54). The other examples were good, but I would have liked to have seen more, including a sample research paper.

Terminology is consistently used and defined throughout the text, and there is a logical framework to the whole.

The text is very adaptable to any freshman college or high school composition course. Readings on the writing process would work best if assigned chronologically, but each chapter could potentially stand on its own or be incorporated with additional readings.

The text is well-organized and offers a good overview of the writing process (especially planning).

The interface is adequate. An interactive table of contents with internal links to chapters and sections would be convenient. Links to outside sources work, but all links to the Purdue OWL only go to the homepage instead of the particular reference cited.

Grammatical Errors rating: 2

The text contains multiple minor errors, which is somewhat problematic for a writing textbook that stresses the need for editing. For example, “hear” should be “heard” (p. 11), “conclusion” is misspelled twice (pp. 12-13), “your” should be “you” (p. 20), there is an unnecessary parenthesis (p. 41), book titles are not italicized (p. 53), the word “to” should come after “Plato” (p. 54), “an” should be “and” (p. 57), there should be a comma instead of a period before “sin” and “put” should be capitalized (p. 60), there are problems with parallelism (pp. 69 and 71), the word “one” (for “tone”?) inside the parentheses of point 8 does not make sense (p. 81), the first sentence under the subheading “Style and Clarity” is incomplete (p. 91), there is a missing period (p. 96), “live” should be “life” (p. 100), and there is an extra indentation (p. 140). In addition, there is some inconsistency in the use of the Oxford comma.

The text is culturally sensitive, inoffensive, and inclusive. In addition, it is refreshingly apolitical, focusing on the kinds of writing students will need in their college courses and careers, rather than hot-button debates, activism, or extreme political correctness.

This book offers an excellent overview of the writing process, explains terms well, and maintains a very friendly tone throughout. Unfortunately, there are numerous minor errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, which some careful editing would correct. As a composition textbook, it would benefit from a chapter on using logic and reasoning, while the chapter on research needs some further development.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One: Why Write?
  • Chapter Two: A Writing Process for Every Writer
  • Chapter Three: Defining Audience and Purpose
  • Chapter Four: Exploring: Finding a Topic
  • Chapter Five: Writing a Thesis
  • Chapter Six: Organizing
  • Chapter Seven: Drafting
  • Chapter Eight: Revising
  • Chapter Nine: Editing
  • Chapter Ten: Proofreading
  • Chapter Eleven: Research Process

Ancillary Material

About the book.

This text is meant to be used in any first year College Composition class or as a general guide to college writing. The book focuses on writing as a process, not a product. The goal is to help students discover their own writing process, tryin g out different methods and strategies to find what works best for them

About the Contributors

Alexandra Glynn has been teaching English for about ten years. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from St. Cloud State University. She sometimes publishes about teaching English in the Minnesota English Journal. She also translates lyrics into English as well.

Kelli Hallsten-Erickson has been teaching developmental writing, Composition I and II, and a variety of literature courses at the two-year level for fifteen years. She is currently at Lake Superior College, encouraging student s to stay warm during the long winter by keeping their fingers burning across their keyboards, constructing interesting essays.

Amy Jo Swing has been teaching writing and English since 1993. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University and an M.F.A. in Poetry Writing from Texas State University San Marcos. She teaches all manner of writing at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota, where she is also a writer of poetry and middle grade fiction

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Academic Module 1: Creating Academic Content

14 Writing Academic Compositions: Processes and Products

U.S. college courses often require students to compose written assignments, ranging from short answer questions of a few sentences to much longer multi-page papers. Regardless of the length of the composition, all written assignments require students to complete specific steps (process) to reach the desired outcome (product). Generally, when students work on composition assignments, they complete the following steps: brainstorming, creating a graphic organizer, making an outline, creating the first complete draft, and editing/revising. As students advance in their acquisition of academic English and take on longer, more complex composition assignments, they often complete more than one cycle of drafting, editing, and revising.

In this chapter, you will learn more about each of the key steps in composing (a four-paragraph essay, for instance) as part of meeting your ELAI 990 learning outcomes as well as using the APP strategy of composition writing. [1]

The steps in composition writing

Generally, students may complete five steps when they compose a paragraph or an essay. This is especially helpful when students are less familiar with the process of composition writing. As students become more familiar, they may be able to successfully consolidate some of these steps, especially when they write timed in-class compositions.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Have you ever heard the term ‘brainstorming’ before? What do you think this refers to?

If you look up the term in a dictionary, you may come across the following definition: “generating ideas through group discussion”. This is accurate. However, students may not always have a group to generate ideas for assignments, and it is helpful to learn how to do simple brainstorming by oneself as well.

Let’s focus on the first part of the dictionary definition: ‘generating ideas’.

When you come across a topic for the first time, it is helpful to take a piece of paper (or on a computer/tablet/smartphone) and write down some initial ideas that come to your mind related to the topic. At this stage, students may draw upon their knowledge in one or more languages. This is something that you likely do in your everyday tasks, especially if you grew up in a bilingual/multilingual environment. In addition, students have a very strong command of a language other than English may also find it helpful to do the initial brainstorming in that language and then transition to English. At this stage, it is the ideas that are more important, regardless of what language they are expressed in.

To generate ideas, you may create a very simple idea map where you write the main topic in the center and then write down, clustered around that topic, one or two words or a very short phrase that comes to your mind and is connected to the topic (you may even draw a line from the topic to the new related ideas that you are expressing in the form of one or more words). By spending a few minutes on completing this simple task, you can quickly identify what you already know about the topic, all in one place in a visual form that’s easy to see. This will also give you more confidence that you do know something about the topic (sometimes students get stuck because they feel they do not know the topic at all). Finally, creating a simple brainstorming map will also help you figure out some of the gaps in your own knowledge about the topic–things that you do not know and need to know. This is especially handy when you already know what the composition writing task requires you to focus on (for instance, you may have to list causes or effects, or identify problems, or offer solutions, or take a position related to the topic).

Step 2: Creating a Graphic Organizer

At this step, students may start transitioning to (academic) English and use longer phrases to flesh out their ideas more and  to  organize those ideas in a graphic format across different levels of information. How many levels of information you identify at this step will depend on the APP of your assignment, but generally in a four-paragraph essay, students should list at least four levels of information in their graphic organizers: the thesis, the two main ideas (that will then become the topic sentences in the two body paragraphs), the major details to support the main ideas, and the minor details to support the major details. Remember, the more you move down the levels, the more specific the information will become.

Creating a graphic organizer will also help you identify the gaps in your knowledge that you need to fill in order to create a complete graphic. You may, for instance, need to find relevant facts to list as minor details or you will identify the academic English vocabulary items you need to know in order to fill in the different levels. A graphic organizer will also help you identify which information is less relevant or unnecessary and remove it from the organizer. For example, you may have three main ideas to support the thesis when you begin, but the parameters of the essay require you to use only two. At this step, you will identify which two the main ideas of the three to select, and you could select the best two based on importance, relevance, or parallelism. Finally, when you make a graphic organizer, you will be able to ensure that it is balanced, with a similar number of ideas for each of the body paragraphs that you will then outline in the next step.

Let’s look at the examples of a graphic organizer for a paragraph assignment and a graphic organizer for an essay assignment below to see how the ideas may be structured in a graphic organizer (To see the images in a larger format, click on each image). Keep in mind that the structure below is one example, and as you become more comfortable with making graphic organizers, you will be able to vary the structure based on the specific APPs of the assignments.

A sample graphic organizer for a paragraph assignment

college composition writing assignments

A sample graphic organizer for a four-paragraph essay assignment

college composition writing assignments

Step 3: Drafting an Outline

For longer composition assignments, such as multi-paragraph essays, creating an outline based on the graphic organizer can be very helpful, especially for students who struggle with writing longer sentences and creating flow within and across paragraphs. Let’s look at the examples of a paragraph outline and an essay outline below to see how outlines may be structured. Keep in mind that, just like a graphic organizer, the actual structure that you use for specific compositions will depend on the APP of the assignment.

A sample paragraph outline

  • Topic sentence: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Minor details: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Major detail 2: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Conclusion: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A sample essay outline

  • Hook: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Background information: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Thesis statement: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Minor details: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Restatement of the thesis: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Additional information: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Closing strategy: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Step 4: Composing the first full essay draft

The next step in the essay writing process is to take the outline and convert it into the first full essay draft, comprising four paragraphs, in this instance. At this stage of essay writing, students should focus on ensuring that the ideas flow logically within and across paragraphs, and that they use suitable transitional words, phrases, and sentences to connect the ideas. Students should also start paying attention to the word count at this point to ensure that they follow the guidelines provided. Once the first full draft has been created, students should use the rubric provided as well as a checklist to ensure that they have not forgotten some important element. For instance, if the rubric requires the student to make at least one reference to a reading, the student should ensure that they have done so by this stage.

Step 5: Revising the draft

As a final step in the composition assignment, students should both proofread and edit their compositions as needed. At this step, students should pay special attention to spelling words correctly, using appropriate punctuation and indentation, employing correct grammatical structures, and so forth. This may also be a good time to visit the Writing Center to get additional feedback, although you may visit the Writing Center at any stage of the composition assignment.

We are going to practice all of these steps in the class throughout the semester as well.

The APP of composition writing

Now, let’s look at the tasks of annotating and making notes through the lens of audience, purpose, and parameters, or APP.

Let’s start with the first criterion–the audience.

  • When you write a paragraph (e.g. in the form of a short answer to a question) or a longer composition (e.g. a four-paragraph essay) or a multi-page assignment (e.g. a 10-page paper that you may have to write in a credit course), who is your audience? Generally, students write short and long compositions for their professor to read (and to demonstrate that they have understood the target concept or idea well). As a result, you must structure and customize the content in the paragraph(s) for your professor, in which case, you need to make decisions about which language you would use to communicate your ideas (e.g. English in a U.S. college course) and what tone/register would be appropriate (i.e. academic/professional). In other words, who your audience is informs what you say and what you write in a college course. Therefore, it is very helpful to identify clearly who the target audience is for any academic assignment.

Now, let’s look at the second criterion–the purpose.

  • When you compose a text, it is essential that you keep the purpose or the reasons why you are writing the text in mind. For instance, is the purpose to describe, to inform, to persuade, or to convince? Depending on the purpose, you will need to choose the appropriate pattern of organization and the tone to use in your writing. For instance, if you write an essay where you have to provide two reasons why multilingualism is beneficial, you will need to use a persuasive tone and list two benefits of multilingualism along with details to describe these benefits in detail. Students who fail to do so or  misidentify the purpose at the beginning of the composition process end up writing a composition that is off-topic or with the wrong focus.

Finally, let’s look at the last criterion–the parameters.

  • In composing an assignment, you need to pay close attention to the guidelines provided to identify the assignment parameters, for instance in terms of word length, number of paragraphs, formatting, recommended font type and font size (for typed assignments), and so forth. This is especially helpful for students who may be new to college-level writing in general or the U.S. college culture specifically. When in doubt, check with your professor!
  • As you advance in your academic careers, the composition writing tasks are likely to become more complex, such as in the form of multi-page essays and research papers. Such advanced composition tasks may require other steps in the process of essay-writing, and you will learn those skills in your credit courses. The steps you learn here will help create the foundation on which you will then advance in your academic writing in credit-based coursework. ↵

Demystifying Academic English Copyright © by Rashi Jain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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For Teachers: 1001 Assignments

Below is a list of recommended assignments for English 1001. In some cases, descriptions are followed by links with sample assignments and other related resources.

Annotated Bibliography : An annotated bibliography helps students think through a research topic. In addition to bibliographical entry, each source is followed by a concise analysis of its main points. Annotations may also include a short response or a statement of potential uses for the source. These annotations are intended to be tools for students as they work on later essays; annotations should be designed to help them quickly remember how each source might be useful in their writing. How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography (with sample) | Assignment Sheet

Causal Analysis : In a causal analysis, students are asked to investigate the known or possible causes of a situation, trend, or phenomenon through extensive research. At its most basic, a causal analysis seeks to answer the question "Why?" Since complex trends and phenomena are not easy to trace step-by-step, causal analysis typically relies on informed speculation of causes using reliable evidence and firsthand experience. Causal Analysis Assignment Sheet

Evaluation of a Source : During research, students should be able to read their sources for credibility and rhetorical appeals as well as for information. This type of reading can be expanded into an evaluation of a source, in which students must conduct a rhetorical analysis of their own materials. As part of this evaluation, students can examine the presentation of information, underlying assumptions, audience awareness, and possible uses of the source in future projects.

Event Analysis : In an event analysis, students are asked to explain the contexts and controversies surrounding a particular event. The event can be something in the past or something that students experience firsthand. An event analysis may examine the causes of the event, the activities during the event, the circumstances surrounding the event, or the consequences of the event. But the focal point is always the particular event and the parties involved. Sample Assignment Sheet

Habit Analysis : In a habit analysis, students are asked to examine the naturalized behaviors (or habits) that help to construct our personal identities and social norms. In one sense, a habit analysis is a rhetorical analysis focusing on ethos , the art of identifying oneself and earning trust. However, a habit analysis can also examine other kinds of behavior, such as personal writing habits or established social customs.

Issue Analysis : (*REQUIRED*) In an issue analysis, students are asked to explain the debate surrounding a contested issue. Because issues involve multiple perspectives, students must locate a wide range of sources in order to present each perspective fairly and thoughtfully. The ultimate goal of an issue analysis is to introduce the debate to an uninformed audience without favoring one argument. All sections of English 1001 must include an issue analysis in order to complete the end-of-semester assessment . Find assignment sheets, scoring matrices, and sample issue analysis essays in the English 1001 Teachers  topic on the community moodle    page.

Literacy Analysis : In a literacy analysis, students are asked to reflect on the experiences and events that have shaped them as both readers and writers. This assignment is useful because it introduces writing itself as a topic of inquiry and identity-formation. Furthermore, it allows students and teachers to share both frustrations and insights about writing as a "literate" activity through self-reflexive analyses of students' writing practices. Click on the following links for sample documents: Assignment Sheet || Sample Rubric 1 | 2 || Sample Literacy Analysis || Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives

Presentation: For the presentation, students are asked to present their analysis of an issue, text, or image to the entire class. Some teachers ask students to work collaboratively, use technology such as Power Points, or use other visual media. Group Visual Presentation Assignment | Individual Oral Presentation Assignment

Process Analysis : In a process analysis, students are asked to take readers through a chronological sequence of steps. Informational process analyses describe how something occurs, while instructional process analyses describe how something is done (such that it can be duplicated). Processes analyzed should be neither too technical nor too simplistic, and students should be able to explain the importance of the process to readers.

Rhetorical Analysis : In a rhetorical analysis, students are asked to examine a spoken or written text for argumentative appeals, including logos (appeals to make logical connections), ethos (appeals to build credibility), and pathos (appeals to win sympathy or incite emotion). Other topics of analysis include kairos (or context), stated or implied purpose, intended audience, thesis and background information. Prewriting worksheet | Sample prewriting | Rhetorical Strategies | Ethos, Pathos and Logos: 1 | 2 || Assignment sheet || Sample essays: basic | 1 | 2  || Rubric

Synthesis:  Most analytical writing requires some form of synthesis; it is an essential skill for the required issue analysis, as well as for any researched essay. Some teachers create assignments to isolate and target this skill, which ask students to pull together multiple sets of ideas in order to compare, contrast, evaluate and discover new insights.   Synthesis essay and in-class practice | Literature review and synthesis

Textual Analysis : In a textual analysis, students are asked to examine a non-literary text (such as a scholarly article) and describe the way that it functions or serves a specific purpose. Analyzable texts may include scholarly sources, resumes, bibliographies, and so on. The criteria for analysis may vary depending on the text's purpose. For example, students can conduct textual analyses of each other's work based on grading criteria.

Visual Analysis : In a visual analysis, students are asked to examine an ad, website, or other form of visual media. Visual analyses can be conducted in a number of ways. For example, students might examine formal elements, such as color and perception. Visual analysis can also be combined with rhetorical analysis (explaining appeals to logic, credibility, emotion and context) and literary analysis (interpreting metaphors, representation, and authorship). In-class activity | Advertising Analysis Assignment  

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4.3: Writing Assignments

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Learning Objectives

  • Describe common types and expectations of writing tasks given in a college class

Man writing in a notebook sitting on a couch.

What to Do With Writing Assignments

Writing assignments can be as varied as the instructors who assign them. Some assignments are explicit about what exactly you’ll need to do, in what order, and how it will be graded. Others are more open-ended, leaving you to determine the best path toward completing the project. Most fall somewhere in the middle, containing details about some aspects but leaving other assumptions unstated. It’s important to remember that your first resource for getting clarification about an assignment is your instructor—she or he will be very willing to talk out ideas with you, to be sure you’re prepared at each step to do well with the writing.

Writing in college is usually a response to class materials—an assigned reading, a discussion in class, an experiment in a lab. Generally speaking, these writing tasks can be divided into three broad categories: summary assignments, defined-topic assignments, and undefined-topic assignments.

Link to Learning

This Assignment Calculator can help you plan ahead for your writing assignment. Just plug in the date you plan to get started and the date it is due, and it will help break it down into manageable chunks.

Summary Assignments

Being asked to summarize a source is a common task in many types of writing. It can also seem like a straightforward task: simply restate, in shorter form, what the source says. A lot of advanced skills are hidden in this seemingly simple assignment, however.

An effective summary does the following:

  • reflects your accurate understanding of a source’s thesis or purpose
  • differentiates between major and minor ideas in a source
  • demonstrates your ability to identify key phrases to quote
  • demonstrates your ability to effectively paraphrase most of the source’s ideas
  • captures the tone, style, and distinguishing features of a source
  • does not reflect your personal opinion about the source

That last point is often the most challenging: we are opinionated creatures, by nature, and it can be very difficult to keep our opinions from creeping into a summary, which is meant to be completely neutral.

In college-level writing, assignments that are only summary are rare. That said, many types of writing tasks contain at least some element of summary, from a biology report that explains what happened during a chemical process, to an analysis essay that requires you to explain what several prominent positions about gun control are, as a component of comparing them against one another.

Writing Effective Summaries

Start with a clear identification of the work.

This automatically lets your readers know your intentions and that you’re covering the work of another author.

  • In the featured article “Five Kinds of Learning,” the author, Holland Oates, justifies his opinion on the hot topic of learning styles — and adds a few himself.

Summarize the Piece as a Whole

Omit nothing important and strive for overall coherence through appropriate transitions. Write using “summarizing language.” Your reader needs to be reminded that this is not your own work. Use phrases like the article claims, the author suggests, etc.

  • Present the material in a neutral fashion. Your opinions, ideas, and interpretations should be left in your brain — don’t put them into your summary. Be conscious of choosing your words. Only include what was in the original work.
  • Be concise. This is a summary — it should be much shorter than the original piece. If you’re working on an article, give yourself a target length of 1/4 the original article.

Conclude with a Final Statement

This is not a statement of your own point of view, however; it should reflect the significance of the book or article from the author’s standpoint.

  • Without rewriting the article, summarize what the author wanted to get across. Be careful not to evaluate in the conclusion or insert any of your own assumptions or opinions.

Understanding the Assignment and Getting Started

Woman sitting on a sofa with a statistics book next to her, reading another book.

Often, the handout or other written text explaining the assignment—what professors call the assignment prompt —will explain the purpose of the assignment and the required parameters (length, number and type of sources, referencing style, etc.).

Also, don’t forget to check the rubric, if there is one, to understand how your writing will be assessed. After analyzing the prompt and the rubric, you should have a better sense of what kind of writing you are expected to produce.

Sometimes, though—especially when you are new to a field—you will encounter the baffling situation in which you comprehend every single sentence in the prompt but still have absolutely no idea how to approach the assignment! In a situation like that, consider the following tips:

  • Focus on the verbs . Look for verbs like compare, explain, justify, reflect , or the all-purpose analyze . You’re not just producing a paper as an artifact; you’re conveying, in written communication, some intellectual work you have done. So the question is, what kind of thinking are you supposed to do to deepen your learning?
  • Put the assignment in context . Many professors think in terms of assignment sequences. For example, a social science professor may ask you to write about a controversial issue three times: first, arguing for one side of the debate; second, arguing for another; and finally, from a more comprehensive and nuanced perspective, incorporating text produced in the first two assignments. A sequence like that is designed to help you think through a complex issue. If the assignment isn’t part of a sequence, think about where it falls in the span of the course (early, midterm, or toward the end), and how it relates to readings and other assignments. For example, if you see that a paper comes at the end of a three-week unit on the role of the Internet in organizational behavior, then your professor likely wants you to synthesize that material.
  • Try a free-write . A free-write is when you just write, without stopping, for a set period of time. That doesn’t sound very “free”; it actually sounds kind of coerced, right? The “free” part is what you write—it can be whatever comes to mind. Professional writers use free-writing to get started on a challenging (or distasteful) writing task or to overcome writer’s block or a powerful urge to procrastinate. The idea is that if you just make yourself write, you can’t help but produce some kind of useful nugget. Thus, even if the first eight sentences of your free write are all variations on “I don’t understand this” or “I’d really rather be doing something else,” eventually you’ll write something like “I guess the main point of this is…,” and—booyah!—you’re off and running.
  • Ask for clarification . Even the most carefully crafted assignments may need some verbal clarification, especially if you’re new to a course or field. Professors generally love questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. Try to convey to your instructor that you want to learn and you’re ready to work, and not just looking for advice on how to get an A.

Defined-Topic Assignments

Many writing tasks will ask you to address a particular topic or a narrow set of topic options. Defined-topic writing assignments are used primarily to identify your familiarity with the subject matter. (Discuss the use of dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God , for example.)

Remember, even when you’re asked to “show how” or “illustrate,” you’re still being asked to make an argument. You must shape and focus your discussion or analysis so that it supports a claim that you discovered and formulated and that all of your discussion and explanation develops and supports.

Undefined-Topic Assignments

Another writing assignment you’ll potentially encounter is one in which the topic may be only broadly identified (“water conservation” in an ecology course, for instance, or “the Dust Bowl” in a U.S. History course), or even completely open (“compose an argumentative research essay on a subject of your choice”).

Pencil sketches of a boo, a magnifying glass, and paper.

Where defined-topic essays demonstrate your knowledge of the content , undefined-topic assignments are used to demonstrate your skills— your ability to perform academic research, to synthesize ideas, and to apply the various stages of the writing process.

The first hurdle with this type of task is to find a focus that interests you. Don’t just pick something you feel will be “easy to write about” or that you think you already know a lot about —those almost always turn out to be false assumptions. Instead, you’ll get the most value out of, and find it easier to work on, a topic that intrigues you personally or a topic about which you have a genuine curiosity.

The same getting-started ideas described for defined-topic assignments will help with these kinds of projects, too. You can also try talking with your instructor or a writing tutor (at your college’s writing center) to help brainstorm ideas and make sure you’re on track.

Getting Started in the Writing Process

Writing is not a linear process, so writing your essay, researching, rewriting, and adjusting are all part of the process. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you approach and manage your assignment.

Graphic labeled "The Writing Process." From left to right, it reads: Topic, Prewrite, Evidence, Organize, Draft, Revise, Proofread.

Write down topic ideas. If you have been assigned a particular topic or focus, it still might be possible to narrow it down or personalize it to your own interests.

If you have been given an open-ended essay assignment, the topic should be something that allows you to enjoy working with the writing process. Select a topic that you’ll want to think about, read about, and write about for several weeks, without getting bored.

A computer keyboard and fingers.

If you’re writing about a subject you’re not an expert on and want to make sure you are presenting the topic or information realistically, look up the information or seek out an expert to ask questions.

  • Note: Be cautious about information you retrieve online, especially if you are writing a research paper or an article that relies on factual information. A quick Google search may turn up unreliable, misleading sources. Be sure you consider the credibility of the sources you consult (we’ll talk more about that later in the course). And keep in mind that published books and works found in scholarly journals have to undergo a thorough vetting process before they reach publication and are therefore safer to use as sources.
  • Check out a library. Yes, believe it or not, there is still information to be found in a library that hasn’t made its way to the Web. For an even greater breadth of resources, try a college or university library. Even better, research librarians can often be consulted in person, by phone, or even by email. And they love helping students. Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions!

Write a Rough Draft

It doesn’t matter how many spelling errors or weak adjectives you have in it. Your draft can be very rough! Jot down those random uncategorized thoughts. Write down anything you think of that you want included in your writing and worry about organizing and polishing everything later.

If You’re Having Trouble, Try F reewriting

Set a timer and write continuously until that time is up. Don’t worry about what you write, just keeping moving your pencil on the page or typing something (anything!) into the computer.

Contributors and Attributions

  • Outcome: Writing in College. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence. Authored by : Amy Guptill. Provided by : SUNY Open Textbooks. Located at : License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Image of man writing. Authored by : Matt Zhang. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
  • Writing Strategies. Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Image of woman reading. Authored by : Aaron Osborne. Located at : . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of sketches of magnifying glass. Authored by : Matt Cornock. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
  • How to Write a Summary. Authored by : WikiHow. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • How to Write. Provided by : WikiHow. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Image of typing. Authored by : Kiran Foster. Located at : . License : CC BY: Attribution
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Student Opinion

Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students

college composition writing assignments

Compiled by Michael Gonchar

  • April 12, 2018

Note: We have 300 new argumentative writing prompts to add to this list.

Sign up for our free Learning Network newsletter. Receive new writing prompts in your inbox every week.

Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.

We’ve published iterations of this post in the past — 200 , 401 and even 650 prompts — but never before have we gathered all our prompts, for both personal and argument writing, into one categorized list.

Admittedly, the list is huge. In fact, there are 1,219 questions below on everything from video games and fashion to smartphones and parenting, and each prompt links to a Times article as well as to additional subquestions that can encourage deeper thinking.

To help you navigate this page, here’s an index of topics:

Technology (1-74): Social Media • Smartphones • Internet & Tech Arts & Entertainment (75-248): Music • Television • Video Games • Movies & Theater • Books & Reading • Writing • The Arts • Language & Speech School & Career (249-449): School • Learning & Studying • Education Tech • Teachers & Grading • School Rules & Student Life • College • Work & Careers Identity & Family (450-828): Parenting • Family • Childhood Memories • Growing Up • Overcoming Adversity • Your Personality • Religion & Morality • Role Models • Gender • Race & Ethnicity • Neighborhood & Home • Money & Social Class • What If... Social Life & Leisure Time (829-1,059): Friendship • Dating & Sex • Looks & Fashion • Food • Sports & Games • Travel • Holidays & Seasons • Shopping & Cars Science & Health (1,060-1,140): Science & Environment • Animals & Pets • Exercise & Health Civics & History (1,141-1,219): Guns & the Justice System • Government Policy • History & News

So dive into the hundreds of writing prompts below — and let us know in the comments how you might use them in your classroom.

Social Media

1. Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic? 2. Are You the Same Person on Social Media as You Are in Real Life? 3. How Young Is Too Young to Use Social Media? 4. What Advice Do You Have for Younger Kids About Navigating Social Media? 5. How Do You Use Facebook? 6. What Is Your Facebook Persona? 7. How Real Are You on Social Media? 8. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had on Facebook? 9. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad? 10. Does Facebook Need a ‘Dislike’ Button? 11. Has Facebook Lost Its Edge? 12. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account? 13. Would You Quit Social Media? 14. Do You Have ‘Instagram Envy’? 15. Who Is Your Favorite Social Media Star? 16. What’s So Great About YouTube? 17. What Has YouTube Taught You? 18. What Are Your Favorite Viral Videos? 19. What Are Your Favorite Internet Spoofs? 20. What Would You Teach the World in an Online Video? 21. Do You Ever Seek Advice on the Internet? 22. Would You Share an Embarrassing Story Online? 23. Do You Use Twitter? 24. Is Snapchat a Revolutionary Form of Social Media? 25. Why Do You Share Photos? 26. How Do You Archive Your Life? 27. What Ordinary Moments Would You Include in a Video About Your Life? 28. Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to Be Meaningful? 29. Do You Worry We Are Filming Too Much? 30. Have You Ever Posted, Emailed or Texted Something You Wish You Could Take Back? 31. Would You Want Your Photo or Video to Go Viral? 32. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday? 33. Will Social Media Help or Hurt Your College and Career Goals? 34. Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds for Getting Fired? 35. Are Anonymous Social Media Networks Dangerous? 36. Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online? 37. Are Parents Violating Their Children’s Privacy When They Share Photos and Videos of Them Online? 38. Would You Mind if Your Parents Blogged About You?


39. Are You Distracted by Your Phone? 40. Are You Distracted by Technology? 41. Does Technology Make Us More Alone? 42. Is Your Phone Love Hurting Your Relationships? 43. How Has the iPhone Affected Your Life? 44. How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone? 45. Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side? 46. Do Screens Get in the Way of the Rest of Your Life? 47. Do You Experience FOMO When You Unplug? 48. How Much of Your Day is Voluntarily Spent Screen-Free? 49. Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects? 50. Do You Think Teenagers Are Replacing Drugs With Smartphones? 51. Are You ‘Addicted’ to Texting? 52. How Many Text Messages Are Too Many? 53. Can a GIF Work Better Than Words? 54. Have You Ever Sent an Odd Message Because of Auto-Correct? 55. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smartphones Playing ‘Stupid Games’? 56. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time? 57. What Makes HQ Trivia So Popular? 58. Is Pokémon Go a Positive Cultural Force? Or Is it Just Another Excuse for People to Stare at Their Phones?

Internet & Tech

59. Is the Internet Broken? 60. How Do You Protect Your Personal Information From Hackers? 61. How Careful Are You Online? 62. What Story Does Your Personal Data Tell? 63. Do You Worry About the Lack of Anonymity in the Digital Age? 64. Do You Wish You Had More Privacy Online? 65. Would You Be Willing to Pay for Facebook or Google in Exchange for Your Privacy? 66. Have You Ever Been Scammed? 67. Whom Would You Share Your Passwords With? 68. What Tech Tools Play the Biggest Role in Your Life? 69. What New Technologies or Tech Toys Are You Most Excited About? 70. To What Piece of Technology Would You Write a ‘Love Letter’? 71. Do Machines Represent a Threat to Humans? 72. Do You Think Recreational Drones Are Safe? 73. What Role Will Robots Play in Our Future? 74. Will Wearable Technology Ever Really Catch On?

Arts & Entertainment

75. What Songs Are on Your Favorite Playlist? 76. What Are You Listening To? 77. What Musicians or Bands Mean the Most to You? 78. What Music Inspires You? 79. Who in Your Life Introduces You to New Music? 80. Do You Think You’ve Already Forged Your Lifelong Taste in Music? 81. How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like? 82. What Are Your Earliest Memories of Music? 83. Will Musical Training Make You More Successful? 84. What Role Does Hip-Hop Play in Your Life? 85. Which Pop Music Stars Fascinate You? 86. Who Is Your Favorite Pop Diva? 87. What’s Your Karaoke Song? 88. Which Artists Would You Like to See Team Up? 89. How Closely Do You Listen to Lyrics? 90. What Song Lyrics Do You Consider Literature? 91. What Current Musicians Do You Think Will Stand the Test of Time? 92. What Artists or Bands of Today Are Destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? 93. What Musician, Actor or Author Should Be a Superstar, but Hasn’t Quite Made It Yet? 94. What Artists Do You Believe Are the Future of Music? 95. What Can You Predict About the Future of the Music Industry? 96. What Artists Do You Consider ‘Sellouts’? 97. How Much Can an Artist Borrow From Earlier Musicians Before It Becomes Stealing? 98. Who Does Hip-Hop Belong To?

99. What Are Your Favorite TV Shows? 100. What Are the Best Things You’ve Watched, Read, Heard or Played This Year? 101. What Are Your TV Habits? 102. Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’? 103. What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family? 104. What Television Shows Have Mattered to You? 105. How Often Do You Watch a Television Show When It Originally Airs? 106. Have You Fallen Into ‘Friends’ or Any Other Older Television Shows? 107. What Old Television Shows Would You Bring Back? 108. Why Do We Like Reality Shows So Much? 109. What Ideas Do You Have for a Reality Show? 110. What Reality TV Show Would You Want to Be a Guest Star On? 111. Should Children Be Allowed to Compete on TV? 112. What Are Your Favorite Cartoons? 113. What Are Your Favorite Commercials? 114. What Makes a Good Commercial? 115. How Much Are You Influenced by Advertising? 116. Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes? 117. Do TV Shows Like ‘16 and Pregnant’ Promote or Discourage Teenage Pregnancy? 118. Is ‘13 Reasons Why’ Raising Awareness About Teenage Suicide, or Glamorizing It? 119. Do You Watch Hollywood Awards Ceremonies? 120. Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies? 121. Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits? 122. Should We Be Privy to the Lives of Celebrities’ Children? 123. Do You Think Child Stars Have It Rough? 124. Does TV Capture the Diversity of America Yet? 125. Is TV Too White? 126. What Stereotypical Characters Make You Cringe? 127. What Makes a Good TV Show Finale?

Video Games

128. Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport? 129. What Have You Learned Playing Video Games? 130. What Are Your Favorite Video Games? 131. Do You Play Violent Video Games? 132. Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors? 133. Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life? 134. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies? 135. Who Are Your Opponents in Online Gaming? 136. Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games? 137. How Excited Are You About the Possibilities of Virtual Reality? 138. Can a Video Game Be a Work of Art? 139. What Game Would You Like to Redesign? 140. How Sexist Is the Gaming World?

Movies & Theater

141. What Are Your Favorite Movies Ever? 142. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year? 143. What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over? 144. What Movies, Shows or Books Do You Wish Had Sequels, Spinoffs or New Episodes? 145. What Have You Learned From Movies? 146. Do You Like Horror Movies? 147. Are ‘Dark’ Movies O.K. for Kids? 148. What Is Your Favorite Comedy? 149. Are There Topics That Should Be Off Limits to Comedy? 150. What Is Your Favorite Sports Movie? 151. Who Are Your Favorite Movie Stars? 152. Would You Pay Extra for a 3-D Movie? 153. Where, and How, Do You Watch Movies? 154. What Are the Best Live Theatrical Performances You’ve Ever Seen? 155. Have You Ever Stumbled Upon a Cool Public Performance? 156. Have You Ever Performed for an Audience or Shared Creative Work With Others? 157. Does Live Theater Offer Something You Just Can’t Get Watching Movies or TV? 158. Is Hollywood Becoming More Diverse? 159. What — if Anything — Does the Current Hollywood Film Industry Lack?

Books & Reading

160. What Are the Best Books You’ve Read? 161. Read Any Good Books Lately? 162. What Are Your Favorite Young Adult Novels? 163. What Do You Want to Read This Summer? 164. What Books Do You Think Every Teenager Should Read? 165. What Role Have Books Played in Your Life? 166. Do You Read for Pleasure? 167. Do You Have a Favorite Novelist? 168. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize? 169. Has a Book, Movie, Television Show, Song or Video Game Ever Inspired You to Do Something New? 170. When Have You Seen Yourself and Your Life Reflected in a Book or Other Media? 171. Who Are the Characters That Authors Should Be Writing About? 172. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary? 173. How Much Power Do Books Have to Teach Young People Tolerance of Others? 174. Do You Read E-Books? 175. Are Paper Books Better Than E-Books? 176. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions? 177. Does Reading a Book Count More Than Listening to One? 178. What Childhood Classic Would You Like to See Turned Into a Movie or TV Show? 179. Are Shortened Versions of Classic Adult Literature Right for Young Children? 180. Is There Any Benefit to Reading Books You Hate? 181. Do You Read or Write Poetry? 182. What Memorable Poetry Have You Ever Read or Heard? 183. What Magazines Do You Read, and How Do You Read Them? 184. Do You Enjoy Reading Tabloid Gossip? 185. Are There Books That Should Be Banned From Your School Library? 186. Do We Still Need Libraries?

187. What Purpose Does Writing Serve in Your Life? 188. Why Do You Write? 189. Are You a Good Storyteller? 190. What’s Your Favorite Joke? 191. Do You Keep a Diary or Journal? 192. Do You Have a Blog? 193. Do You Want to Write a Book? 194. When Do You Write by Hand? 195. Do You Write in Cursive? 196. Do You Write in Your Books? 197. What Is Your Most Memorable Writing Assignment? 198. Do You Ever Write About Challenges You Face in Life? 199. What ‘Mundane Moments’ From Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material? 200. What Would You Write in a Letter to the Editor? 201. If You Had a Column in The New York Times, What Would You Write About? 202. Would You Ever Write Down a Secret and Bury It in the Ground?

203. What Is Your Favorite Type of Art? 204. What Are Your Favorite Works of Art? 205. What Work of Art Has Changed Your Life? 206. What Are the Most Memorable Works of Visual Art You Have Seen? 207. Which Photograph Stays In Your Memory? 208. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in a Museum? 209. Do We Need Art in Our Lives? 210. How Important Is Arts Education? 211. What Has Arts Education Done For You? 212. Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art? 213. Should Graffiti Be Protected? 214. Can You Separate Art From the Artist? 215. Is It Possible to Separate Art From the Artist Who Created It? 216. Are There Subjects That Should Be Off-Limits to Artists, or to Certain Artists in Particular? 217. Should Society Support Artists and Others Pursuing Creative Works? 218. Should Displays of Art Be Welcome in All Public Spaces? 219. Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study? 220. What Do You Think of the Obamas’ Portrait Choices?

Language & Speech

221. What Words Do You Hate? 222. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused? 223. How Much Slang Do You Use? What Are Your Favorite Words? 224. What Current Slang Words and Expressions Do You Think Will Endure? 225. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused? 226. What Words or Phrases Should Be Retired? 227. Why Do So Many People Say ‘Like’ and ‘Totally’ All the Time? 228. Do You Say ‘Kind of, Sort of’ More Than You Realize? 229. How Much Do You Curse? 230. Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value? 231. Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place? 232. How Good Are You at Coming Up With Witty Comebacks? 233. When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation? 234. What Makes a Great Conversation? 235. How Often Do You Have ‘Deep Discussions’? 236. Do You Wish Your Conversations Were Less Small Talk and More ‘Big Talk’? 237. Are We Losing the Art of Listening? 238. How Do You Greet Your Friends and Family? 239. When Do You Choose Making a Phone Call Over Sending a Text? 240. How Much Information Is ‘Too Much Information’? 241. What Does Your Body Language Communicate? 242. Do You Sometimes ‘Hide’ Behind Irony? 243. How Good Is Your Grammar? 244. Does Punctuation in Text Messages Matter? 245. When Do You Remember Learning a New Word? 246. Where Do You Find the Meanings of Unfamiliar Words? 247. Do You Speak a Second, or Third, Language? 248. Should Everyone Learn at Least One Other Language?

School & Careers

249. Should the School Day Start Later? 250. Would a Later School Start Time Increase Student Success? 251. Is Your School Day Too Short? 252. Should Schools Cancel Summer Vacation? 253. Do You Think a Longer School Calendar Is a Good Idea? 254. Should the Dropout Age Be Raised? 255. Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School? 256. Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School? 257. Should Kids Head to College Early? 258. Do You Like School? 259. Are You Stressed About School? 260. Are High School Students Being Worked Too Hard? 261. What Are You Really Learning at School? 262. What Are You Looking Forward To, or Dreading, This School Year? 263. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School? 264. How Much Does It Matter to You Which High School You Attend? 265. Are Small Schools More Effective Than Large Schools? 266. Would You Want to Go to a School Like This One? 267. What Kind of Education System Do You Think Is Best? 268. How Would You Grade Your School? 269. What Can Other Schools Learn — and Copy — From Your School? 270. What Would You Miss if You Left Your School? 271. What Do You Hope to Get Out of High School? 272. Should High Schools Do More to Prepare You for Careers? 273. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled? 274. Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports? 275. Should All Children Be Able to Go to Preschool? 276. What Is the Purpose of Preschool? 277. Should Kindergarten Be More About Play or Literacy?

Learning & Studying

278. Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework? 279. Does Your Homework Help You Learn? 280. Do You Need a Homework Therapist? 281. Do You Participate in Class? 282. What Is the Right Amount of Group Work in School? 283. What Do You Think of Grouping Students by Ability in Schools? 284. Does Class Size Matter? 285. What Is Your Best Subject? 286. What’s the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Ever Had? 287. What Is the Most Memorable Concept You’ve Learned in Science Class, and How Did You Learn It? 288. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math? 289. Are You Afraid of Math? 290. Do We Need a Better Way to Teach Math? 291. Is Shakespeare Too Hard? 292. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History? 293. How Would You Do on a Civics Test? 294. Does Geography Skill Make You a Better Citizen? 295. What Career or Technical Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered? 296. Does Gym Help Students Perform Better in All Their Classes? 297. Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too? 298. Do You Learn Better After Moving Around? 299. Do Kids Need Recess? 300. What Was Your Favorite Field Trip? 301. What Are Your Best Tips for Studying? 302. Do You Use Study Guides? 303. Is Everything You’ve Been Taught About Study Habits Wrong? 304. What Would You Like to Have Memorized? 305. Should Schools Be Teaching, and Evaluating, Social-Emotional Skills Like ‘Grit’? 306. Should Schools Teach You How to Be Happy? 307. Should Schools Teach Children How to Cook? 308. What ‘Pop-Up’ Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered? 309. Do Schools Provide Students With Enough Opportunities to Be Creative? 310. Does the Way Your Classroom Is Decorated Affect Your Learning? 311. How Much Does Your Life in School Intersect With Your Life Outside School?

Teachers & Grading

312. What Do You Wish Your Teachers Knew About You? 313. When Has a Teacher Inspired You? 314. Has a Teacher Ever Changed Your Mind-Set? 315. What Teacher Would You Like to Thank? 316. What Makes a Good Teacher? 317. Class Time + Substitute = Waste? 318. Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers? 319. How Formal Should Students Be When Interacting with their Teachers and Professors? 320. Have You Ever Been Humiliated by a Teacher? How Did it Affect You? 321. Have Your Teachers or Textbooks Ever Gotten It Wrong? 322. Do You Feel Your School and Teachers Welcome Both Conservative and Liberal Points of View? 323. Do You Have a Tutor? 324. How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences? 325. Should Students Be Present at Parent-Teacher Conferences? 326. How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card? 327. Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s? 328. Do Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys in Your School? 329. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities? 330. How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests? 331. Do You Spend Too Much Time Preparing for Standardized Tests? 332. Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores? 333. Do Your Test Scores Reflect How Good Your Teachers Are? 334. Should Discomfort Excuse Students From Having to Complete an Assignment? 335. Should Schools Give Students ‘Body’ Report Cards?

Education Tech

336. Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive? 337. Does Technology in the Classroom Ever Get in the Way of Learning? 338. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well? 339. Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class? 340. Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools? 341. Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School? 342. Should Teachers and Professors Ban Student Use of Laptops in Class? 343. How Do You Use Wikipedia? 344. Should There Be More Educational Video Games in School? 345. Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning? 346. Would You Like to Take a Class Online? 347. Is Live-Streaming Classrooms a Good Idea? 348. How Would You Feel About a Computer Grading Your Essays? 349. Who Should Be Able to See Students’ Records? 350. Does Your School Offer Enough Opportunities to Learn Computer Programming? 351. Does Your School Value Students’ Digital Skills? 352. Do You Know How to Code? Would You Like to Learn?

School Rules & Student Life

353. Are School Dress Codes a Good Idea? 354. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave? 355. Can Students at Your School Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Issues? 356. What Role Should the Police Have in Schools? 357. What Are the Best Teaching Methods for Getting Students to Behave Well in Class? 358. Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment? 359. Is Cheating Getting Worse? 360. Do You Know People Who Cheat on High-Stakes Tests? 361. Is a ‘Regret Clause’ a Good Idea for Cases of Academic Dishonesty? 362. Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards? 363. How Should Schools Handle Unvaccinated Students? 364. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community? 365. How Should Schools Address Bullying? 366. How Should Schools Address Cyberbullying? 367. What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying? 368. When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying? 369. How Should Schools Respond to Hazing Incidents? 370. How Do You Feel About Proms? 371. Is Prom Worth It? 372. Do You Want to Be ‘Promposed’ To? 373. Is Prom Just an Excuse to Drink? 374. What’s the Best Party You’ve Ever Been To? 375. What Role Do School Clubs and Teams Play in Your Life? 376. Should All Students Get Equal Space in a Yearbook? 377. Should Yearbooks Include Political News? 378. Should School Newspapers Be Subject to Prior Review? 379. Should More Student Journalists Have Independent Editorial Control? 380. What Are Your Thoughts on Riding the School Bus?

381. How Necessary Is a College Education? 382. Is College Overrated? 383. How Prepared Are You For College? How Well Do You Think You’ll Do? 384. What Worries Do You Have About College? 385. Where Do You Want to Go to College? 386. Does It Matter Where You Go to College? 387. Do College Rankings Really Matter? 388. Do Other People Care Too Much About Your Post-High School Plans? 389. What Are Your Sources for Information About Colleges and Universities? 390. Should Colleges Find a Better Way to Admit Students? 391. Is the College Admissions Process Fair? 392. Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades? 393. Do You Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions? 394. Are Early-Decision Programs Unfair? Should Colleges Do Away With Them? 395. What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College? 396. Should Engineers Pay Less for College Than English Majors? 397. What Is the Perfect Number of College Applications to Send? 398. What Role Has Community College Played in Your Life or the Life of Someone You Know? 399. How Much Do You Worry About Taking the SAT or ACT? 400. What Personal Essay Topic Would You Assign to College Applicants? 401. What Qualities Would You Look For in a College Roommate? 402. Would You Want to Take a Gap Year After High School? 403. What Specialty College Would You Create? 404. What Makes a Graduation Ceremony Memorable? 405. Should a College Education be Free? 406. Is Student Debt Worth It? 407. Are Lavish Amenities on College Campuses Useful or Frivolous? 408. Do Fraternities Promote Misogyny? 409. Should Fraternities Be Abolished? 410. Is a Sorority a Good Place for a Feminist? 411. Should Colleges Offer Degrees in Sports? 412. Should ‘Despised Dissenters’ Be Allowed to Speak on College Campuses?

Work & Careers

413. What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? 414. Do You Have a Life Calling? 415. What’s Your Dream Job? 416. What Jobs Are You Most Curious About? 417. What Are Your Longtime Interests or Passions? 418. Do You Think You Will Have a Career That You Love? 419. How Can You Ensure That Your Future Career is Right for You? 420. What Do You Want More From a Career: Happiness or Wealth? 421. What Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get Your Dream Job? 422. Would You Consider Moving Overseas for a Job? 423. What Do You Hope to Be Doing the Year After You Graduate From College? 424. What Would You Choose to Do If You Had Unlimited Free Time and No Restrictions? 425. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time? 426. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years? 427. Would You Like to Be Famous? 428. Would You Consider a Nontraditional Occupation? 429. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office? 430. Would You Want to Be a Teacher? 431. Would You Like to Be a Fashion Model? 432. What Hidden Talents Might You Have? 433. What ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Skills Do You Have, or Wish You Had? 434. Would You Like to Be a Farmer? 435. What Skill Could You Teach in Two Minutes? 436. What Have You Made Yourself? 437. What Would You Like to Learn to Make by Hand? 438. What Idea Do You Have That Is Ahead of Its Time? 439. Do You Have an Idea for a Business or App? 440. What Would You Create if You Had Funding? 441. How Did You Start Doing Something You Love? 442. Did You Ever Take a Break From Doing Something You Love? 443. What Have You Done to Earn Money? 444. Do You Have a Job? 445. Is It O.K. to Use Family Connections to Get a Job? 446. Should All High School Students Be Able to Get a Summer Job if They Want One? 447. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s? 448. Should Employers Be Able to Review Job Applicants’ SAT Scores? 449. How Important Is Related Experience in Doing a Job?

Identity & Family

450. How Close Are You to Your Parents? 451. How Are You and Your Parents Alike and Different? 452. Will You Follow in Your Parents’ Footsteps? 453. Are You Being Raised to Pursue Your Dreams? 454. Do You Have Helicopter Parents? 455. Do Your Parents Spy on You? 456. How Permissive Are Your Parents? 457. How Much Freedom Have Your Parents Given You? 458. At What Age Should Children Be Allowed to Go Places Without Adult Supervision? 459. Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Whatever They Want? 460. How Do Your Parents Teach You to Behave? 461. How, and by Whom, Should Children Be Taught Appropriate Behavior? 462. How Should Parents Discipline Their Kids? 463. When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse? 464. Should Parents Bribe Their Children? 465. Should Parents Make Their Children Clean Their Room? 466. How Do You Make Parenting Difficult for Your Parents? 467. How Often Do You Fight With Your Parents? 468. What Advice Would You Give to Your Mom, Dad or Guardian on How to Be a Better Parent? 469. Do Your Parents Try Too Hard to Be Cool? 470. Do You Ever Feel Embarrassed by Your Parents? 471. Do Your Parents Support Your Learning? 472. Do You Talk About Report Cards With Your Parents? 473. Do You Want Your Parents to Stop Asking You ‘How Was School?’ 474. How Much Do Your Parents Help With Your Homework? 475. Have Your Parents and Teachers Given You Room to Create? 476. How Closely Do Your Parents Monitor Your App Use? 477. Should Parents Limit How Much Time Children Spend on Tech Devices?

478. Who Is Your Family? 479. How Do You Define ‘Family’? 480. What Have You and Your Family Accomplished Together? 481. What Events Have Brought You Closer to Your Family? 482. How Has Your Family Helped or Hindered Your Transition to a New School? 483. What’s Your Role in Your Family? 484. Have You Ever Changed a Family Member’s Mind? 485. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings? 486. Is Your Family Stressed, Tired and Rushed? 487. What Are Your Family Stories of Sacrifice? 488. What Possessions Does Your Family Treasure? 489. What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family? 490. What’s the Story Behind Your Name? 491. What Are Your Favorite Names? 492. How Have You Paid Tribute to Loved Ones? 493. What Does the World Need to Know About an Important Person in Your Life? 494. What Do You Know About Your Family’s History? 495. Did Your Parents Have a Life Before They Had Kids? 496. What Family Traditions Do You Want to Carry On When You Get Older?

Childhood Memories

497. What Is Your Earliest Memory? 498. What Was Your Most Precious Childhood Possession? 499. What Is Your Most Prized Possession? 500. What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life? 501. What Do You Collect? 502. What Were Your Favorite Childhood Shows and Characters? 503. Do You Have Childhood Memories of Being Read Aloud To? 504. What Were Your Favorite Picture Books When You Were Little? 505. What Things Did You Create When You Were a Child? 506. What Places Do You Remember Fondly From Childhood? 507. What Food or Flavor Do You Remember Tasting for the First Time? 508. What Do You Wish You Could See, Hear, Read or Experience for the First Time All Over Again? 509. What Childhood Rules Did You Break? 510. Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Things You Used to Like? 511. Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past? 512. Was There a Toy You Wanted as a Child but Never Got? 513. What’s the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given or Received? 514. Have You Ever Given, or Received, a Perfect Gift? 515. What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail? 516. Have You Ever Lost (or Found) Something Valuable? 517. What Nicknames Have You Ever Gotten or Given? 518. What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories? 519. What Old, Worn Out Thing Can You Just Not Part With?

520. Is It Harder to Grow Up in the 21st Century Than It Was in the Past? 521. Is Modern Culture Ruining Childhood? 522. Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve? 523. Is Childhood Today Too Risk-Free? 524. Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies? 525. What Have You Learned in Your Teens? 526. What Do You Remember Best About Being 12? 527. What Personal Achievements Make You Proud? 528. What Are You Grateful For? 529. What Are Some Recent Moments of Happiness in Your Life? 530. What Rites of Passage Have You Participated In? 531. What Advice Would You Give Younger Kids About Middle or High School? 532. What Have You Learned From Older People? 533. What Have You Learned From a Younger Person — and What Have You Taught An Older Person? 534. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation? 535. What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Yours? 536. Do You Recognize Yourself in Descriptions of ‘Generation Z’? 537. What Should We Call Your Generation? 538. When Do You Become an Adult? 539. Do You Have ‘Emerging Adult’ Skills? 540. When You Are Old Enough to Vote, Will You? 541. When Should You Be Able to Buy Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol, Vote, Drive and Fight in Wars? 542. Does Your Generation Have Too Much Self-Esteem? 543. Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations? 544. Do You Think Anxiety Is A Serious Problem Among Young People? 545. Is Our Culture of Online Shaming Out of Control? 546. Do ‘Shame and Blame’ Work to Change Teenage Behavior? 547. Do You Think Teenagers Can Make a Difference in the World?

Overcoming Adversity

548. What Challenges Have You Overcome? 549. What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies? 550. What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success? 551. When Have You Failed? What Did You Learn From It? 552. When Have You Ever Succeeded When You Thought You Might Fail? 553. What Life Lessons Has Adversity Taught You? 554. Does Suffering Make Us Stronger and Lead to Success? 555. Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work? 556. Are You Hopeful About the Future? 557. When Have You Reinvented Yourself? 558. What Work Went Into Reaching Your Most Difficult Goals? 559. Is Struggle Essential to Happiness? 560. How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’? 561. What Do You Gain From Pursuing Something You Do Really, Really Badly? 562. When Was the Last Time You Did Something That Scared or Challenged You? 563. What Are You Afraid Of? 564. What Are Your Fears and Phobias? 565. What Are Your Personal Superstitions? 566. Do You Like Being Alone? 567. How Often Do You Cry? 568. Do You Ever Feel Overlooked and Underappreciated? 569. How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’? 570. How Do You Deal With Haters? 571. How Do You React When Provoked? 572. What Good Can Come from Disagreements? 573. When Should You Compromise? 574. Have You Ever Changed Your Mind About a Hot-Button Issue? 575. What Role Does Stress Play in Your Life? 576. Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions? 577. How Do You Relieve Stress? 578. How Important Is Keeping Your Cool? 579. Is ‘Be Yourself’ Bad Advice? 580. Do People Complain Too Much? 581. What’s Your Favorite Mood Booster? 582. How Do You Find Peace in Your Life? 583. Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax? 584. Do You Set Rules for Yourself About How You Use Your Time? 585. What Did You Once Hate but Now Like? 586. What Kind of Feedback Helps You Improve? 587. Is Trying Too Hard to Be Happy Making You Sad? 588. Does Achieving Success Always Include Being Happy? 589. Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse? 590. Have You Ever Felt Pressured by Family or Others in Making an Important Decision About Your Future?

Your Personality

591. What Makes You Happy? 592. What Motivates You? 593. What Are You Good At? 594. What Is Your Personal Credo? 595. When in Your Life Have You Been a Leader? 596. Are You More of a Leader or a Follower? 597. Do Great Leaders Have to Be Outgoing? 598. How Well Do You Perform Under Pressure? 599. How Well Do You Take Criticism? 600. Are You Hard or Easy on Yourself? 601. How Full Is Your Glass? 602. Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions? 603. How Much Self-Control Do You Have? 604. How Good Are You at Waiting for What You Really Want? 605. What Role Does Procrastination Play in Your Life? 606. How Good Are You at Time Management? 607. What Kind of Time Management Skills Are You Learning from the Adults in Your Life? 608. How Do You Remember What You Need to Remember? 609. How Productive and Organized Are You? 610. Under What Conditions Do You Do Your Best Work? 611. How Do You Express Yourself Creatively? 612. Can Creativity Be Scheduled? 613. Are You a Good Listener? 614. When and For What Reasons Do You Seek Silence? 615. Are You a Perfectionist? 616. How Competitive Are You? 617. Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating? 618. Has Modesty Ever Prevented You From Celebrating an Achievement? 619. How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? 620. How Stoic Are You? 621. How Do You Cope With Grief? 622. How Good Are You at Saying Goodbye? 623. Do You Take More Risks When You Are Around Your Friends? 624. Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure? 625. Have You Ever Felt Pressured to Betray Your Beliefs? 626. How Easy — or Hard — Is It for You to Say No When You Want To? 627. How Do You Handle Fear? 628. Do You Think You’re Brave? 629. How Much of a Daredevil Are You? 630. What Activities Make You Feel Most Alive? 631. What Pranks, Jokes, Hoaxes or Tricks Have You Ever Fallen For or Perpetrated? 632. How Impulsive Are You? 633. Are You a Novelty-Seeker? 634. How Do You Deal With Boredom? 635. How Often Do You Talk to Yourself? 636. What Annoys You? 637. Do You Apologize Too Much? 638. Do You Know How to Say ‘I’m Sorry?’ 639. Do You Have Good Manners? 640. How Materialistic Are You? 641. Are You a Saver or a Tosser? 642. Are You a Hoarder or a Minimalist? 643. Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert? 644. Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist? 645. Are You a Nerd or a Geek? 646. What Would Your Personal Mascot Be? 647. What Assumptions Do People Make About You? 648. How Strong Is Your Sense of Smell? 649. What Animal Are You Most Like?

Religion & Morality

650. What Is the Role of Religion or Spirituality in Your Life? 651. How Important Is Your Spiritual Life? 652. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason? 653. How Much Control Do You Think You Have Over Your Fate? 654. Can You Be Good Without God? 655. Are You Less Religious Than Your Parents? 656. Can You Pass a Basic Religion Test? 657. What Can You Learn From Other Religions? 658. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason? 659. How Important Do You Think It Is to Marry Someone With the Same Religion? 660. How Trustworthy Are You? 661. How Comfortable Are You With Lying? 662. When Do You Lie? 663. Have You Ever Lied to Your Parents or Done Something Behind Their Backs? 664. Can You Spot a Liar? 665. What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced? 666. Have You Ever Had to Make a Sacrifice to Help Someone You Care About? 667. Have You Ever Donated Your Time, Talents, Possessions or Money to Support Anyone in Need? 668. When Is the Last Time You Did Something Nice for a Stranger? 669. Do Bystanders Have a Responsibility to Intervene When There is Trouble? 670. Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations? 671. Have You Ever ‘Paid It Forward’? 672. Can Kindness Become Cool? 673. What Acts of Kindness Have You Witnessed or Participated In? 674. Is Teenage ‘Voluntourism’ Wrong? 675. Have You Ever Taken Something You Weren’t Supposed To? 676. When Is Looting Morally O.K.? 677. Do You Ever Eavesdrop? 678. How Much Do You Gossip?

Role Models

679. Who Are the People – Famous or Not – You Admire Most? 680. Who Are Your Heroes? 681. What Is a Hero? 682. Do We Need More Diverse Superheroes? 683. Who Is Your Role Model? 684. Who Inspires You? 685. What Makes Someone a Great Leader? 686. What Acts of Bravery Have You Witnessed? 687. What’s the Best Advice You’ve Gotten? 688. What Are Some ‘Words of Wisdom’ That Guide Your Life? 689. Who Outside Your Family Has Made a Difference in Your Life? 690. If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview? 691. To Whom, or What, Would You Like to Write a Thank-You Note? 692. What Leader Would You Invite to Speak at Your School? 693. What Six People, Living or Dead, Would You Invite to Dinner? 694. Who’s Your ‘Outsider Role Model’?

695. Have You Ever Been Told You Couldn’t Do Something Because of Your Gender? 696. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters? 697. How Do Your Parents Share the Responsibilities of Parenting? 698. How Do Male and Female Roles Differ in Your Family? 699. Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist? 700. What Does Feminism Mean to You? 701. What Have You Learned From the Women in Your Life? 702. What Experiences Have You Had With Gender Bias in School? 703. Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys? 704. Why Do Boys Lag Behind Girls in Reading? 705. Does Separating Boys and Girls Help Students Perform Better in School? 706. Is Single-Sex Education Still Useful? 707. What Does it Mean to Be ‘a Real Man’? 708. Do We Need to Teach Boys and Men to Be More Emotionally Honest? 709. What Have Been Your Experiences With Catcalling or Other Kinds of Street Harassment? 710. What Should We Do to Fight Sexual Violence Against Young Women? 711. How Should the Problem of Sexual Assault on Campuses Be Addressed? 712. What Is Your Reaction to the #MeToo Movement? 713. Why Aren’t There More Girls in Leadership Roles? 714. Do Professional Women Need a ‘Girls’ Lounge’? 715. Why Aren’t More Girls Choosing to Pursue Careers in Math and Science? 716. Why Aren’t More Girls Pursuing Careers in Computing and Tech Fields? 717. Now That Women Can Serve in All Combat Roles in the U.S. Military, Should They Also Be Required to Register for the Draft? 718. Do Female Athletes Get Short Shrift? 719. Should Sports Be Coed? 720. Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed? 721. Do You Believe in Equal Rights for Women and Men? 722. Does the U.S. Constitution Need an Equal Rights Amendment? 723. Is It Harder Being a Girl? 724. Do We Need New Ways to Identify Gender and Sexuality? 725. Should Toys Be More Gender-Neutral? 726. Should There Be More Boy Dolls? 727. What Rules Should Apply to Transgender Athletes When They Compete? 728. Are Women Better at Compromising and Collaborating? 729. Do Boys Have Less Intense Friendships Than Girls?

Race & Ethnicity

730. Is America ‘Backsliding’ on Race? 731. Why Is Race So Hard to Talk About? 732. How Often Do You Interact With People of Another Race or Ethnicity? 733. Do You Ever Talk About Issues of Race and Class With Your Friends? 734. What Is Your Racial and Ethnic Identity? 735. Have You Ever Tried to Hide Your Racial or Ethnic Identity? 736. Have You Experienced Racism or Other Kinds of Discrimination in School? 737. Is Your Generation Really ‘Postracial’? 738. What’s the Racial Makeup of Your School? 739. Does Your School Seem Integrated? 740. Should Schools Strive for Racial Diversity Among Teachers? 741. How Should Parents Teach Their Children About Race and Racism? 742. Is ‘Black Panther’ a ‘Defining Moment’ for the United States — and Particularly for Black America?

Your Neighborhood & Home

743. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are? 744. What’s Special About Your Hometown? 745. What Marketing Slogan Would You Use for Your Town or City? 746. What Would You Name Your Neighborhood? 747. Who Are the ‘Characters’ That Make Your Town Interesting? 748. Who Is the ‘Mayor’ of Your School or Neighborhood? 749. What Do the Types of Dogs in Your Neighborhood Say About Where You Live? 750. What Would a TV Show About Your Town Spoof? 751. What ‘Urban Legends’ Are There About Places in Your Area? 752. Do You Know Your Way Around Your City or Town? 753. How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors? 754. What Is Your Favorite Place? 755. What’s Your Favorite Neighborhood Joint? 756. What Is Your Favorite Street? 757. Do You Hang Out in the Park? 758. How Much Time Do You Spend in Nature? 759. How Do You Get Your Nature Fix? 760. What Small Things Have You Seen and Taken Note Of Today? 761. What Buildings Do You Love? What Buildings Do You Hate? 762. What Are the Sounds That Make Up the Background Noise in Your Life? 763. What Sounds Annoy You? 764. What Public Behavior Annoys You Most? 765. Have You Ever Interacted With the Police? 766. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve? 767. What Ideas Do You Have for Enhancing Your Community? 768. Where Do You Think You Will Live When You Are an Adult? 769. Do You Think That in Your 20s You Will Live in a City? 770. Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country? 771. Do You Think You Might Like Communal Living When You’re an Adult? 772. What Would Your Ideal City Look Like? 773. What City or Town Most Captures Your Imagination? 774. Would You Want a Bike Share Program for Your Community? 775. Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare? 776. What is Your Favorite Place in Your House? 777. What’s Your Favorite Room? 778. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House? 779. Do You Need to De-Clutter Your Life? 780. Does Keeping a Messy Desk Make People More Creative? 781. Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future? 782. With Your Home in Danger, What Would You Try to Save? 783. What Would You Grab in a Fire? 784. What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’? 785. Who Lived Long Ago Where You Live Now? 786. What Would Your Dream Home Be Like?

Money & Social Class

787. What Are Your Expectations About Earning, Saving and Spending Money? 788. What Choices Do You Make About Money Every Day? 789. Are You a Saver or a Spender? 790. What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money? 791. Do You Expect Your Parents to Give You Money? 792. How Much Financial Help Do You Expect From Your Parents in the Future? 793. How Important a Role Has Money, Work or Social Class Played in Your Life? 794. Do You See Great Disparities of Wealth in Your Community? 895. Is It Possible to Start Out Poor in This Country, Work Hard and Become Well-Off? 896. Should Rich People Have to Pay More Taxes? 897. Do We Need a Higher Minimum Wage? 898. Can Money Buy You Happiness? 899. Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier? 800. What Are the Best Things in Life and Are They Free? 801. What Causes Should Philanthropic Groups Finance? 802. Should Charities Focus More on America? 803. What Organizations Do You Think People Should Give to This Holiday Season? 804. Whom, or What, Would You Want to Help With a Crowdfunding Campaign? 805. Do Poor People ‘Have It Easy’? 806. Should People Give Money to Panhandlers? 8

807. What Would You Do if You Won the Lottery? 808. What Superpower Do You Wish You Had? 809. What Era Do You Wish You Had Lived In? 810. Would You Want to Be a Tween or Teen Star? 811. Would You Want to Be a Child Prodigy? 812. Would You Want to Grow Up in the Public Eye? 813. What Kind of Robot Would You Want? 814. What Fantasy Invention Would You Want to Exist in Reality? 815. What Would You Outsource if You Could? 816. What Would You Like to Learn on Your Own? 817. What Would You Be Willing to Wait in a Really Long Line For? 818. If You Were a Super Rich Philanthropist, What Causes Would You Support? 819. What Would You Do if You Were President? 820. What Famous Person Would You Like to Visit Your School? 821 Who Would Be the Ideal Celebrity Neighbor? 822. What Do You Want to Be Doing When You’re 80? 823. Do You Want to Live to 100? 824. What Do You Want Your Obituary to Say? 825. What Do You Want to Be Known for After Your Death? 826. Would You Like to Be Cryogenically Preserved (Frozen!) Upon Your Death? 827. If the World Was Ending, What Would You Want to Say? 828. What Items Would You Place in a Time Capsule for Future Generations?

Social Life & Leisure Time

829. Do You Spend Enough Time With Other People? 830. How Often Do You Spend One-on-One Time With Your Closest Friends? 831. Do You Have a Best Friend? 832. Do You Find It Easier to Make New Friends Online or In Person? 833. How Good a Friend Are You? 834. Do You Like Your Friends? 835. What Fads Are You and Your Friends Into Right Now? 836. How Have You Helped a Friend in a Time of Need? 837. Do You Have Any Unlikely Friendships? 838. How Do You Feel About Introducing Friends from Different Parts of Your Life? 839. Do You Ever ‘Mix It Up’ and Socialize With Different People at School? 840. Is Competitiveness an Obstacle to Making or Keeping Friendships? 841. How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship? 842. Have You Ever Felt Left Out?

Dating & Sex

843. Have You Ever Been in Love? 844. What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Who Just Started Dating? 845. Are You Allowed to Date? 846. Is Dating a Thing of the Past? 847. How Do You Think Technology Affects Dating? 848. What Are the Basic ‘Rules’ for Handling Breakups? 849. What’s the Best Way to Get Over a Breakup? 850. What’s the Best Way to Heal a Broken Heart? 851. What Are the Most Meaningful Relationships in Your Life? 852. What Are Your Beliefs About Marriage? 853. Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage? 854. Should Your Significant Other Be Your Best Friend? 855. Could Following These Directions Make You Fall in Love With a Stranger? 856. How Should Children Be Taught About Puberty and Sex? 857. Is Hookup Culture Leaving Your Generation Unhappy and Unprepared for Love? 858. Are Affirmative Consent Rules a Good Idea? 859. Should Birth Control Pills Be Available to Teenage Girls Without a Prescription? 860. Should the Morning-After Pill Be Sold Over the Counter to People Under 17? 861. How Big of a Problem Is Sexting? 862. What Advice Should Parents and Counselors Give Teenagers About Sexting? 863. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography? 864. Do You Think Porn Influences the Way Teenagers Think About Sex? 865. How Did You Learn About Sex?

Looks & Fashion

866. Are Models Too Skinny? 867. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies? 868. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body? 869. Have You Inherited Your Parents’ Attitudes Toward Their Looks? 870. Has Anyone Ever Said That You Look Like Someone Famous? 871. What Is Your All-Time Favorite Piece of Clothing? 872. Do You Have a Signature Clothing Item? 873. What’s Your Favorite T-Shirt? 874. Do You Care What You Wear? 875. Does What You Wear Say Anything About You as a Person? 876. Should You Always Have the Right to Wear What You Want? 877. What Does Your Hairstyle Say About You? 878. What’s on Your Fashion Shopping List? 879. Are You a Sneaker Head? 880. How Far Would You Go for Fashion? 881. Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing? 882. What Are the Hot Fashion Trends at Your School Right Now? 883. What Current Trends Annoy You? 884. Do ‘Saggy Pants’ Mean Disrespect? 885. Would You Ever Consider Getting a Tattoo? 886. Who Should Decide Whether a Teenager Can Get a Tattoo or Piercing? 887. What Are Your Opinions on Cosmetic Surgery? 888. Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks? 889. Doctored Photos: O.K. or Not? 890. How Important Is It to Be Attractive in Our Society?

Meals & Food

891. What Foods Bring Up Special Memories for You? 892. What Are the Most Memorable Meals You’ve Ever Had? 893. What’s Your Favorite Holiday Food Memory? 894. What’s Your Comfort Food? 895. What Are Your Favorite Junk Foods? 896. What’s Your Favorite Candy? 897. What’s Your Favorite Sandwich? 898. What Convenience Foods Make You Happy? 899. Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been, a Picky Eater? 900. What Are Your ‘Food Rules’? 901. What Messages About Food and Eating Have You Learned From Your Family? 902. How Often Does Your Family Eat Together? 903. How Much Food Does Your Family Waste? 904. Have You Ever Experienced Food Insecurity? 905. Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day? 906. Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’? 907. What Food Would You Like to Judge in a Taste-Off? 908. Do You Cook? 909. What Would You Most Like to Learn to Cook or Bake? 910. What Do You Eat During the School Day? 911. Do You Eat Cafeteria Food? 912. Is School Lunch Really All That Bad? 913. Do You Think a Healthier School Lunch Program Is a Lost Cause? 914. Should French Fries and Pizza Sauce Count as Vegetables? 915. Are Your Eating Habits Healthy? 916. How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From? 917. Is It Ethical to Eat Meat? 918. Do You Pay Attention to Calorie Counts for Food? 919. Do You Pay Attention to Nutrition Labels on Food? 920. Should Sugary Drinks Be Taxed? 921. Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks? 922. Should Teenagers Think Twice Before Downing Energy Drinks? 923. Do You Eat Too Quickly? 924. Are Manners Important? 925. What Are Your Favorite Restaurants? 926. What Restaurant Would You Most Like to Review? 927. How Long Is It O.K. to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant? 928. Should Restaurants Do Away With Tipping?

Sports & Games

929. What’s the Most Impressive Sports Moment You’ve Seen? 930. Who Is Your Favorite Athlete, and Why? 931. Who Are Your Sports Heroes? 932. What Sports Teams Do You Root For? 933. When Has a Sports Team Most Disappointed You? 934. Do You Participate in March Madness? 935. Does Being a Fan Help Define Who You Are? 936. How Far Would You Go to Express Loyalty to Your Favorite Teams? 937. How Much Should Fans Be Allowed to Distract Opposing Teams? 938. What Fan Memorabilia Would You Pay Big Bucks For? 939. Are You a Fair-Weather Fan? 940. Are You a Football Fan? 941. Do You Watch the Super Bowl? 942. Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football? 943. Should High Schools Drop Football Because Too Many Players Are Getting Injured? 944. If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It? 945. Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense? 946. Does a Championship Game Always Need to Have a Winner (and a Loser)? 947. Should There Be Stricter Rules About How Coaches Treat Their Players? 948. Do Fans Put Too Much Pressure on Their Favorite Professional Athletes? 949. Does Better Sports Equipment Unfairly Improve Athletic Ability? 950. Should Technology in Sports Be Limited? 951. What Extreme Sports Interest You Most? 952. Are Some Extreme Sports Too Extreme? 953. Is Cheerleading a Sport? 954. Should Cheerleading Be an Olympic Sport? 955. Has Baseball Lost Its Cool? 956. Do Sports Teams Have a Responsibility to Hold Players to a Standard for Their Personal Conduct? 957. Should Athletes Who Dope Have to Forfeit Their Titles and Medals? 958. How Big a Deal Is It That an N.B.A. Player Came Out as Gay? 959. Should Women’s Basketball Lower the Rims? 960. Should College Football Players Get Paid? 961. Should Colleges Fund Wellness Programs Instead of Sports? 962. Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights? 963. Is ‘Redskins’ an Offensive Name for a Team? 964. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots? 965. What Are Your Thoughts on Sports Betting? 966. Should Sports Betting Be Legal Everywhere? 967. How Young Is Too Young to Climb Mount Everest? 968. Should Girls and Boys Sports Teams Compete in the Same League? 969. Why Do You Play Sports? 970. What Kinds of Games and Puzzles Do You Like? 971. Do You Enjoy Playing Games or Solving Puzzles? 972. What Are Your Favorite Board Games? 973. What Are Your Favorite Games? 974. What Rules Would You Like to See Changed in Your Favorite Sports? 975. How Would You Change Your Favorite Sport? 976. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?

977. Where Do You Want to Travel? 978. What Is Your Fantasy Vacation? 979. What Would Your Fantasy Road Trip Be Like? 980. What Crazy Adventure Would You Want to Take? 981. What Local ‘Microadventures’ Would You Like to Go On? 982. How Would You Spend Your Ideal Family Vacation? 983. How Has Travel Affected You? 984. What Kind of Tourist Are You? 985. What Are the Best Souvenirs You’ve Ever Collected While Traveling? 986. What Famous Landmarks Have You Visited? 987. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in Nature? 988. What Do You Think You Would Learn From Traveling to All 50 States? 989. How Much Do You Know About the Rest of the World? 990. Would You Like to Live in Another Country? 991. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist? 992. If You Could Time-Travel, Where Would You Go? 993. How Good Is Your Sense of Direction?

Holidays & Seasons

994. How Do You Celebrate Your Birthday? 995. Should the United States Celebrate Columbus Day? 996. A Short Fall Break, but What Should We Call It? 997. Will You Be Wearing a Halloween Costume This Year? 998. When Does a Halloween Costume Cross the Line? 999. Should Halloween Costumes Portray Only ‘Positive Images’? 1,000. Dressing Up Like Creepy Clowns: Freedom of Expression or Public Nuisance? 1,001. Do You Like Scary Movies and Books? 1,002. What Is the Scariest Story You Have Ever Heard? 1,003. Do You Believe in Ghosts? 1,004. Do You Believe in Astrology? 1,005. What Are Your Thanksgiving Traditions? 1,006. Will Your Family Members Disagree With Each Other About Politics This Thanksgiving? 1,007. What Has Been Your Most Memorable Thanksgiving? 1,008. What Do You Look Forward to Most – and Least – During the Holiday Season? 1,009. What Are Your Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season? 1,010. How Will You Spend the Holiday Break? 1,011. What Does Santa Claus Mean to You? 1,012. Do You Look Forward to New Year’s Eve? 1,013. Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions? 1,014. How Do You Fight the Winter Blues? 1,015. What Would You Do on a Snow Day? 1,016. What Are Your Experiences With Severe Weather? 1,017. How Do You Feel About Valentine’s Day? 1,018. How Do You Celebrate Spring? 1,019. What Would Your Fantasy Spring Break Be Like? 1,020. What Are You Looking Forward to This Summer? 1,021. What Would Your Ideal Summer Camp Be Like? 1,022. What Are Your Favorite Summer Hangouts? 1,023. What’s Your Favorite Summer Food? 1,024. What Is Your Favorite Summer Movie? 1,025. What’s on Your Summer Reading List? 1,026. Do You Have a Summer Job? 1,027. What Did This Summer Teach You? 1,028. Do You Choose Summer Activities to Look Good on Applications? 1,029. What Are the Best Things You Did This Summer? 1,030. How Do You Prepare to Go Back to School? 1,031. How Can People Make the Most of Long Holiday Weekends? 1,032. What’s Your Sunday Routine? 1,033. What Work, Sport or Pastime Do You Like to Do at Night? 1,034. Would Life Be Better Without Time Zones?

Shopping & Cars

1,035. Do You Ever Hang Out at the Mall? 1,036. How Would You Make Over Your Mall? 1,037. Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses? 1,038. What’s Your Favorite Store? 1,039. To What Company Would You Write a Letter of Complaint or Admiration? 1,040. To What Business Would You Like to Give Advice? 1,041. Do Politics Ever Influence How or Where You Shop? 1,042. Do Companies Have a Responsibility to Contribute Positively to Society? 1,043. Should We Think Twice Before Buying Online? 1,044. Is Amazon Becoming Too Powerful? 1,045. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews? 1,046. Should Companies Collect Information About You? 1,047. Could You Stop Shopping for an Entire Year? 1,048. What Are the Best Things You’ve Acquired Secondhand? 1,049. Did You Take Part in Any Post-Thanksgiving Shopping? 1,050. What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start? 1,051. How Important Is It to Have a Driver’s License? 1,052. Are You a Good Driver? 1,053. Do You Have a Dream Car? 1,054. Would You Like to Ride in a Car That Drives Itself? 1,055. Should Distracted Driving Be Punished Like Drinking and Driving? 1,056. Should Texting While Driving Be Illegal in Every State? 1,057. Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers? 1,058. If Teenagers Are Such Bad Drivers, Should They Be Allowed to Drive? 1,059. Are Self-Driving Vehicles the Wave of the Future?

Science & Health

Science & Environment

1,060. How Green Are You? 1,061. How Do You Try to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment? 1,062. Do You Ever Feel Guilty About What, or How Much, You Throw Away? 1,063. What Could You Live Without? 1,064. Should Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags Be Banned? 1,065. What Are Your Thoughts About Wind Power? 1,066. Do We Crank Up the A.C. Too High? 1,067. How Concerned Are You About Climate Change? 1,068. How Should Nations and Individuals Address Climate Change? 1,069. If You Were President, What Would You Do About Climate Change? 1,070. Should Schools Teach About Climate Change? 1,071. How Do You Celebrate Earth Day? 1,072. Should Developers Be Allowed to Build in and Near the Grand Canyon? 1,073. Should Scientists Try to Help People Beat Old Age So We Can Live Longer Lives? 1,074. Should Extinct Animals Be Resurrected? If So, Which Ones? 1,075. How Do You Think Dinosaurs Went Extinct? 1,076. Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate? 1,077. What Are the Five Greatest Inventions of All Time? 1,078. What Would You Invent to Make the World a Better Place? 1,079. When Is It O.K. to Replace Human Limbs With Technology? 1,080. Should Fertilized Eggs Be Given Legal ‘Personhood’? 1,081. Do You Think Life Exists — or Has Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth? 1,082. Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life? 1,083. Will Humans Live on Mars Someday? 1,084. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist? 1,085. What Would You Name a New Star or Planet?

Animals & Pets

1,086. How Do You Feel About Zoos? 1,087. Do Gorillas Belong in Zoos? 1,088. Is It Unethical for a Zoo to Kill a Healthy Giraffe? 1,089. Should Farm Animals Have More Legal Protections? 1,090. Is It Wrong to Focus on Animal Welfare When Humans Are Suffering? 1,091. Is It Ethical to Genetically Engineer Animals? 1,092. When Is Animal Testing Justified? 1,093. Should Certain Animals Have Some of the Same Legal Rights As People? 1,094. Should Circuses Be Animal Free? 1,095. Is This Exhibit Animal Cruelty or Art? 1,096. Should You Go to Jail for Kicking a Cat? 1,097. Should You Feel Guilty About Killing Spiders, Ants or Other Bugs? 1,098. Should Emotional Support Animals Be Allowed on College Campuses? 1,099. Are Emotional-Support Animals a Scam? 1,100. What Are the Animals in Your Life? 1,101. What’s Your Relationship Like With Your Pet? 1,102. How Well Do You Know Your Pet? 1,103. Should We Be Concerned With Where We Get Our Pets? 1,104. What Does a President’s Choice of Pet — or Choice Not to Have a Pet at All — Say About Him? 1,105. What Have You Learned From Animals? 1,106. What Are Your Thoughts on Cats? 1,107. Would You Want to Hang Out at a Cat Cafe? 1,108. Why Do We Love Watching Animal Videos So Much? 1,109. What Are Your Most Memorable Stories About Wildlife?

Exercise & Health

1,110. Do You Like to Exercise? 1,111. Do You Get Enough Exercise? 1,112. How Has Exercise Changed Your Health, Your Body or Your Life? 1,113. How Much Do You Think About Your Weight? 1,114. How Often Do You Engage in ‘Fat Talk’? 1,115. What Are Your Healthy Habits? 1,116. What Health Tips Have Worked for You? 1,117. What Rules Do You Have for Staying Healthy? 1,118. What Habits Do You Have, and Have You Ever Tried to Change Them? 1,119. Do You Have Any Bad Health Habits? 1,120. How Careful Are You in the Sun? 1,121. Do We Worry Too Much About Germs? 1,122. How Well Do You Sleep? 1,123. What Are Your Sleep Habits? 1,124. How Much of a Priority Do You Make Sleep? 1,125. Do You Get Enough Sleep? 1,126. Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered? 1,127. Should the Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco Be Raised From 18 to 21? 1,128. Should E-Cigarettes Be Banned for Teenagers? 1,129. Do You Vape? Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers? 1,130. Are Antismoking Ads Effective? 1,131. Should Marijuana Be Legal? 1,132. Should Students Be Required to Take Drug Tests? 1,133. Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested? 1,134. How Common Is Drug Use in Your School? 1,135. If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know? 1,136. Is Your School a ‘Party School’? 1,137. Have You Been To Parties That Have Gotten Out of Control? 1,138. Why Is Binge Drinking So Common Among Young People in the United States? 1,139. Should Universities Work to Curtail Student Drinking? 1,140. Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?

Civics & History

Guns & the Justice System

1,141. What Are Some Answers to America’s Gun Violence? 1,142. What Should Lawmakers Do About Guns and Gun Violence? 1,143. Can High School Students Make a Real Impact on the Problem of Gun Violence in the United States? 1,144. What Do You Think of the #WalkUpNotOut Movement? 1,145. How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings? 1,146. Are We Becoming ‘Numb’ to School Shootings? 1,147. Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School? 1,148. Should Teachers Be Armed With Guns? 1,149. Should Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses? 1,150. Would Arming College Students Help Prevent Sexual Assaults on Campus? 1,151. Where Do You Stand on Unconcealed Handguns? 1,152. What Is Your Relationship With Guns? 1,153. What Should Be the Purpose of Prison? 1,154. Should Prisons Offer Incarcerated People Education Opportunities? 1,155. Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote After They Have Served Their Time? 1,156. Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty? 1,157. What Do You Think of the Police Tactic of Stop-and-Frisk? 1,158. When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences? 1,159. Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law? 1,160. Should All Police Officers Wear Body Cameras? 1,161. Should Prostitution Be Legal? 1,162. Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal in Every State? 1,163. Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed to Die on Their Own Terms?

Government Policy

1,164. How Strong Is Your Faith in American Democracy? 1,165. Is America Headed in the Right Direction? 1,166. What Do American Values Mean to You? 1,167. Do You Think It Is Important for Teenagers to Participate in Political Activism? 1,168. How Would You Like to Help Our World? 1,169. What Cause Would Get You Into the Streets? 1,170. Have Your Ever Taken Part in a Protest? 1,171. What Would You Risk Your Life For? 1,172. When Have You Spoken Out About Something You Felt Had to Change? 1,173. Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16? 1,174. Should Voting Be Mandatory? 1,175. Does Voting for a Third-Party Candidate Mean Throwing Away Your Vote? 1,176. Do You Consider Yourself a Republican, Democrat or Independent? 1,177. If You Were Governor of Your State, How Would You Spend a Budget Surplus? 1,178. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve? 1,179. Should the United States Care That It’s Not No. 1? 1,180. Do You Trust Your Government? 1,181. What Do You Think of President Trump’s Use of Twitter? 1,182. What Do You Think the Role of the First Lady — or First Spouse — Should Be Today? 1,183. What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security? 1,184. When Is the Use of Military Force Justified? 1,185. When Should Countries Negotiate With Their Traditional Enemies? 1,186. Should the U.S. Be Spying on Its Friends? 1,187. Should Countries Pay Ransoms to Free Hostages Held by Terrorists? 1,188. What Responsibility Do We Have to Take In Refugees From Global Humanitarian Crises? 1,189. Should Millions of Undocumented Immigrants Be Allowed to Live in the U.S. Without Fear of Getting Deported? 1,190. Should the Government Allow ‘Dreamers’ to Stay in the U.S. Without Fear of Being Deported? 1,191. Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education? 1,192. What Do We Owe Our Veterans?

History & News

1,193. What Event in the Past Do You Wish You Could Have Witnessed? 1,194. What Are the Most Important Changes, in Your Life and in the World, in the Last Decade? 1,195. What National or International Events That You Lived Through Do You Remember Best? 1,196. What Famous Figure From the Past Fascinates You Most? 1,197. What Does Dr. King’s Legacy Mean to You? 1,198. Who Do You Think Has Been ‘Overlooked’ By History? 1,199. What Recent Events Will Most Likely Be Featured in History Museums Someday? 1,200. Why Should We Care About Events in Other Parts of the World? 1,201. What News Stories Are You Following? 1,202. How Do You Get Your News? 1,203. Are You Having More Conversations With Friends and Family About Politics? 1,204. What Is Your Reaction to the Recent Flood of Breaking Political News? 1,205. Do You Ever Get the ‘Bad News Blues’? 1,206. Are We Being Bad Citizens If We Don’t Keep Up With the News? 1,207. Is Your Online World Just a ‘Filter Bubble’ of People With the Same Opinions? 1,208. Do Your Friends on Social Media All Have the Same Political Opinions You Do? 1,209. How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True? 1,210. Do You Think You Can Tell When Something Is ‘Fake News’? 1,211. Do You Believe in Online Conspiracy Theories? 1,212. What Are Your Experiences With Internet-Based Urban Legends? 1,213. Are Political Memes Dangerous to Democracy? 1,214. Should National Monuments Be Protected by the Government? 1,215. Should Confederate Statues Be Removed or Remain in Place? 1,216. What Supreme Court Cases, Now or in the Past, Interest You Most? 1,217. Should Free Speech Protections Include Self Expression That Discriminates? 1,218. Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs? 1,219. What Will You Remember About President Obama and His Legacy?

Many of the questions above are still open to comment, though not all.

A few questions have been removed from this list since it was originally published.

Teachers, please let us know in the comments how you use this list, or any of our previous prompts lists, in your classes.

Module 1: Success Skills

Writing in college, learning objectives.

  • Describe effective methods for approaching different kinds of college writing assignments

The Importance of Writing in the Workplace

In 2010, a survey of employers conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 89 percent of employers say that colleges and universities should place more emphasis on “the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.” [1] It was the single-most favored skill in this survey.

In addition, several of the other valued skills are grounded in written communication:

  • “Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills” (81 percent)
  • “The ability to analyze and solve complex problems” (75 percent)
  • “The ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources” (68 percent).

This emphasis on communication probably reflects the changing reality of work. Employers also reported that employees will have to “take on more responsibilities,” “use a broader set of skills,” “work harder to coordinate with other departments,” face “more complex” challenges, and mobilize “higher levels of learning and knowledge.” [2]

The pay-off from improving your writing comes much sooner than graduation. Suppose you complete about 40 classes for a 120-credit bachelors’ degree, and—averaging across writing-intensive and non-writing-intensive courses—you produce about 2,500 words of formal writing per class. Even with that low estimate, you’ll write 100,000 words during your college career. That’s roughly equivalent to a 330-page book.

Spending a few hours sharpening your writing skills will make those 100,000 words much easier and more rewarding to write. Even your non-English professors care about and appreciate good writing.

Understanding the Assignment

There are four kinds of analysis you need to do in order to fully understand an assignment: determining its purpose, understanding how to answer an assignment’s questions, recognizing implied questions in the assignment, and recognizing the expectations of the assignment, which vary depending on the discipline and subject matter. Always make sure you fully understand an assignment before you start writing!

Determine the Purpose

The wording of an assignment should suggest its purpose. Any of the following might be expected of you in a college writing assignment:

  • Summarizing information
  • Analyzing ideas and concepts
  • Taking a position and defending it
  • Combining ideas from several sources and creating your own original argument.

Understand How to Respond

College writing assignments will ask you to answer a  how  or  why  question – questions that can’t be answered with just facts. For example, the question “ What  are the names of the presidents of the US in the last twenty years?” needs only a list of facts to be answered. The question “ Who  was the best president of the last twenty years and  why?”  requires you to take a position and support that position with evidence.

Sometimes, a list of prompts may appear with an assignment. Usually, your instructor will not expect you to answer all of the questions listed. They are simply offering you some ideas so that you can think of your own questions to ask.

Recognize Implied Questions

A prompt may not include a clear ‘how’ or ‘why’ question, though one is always implied by the language of the prompt. For example:

“Discuss the effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on special education programs” is asking you to write  how  the act has affected special education programs. “Consider the recent rise of autism diagnoses” is asking you to write  why  the diagnoses of autism are on the rise.

Getting Started

Before beginning the writing process, always establish the following:

  • Is there an assigned topic or are you free to choose your own?
  • What about your subject interests you?
  • Why is your subject worth reading about?
  • Double-check that your subject is not too broad – narrow it down if necessary.
  • Determine the purpose of the work.
  • Determine the readers of the work and their level of knowledge about the topic.
  • Determine where your evidence will come from.
  • Decide what kind of evidence would best serve your argument.
  • Identify the required style (MLA, APA, etc.) of the paper.
  • Be aware of length specifications.
  • Consider if visuals might be helpful in your paper.
  • Will someone be reviewing drafts of your paper? Who?
  • Note your deadline and how much time you have for each stage of the writing process.

This Assignment Calculator can help you plan ahead for your writing assignment. Just plug in the date you plan to get started and the date it is due, and it will help break it down into manageable chunks.

Recognize Expectations

Depending on the discipline in which you are writing, different features and formats of your writing may be expected. Always look closely at key terms and vocabulary in the writing assignment, and be sure to note what type of evidence and citations style your instructor expects.

A research Tip: Avoiding Plagiarism

All college classes will expect you to do your own work. Using another person’s words, images, or other original creations without giving proper credit is called plagiarism .

Oftentimes, as we prepare to address an assignment, we look at other material to help us with our thinking. This is research, and it’s a great thing! Professors always do research! When we do research to help us clarify our thinking, however, we need to be sure to acknowledge the sources that we have consulted and the ways in which our ideas have been influenced by others.

We use different citation guides (like APA and MLA) to format citations and lists of references. Sometimes students aren’t sure how to do these references correctly, and so they leave out the citations altogether. That’s never a good idea. Even if you aren’t sure how to create a perfect citation, always include references to all the material you’ve consulted. Otherwise, you could be committing plagiarism: taking someone else’s work (words and/or ideas) and presenting it as your own—the equivalent of cheating on a test. In order to be sure you don’t accidentally leave out a source, remember to keep track of what you consult as you begin research for a project or assignment.

The Writing Process

Have you ever received a writing assignment, thought “this won’t take long” and then stayed up all night writing the night before your assignment was due because it ended up taking a lot longer than you thought it would? If you have, you’re not alone. Many beginning writers struggle to plan well when it comes to a writing assignment, and this results in writing that is just not as good as it could be. When you wait until the last minute and fail to engage in every step of the writing process, you’re not doing your best work.

Writing itself is a process through which you ask questions; create, develop, hone, and organize ideas; argue a point; search for evidence to support your ideas…and so on. The point here is that writing really involves creative and critical thinking processes. Like any creative process, it often starts in a jumble as you develop, sort, and sift through ideas. But it doesn’t need to stay in disarray. Your writing will gain direction as you start examining those ideas. It just doesn’t happen all at once. Writing is a process that happens over time. And like any process, there are certain steps or stages.

Graphic labeled "The Writing Process." From left to right, they read: Topic, Prewrite, Evidence, Organize, Draft, Revise, Proofread.

Figure 1 . Writing is a recursive process, meaning that you will work through most of these steps, but not necessarily in this exact order, and revisit most of them throughout the process.

These are some of the major stages in a strong writing process:

  • Thinking about your assignment
  • Gathering information and evidence
  • Organizing and drafting
  • Revising and editing

The writing process is not linear, but recursive, meaning you will need to move forward through some steps and then circle back to redo previous steps. In other words, while we still think of writing as a process taking place in a series of steps, we now understand that good writers tend to switch frequently among the different steps as they work. An insight gained while editing one chapter might convince the writer that an additional chapter is needed; as a result, she might start another drafting phase—or even decide to divide one chapter into two or three, and begin reorganizing and developing new drafts.

In short, while it is very useful to think of writing as a process, the process is not a clear, always-the-same series of steps. Instead, it is a sometimes messy, forward-and-backward process in which you strive for simplicity but try to appeal to your audience, create but also organize, enjoy yourself, if possible, but also follow some rules, and eventually create a finished product that works.

Writing Through Fear

Writing is an activity that can cause occasional anxiety for anyone, even professional writers. Start early and use strategies, like those mentioned below, to help you work through the anxiety.

Writing Anxiety

The following essay about writing anxiety, by Hillary Wentworth, from the Walden Writing Center, offers insight about how to handle issues surrounding writer’s block:

I suppose fall is the perfect time to discuss fear. The leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer, and the kids are preparing ghoulish costumes and tricks for Halloween.

Decorative image.

Figure 2 . Don’t let fears get in the way of your writing assignment—there are tips and tools that can help!

So here’s my scary story: A few weeks ago, I sat down at my computer to revise an essay draft for an upcoming deadline. This is old hat for me; it’s what I do in my personal life as a creative writer, and it’s what I do in my professional life as a Walden Writing Center instructor. As I was skimming through it, though, a feeling of dread settled in my stomach, I began to sweat, and my pulse raced. I was having full-on panic. About my writing.

This had never happened to me before. Sure, I have been disappointed in my writing, frustrated that I couldn’t get an idea perfectly on paper, but not completely fear-stricken. I Xed out of the Word document and watched Orange Is the New Black on Netflix because I couldn’t look at the essay anymore. My mind was too clouded for anything productive to happen. The experience got me thinking about the role that fear plays in the writing process. Sometimes fear can be a great motivator. It might make us read many more articles than are truly necessary, just so we feel prepared enough to articulate a concept. It might make us stay up into the wee hours to proofread an assignment. But sometimes fear can lead to paralysis. Perhaps your anxiety doesn’t manifest itself as panic at the computer; it could be that you worry about the assignment many days—or even weeks—before it is due.

Here are some tips to help: 

  • Interrogate your fear . Ask yourself why you are afraid. Is it because you fear failure, success, or judgment? Has it been a while since you’ve written academically, and so this new style of writing is mysterious to you?
  • Write through it . We all know the best way to work through a problem is to confront it. So sit at your desk, look at the screen, and write. You might not even write your assignment at first. Type anything—a reflection on your day, why writing gives you anxiety, your favorite foods. Sitting there and typing will help you become more comfortable with the prospect of more.
  • Give it a rest . This was my approach. After realizing that I was having an adverse reaction, I called it quits for the day, which ultimately helped reset my brain.
  • Find comfort in ritual and reward . Getting comfortable with writing might involve establishing a ritual (a time of day, a place, a song, a warm-up activity, or even food or drink) to get yourself into the writing zone. If you accomplish a goal or write for a set amount of time, reward yourself.
  • Remember that knowledge is power. Sometimes the only way to assuage our fear is to know more. Perhaps you want to learn about the writing process to make it less intimidating. Check out the Writing Center’s website for tips and tutorials that will increase your confidence. You can also always ask your instructor questions about the assignment.
  • Break it down. If you feel overwhelmed about the amount of pages or the vastness of the assignment, break it up into small chunks. For example, write one little section of the paper at a time.
  • Buddy up. Maybe you just need someone with whom to share your fears—and your writing. Ask a classmate to be a study buddy or join an eCampus group.

Link to Learning

The writing centers at the  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  and the  University of Richmond , as well as the news site  Inside Higher Ed , also have helpful articles on writing anxiety.

  • Hart Research Associates. Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn . 20 Jan 2010, p. 9. ↵
  • Ibid., p. 5. ↵
  • The Writing Process Image. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Modification, adaptation, and original content. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Understanding the Assignment and Assessing the Writing Situation . Authored by : Robin Jeffrey. Located at : . Project : About Writing: A Guide. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Paragraph on recursive writing. Authored by : Marianne Botos, Lynn McClelland, Stephanie Polliard, Pamela Osback . Located at : . Project : Horse of a Different Color: English Composition and Rhetoric . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • The Writing Process. Authored by : Excelsior OWL. Located at : . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Really? Writing? Again?. Authored by : Amy Guptill. Provided by : The College at Brockport, SUNY Open Textbooks. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Writing Through Fear. Authored by : Hillary Wentworth. Provided by : Walden Writing Center. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
  • Image of tree. Authored by : Broo_am (Andy B). Located at : . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
  • Avoiding Plagiarism. Authored by : Cengage Learning. Located at : . Project : Open Now College Success. License : CC BY: Attribution

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