The eleventh edition of Steps to Writing Well has been written for teachers of composition who have had trouble finding a textbook that students can easily understand. Too many books on today’s market, these teachers rightfully complain, are still unnecessarily complex, dry, or massive for the majority of students. Written simply, in an informal style and addressed to the student, this textbook offers a step-by-step guide to writing a variety of 500-to-800-word essays. The combination of concise, practical advice, a number of student and professional samples, and a brief handbook should provide more than enough helpful information for students enrolled in a one-semester course, without intimidating them.
This edition continues the tradition of plentiful new artwork throughout the chapters, including over fifty paintings and photographs, many used as exercises and writing prompts for today’s visually oriented students. Two other features new to this edition also appear throughout the text. Because current research suggests that many students may improve their writing skills by working with classmates in small groups or pairs, this edition now offers over two dozen collaborative classroom activities and assignments, presented in every chapter of Parts One through Four. A new discussion of collaboration, with guidelines for small-group work, has been added to Chapter 5’s advice on peer editing workshops, to help students participate effectively in a larger variety of exercises. Both teachers and students may appreciate this edition’s helpful new design feature, a diamond-shaped crossreference symbol [◆] that will alert readers to related information (or additional practices) in other parts of the text.
Although many parts of the book have been revised or expanded for this edition, its organization remains essentially the same. Part One offers advice on “The Basics of the Short Essay”; Part Two discusses “Purposes, Modes, and Strategies”; Part Three focuses on “Special Assignments”; and Part Four presents “A Concise Handbook.” This textbook still begins with the essay “To the Student,” which not only argues that students can learn to write better with practice and dedication but also gives them a number of practical reasons why they should learn to write better.