The College Writer: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Researching

  • AUTHORS: Randall VanderMey; Verne Meyer; John Van Rys; Patrick Sebranek
  • ISBN-13: 9780495915850 
  • Grade(s): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
  • 752 Pages  Hardcover 
  • 4th Edition  |  Previous Editions: 2009, 2009, 2007
  • ©2012     Published
  • Prices are valid only in the respective region


About The Product

Combining streamlined basic writing instruction with outstanding accessibility, THE COLLEGE WRITER is a fully updated four-in-one text--with a Rhetoric, a Reader, a Researcher, and a Handbook--for students at any skill level. The clear visual “at-a-glance” format helps students grasp larger concepts by linking them to pertinent examples. Throughout the text, numerous student and professional writing samples highlight important features of academic writing--from voice to documentation--and offer models for students’ own papers. To save you time and engage learners, the fourth edition is accompanied by expanded technology resources that include a multimedia eBook with direct links to additional exercises; all-new English CourseMate featuring EngagementTracker; and Enhanced InSite, with online, streamlined peer review, originality checking, grademarking tools, and more.


  • THE COLLEGE WRITER provides students with a concise yet complete overview of the writing process. The text’s unique “at-a-glance” visual format presents each major concept in a one- or two-page spread, with a description of the concept followed by an example, and then the opportunity for hands-on practice, with writing assignments or practices exercises. A friendly, coaching tone develops students’ self-confidence as learners.
  • Writing with sources features are integrated into the writing-process chapters.
  • Critical thinking and critical viewing help students analyze and evaluate written and visual arguments.
  • The entire text is available as a multimedia eBook, featuring audio, video, exercises, models, and web links. The companion website, English CourseMate, offers additional exercises, assignments, videos, and more.
  • Throughout the text, the authors offer examples and discussion of writing for different disciplines as well as in different work contexts.
  • The Handbook covers key points of grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. These topics are reinforced by exercises both in the text and available online on CourseMate.
  • In addition to activities for individual thinking and writing, each chapter includes group projects or activities that facilitate collaborative learning.

About the Contributor

  • Randall VanderMey

    Randall VanderMey (Ph.D. University of Iowa, M.F.A. Iowa Writers' Workshop, M.A. University of Pennsylvania) is an associate professor in the Department of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He also has taught composition, literature, and technical writing at Iowa State University, Dordt College, and the University of Iowa. He is a contributing editor and creative consultant for Write Source. Dr. VanderMey has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards for his teaching and poetry. He has published two books of poems, GROWING SOUL: A SONG CYCLE, GOD TALK, and CHARM SCHOOL: FIVE WOMEN OF THE ODYSSEY, as well as a commissioned biography, MERIZON: THE GREAT JOURNEY.

  • Verne Meyer

    Dr. Verne Meyer is an educator and a businessperson. For nine years, he taught English in high schools in Michigan and Wisconsin; and for fifteen years, he taught dramatic literature, theatre history, and composition at Dordt College in Iowa. In 1977, with Pat Sebranek, Meyer cofounded Write Source Educational Publishing House, now a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Supplemental. A graduate of Calvin College (B.A.), Marquette University (M.A.), and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D.), Dr. Meyer has coauthored a number of texts for college students, including THE COLLEGE WRITER, THE COLLEGE WRITER'S HANDBOOK, COMP, THE BUSINESS WRITER, and WRITE FOR WORK. For students in grades 8 through 12, he coauthored WRITERS INC, SCHOOL TO WORK, WRITE FOR COLLEGE, and a number of Write Source textbooks. For businesspeople, he coauthored WRITE FOR BUSINESS and EFFECTIVE EMAIL MADE EZ. Dr. Meyer is currently a contributing editor for Write Source and UpWrite Press. He is also a featured speaker in the School Improvement Network's instructional videos, Writing Across the Curriculum.

  • John Van Rys

    John Van Rys (Ph.D. Dalhousie University, M.A./B.A. University of Western Ontario) has taught composition, business writing, creative writing, and literature courses to college students for more than twenty-five years. After spending fifteen years at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dr. Van Rys has been teaching as a full professor in the English Department at Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario, since 2005, where he also pursues scholarly work in Canadian literature. For over twenty years, he has worked on writing-across-the-curriculum theory and practice, on connections between workplace and academic writing, and on strategies for strengthening varied literacies in students (from reading to research to visual literacy). With Write Source Educational Publishing and Cengage Learning, he has coauthored writing handbooks for students from middle school to college. Dr. Van Rys also has coauthored an award-winning business-writing handbook for workplace professionals, WRITE FOR BUSINESS, with UpWrite Press.

  • Patrick Sebranek

    Patrick Sebranek (M.A. University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse) taught English, speech, and multimedia classes for sixteen years at Union Grove High School in Wisconsin. During that time, he served as the English department chair and worked on several district-wide projects, including a writing-across-the-curriculum program and a K-12 writing sequence. He has studied the works of James Moffett, Ken Macrorie, Linda Reif, Nancie Atwell, and many other contemporary educators dealing with writing and learning. Mr. Sebranek is an author and editorial director for the Write Source Educational Publishing House and works closely with teachers and educators on all new and revised handbooks and sourcebooks.

Table of Contents

Reading, Thinking, Viewing, and Writing.
1. Critical Thinking Through Reading, Viewing, and Writing.
2. Beginning the Writing Process.
3. Planning.
4. Drafting.
5. Revising.
6. Editing and Proofreading.
7. Submitting Writing and Creating Portfolios.
The College Essay.
8. One Writer’s Process.
Writing Across the Curriculum.
9. Forms of College Writing.
Three Curricular Divisions. Types of writing in Each Division. Traits of Writing Across the Curriculum.
Narrative, Descriptive, and Reflective Writing.
10. Narration, Description, and Reflection.
Reading Personal Essays. Brief Narratives: Anecdotes. Narration, Description, and Reflection. Model: “The Entymology of Village Life,” by Robert Minto. Model: “Spare Change,” by Teresa Zsuffa. Model: “When Dreams Take Flight,” by Elizabeth Fuller. Model: “Call Me Crazy, But I Have to Be Myself,” by Mary Seymour. Model: “The Muscle Mystique,” by Barbara Kingsolver. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
Analytical Writing.
11. Cause and Effect.
Reading Cause-Effect Writing. Cause and Effect. Model: “Dutch Discord,” by Brittany Korver. Model: “If You Let Me Play,” by Mary Brophy Marcus. Model: “The Legacy of Generation N,” by Christy Haubegger. Model: “Mind Over Mass Media,” by Steven Pinker. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
12. Comparison and Contrast.
Reading Comparison-Contrast Writing. Comparison and Contrast. Model: “Sethe in _Beloved_ and Orleanna in _Poisonwood Bible_,” by Rachel DeSmith. Model:
“Shrouded in Contradiction,” by Gelareh Asayesh. Model: “Shades of Prejudice,” by Shankar Vedantam. Model: “The Likeness Across the Atlantic,” by Peter Baldwin. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
13. Classification.
Reading Classification Essays. Classification. Model: “Latin American Music,” by Kathleen Kropp. Model: “Four Ways to Talk about Literature,” John Van Rys. Model: “Four Sides to Every Story,” by Stewart Brand. Model: “The Lion, the Witch, and the Metaphor,” by Jessica Siegel. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
14. Process.
Reading Process Writing. Process. Model: “Wayward Cells,” by Kerri Mertz. Model: “Downloading Photographs from the MC-150 Digital Camera” (from WFB). Model: “The End of Race as We Know It,” by Gerald L. Early. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
15. Definition.
Reading Definition Essays. Definition. Model: “Economic Disparities Fuel Human Trafficking,” by Shon Bogar. Model: “Deft or Daft,” by David Schelhaas. Model: “On Excellence,” by Cynthia Ozick. Model: “Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth,” by Simon L. Garfinkle. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
Persuasive Writing.
16. Strategies for Argumentation and Persuasion.
Building Persuasive Arguments. Preparing Your Argument. Making and Qualifying Claims. Supporting Your Claims. Identifying Logical Fallacies. Engaging the Opposition. Using Appropriate Appeals. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
17. Taking a Position.
Reading Position Essays. Taking a Position. Model: “Ah, the Power of Women,” by Aleah Stenberg. Model: “Nuclear is Not the Answer,” by Alyssa Woudstra. Model: “Animal, Vegetable, Miserable,” by Gary Steiner. Model: “Sorry, Vegans,” by Natalie Angier. Model: “Fatherless America,” by Daveid Blankenhorn. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
18. Persuading Readers to Act.
Reading Persuasive Essays. Persuading Readers to Act. Model: “Our Wealth,” by Henry Veldboom. Model: “I Have a Dream,” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Model: “In Africa, AIDS Has a Woman’s Face,” by Kofi Annan. Model: “Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?” by Barbara Ehrenreich. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
19. Proposing a Solution.
Reading Problem/Solution Essays. Proposing a Solution. Model: “Dream Act May Help Local Student Fight for Residence,” by Renee Wielenga. Model: “Preparing for Agroterror,” by Brian Ley. Model: “Uncle Sam and Aunt Samantha,” by Anna Quindlen. Model: “The Beckoning Silence,” by Paul Bignell. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
Report Writing.
20. Interview Report.
Reading Interview Reports. Interview Report. Model: “The Dead Business,” by Benjamin Meyer. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
21. Lab, Experiment, and Field Report.
Reading Science Writing. Experiment Report. Model: “The Effects of the Eastern Red Cedar on Seedlings and Implications for Allelopathy,” by Dana Kleckner, Brittany Korver, Nicolette Storm, and Adam Verhoef. Field Report. Model: “Investigation of Cockroach Infestation at 5690 Cherryhill,” by Hue Nguyen, Sandra Kao, Roger Primgarr, and Jauan Alexander. Writing Guidelines. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
Special Forms of Writing.
22. Writing About Literature and the Arts.
Reading About Literature and the Arts. Writing About a Short Story. Student Model: “‘Good Country People’: Broken Body, Broken Soul,” by Anya Terekhina. Writing About a Poem. Student Model: “‘Let Evening Come’: An Invitation to the Inevitable,” by Sherry Van Egdom. Writing About a Performance. Student Model: “Sigur Ros, Agaetis Byrjun,” by Annie Moore. Writing About a Film. Student Model: “Terror on the Silver Screen: Who Are the Aliens?” by David Schaap. Writing Guidelines. Literary Terms. Poetry Terms. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
23. Taking Essay Tests.
Reviewing for Tests. Forming a Study Group. Using Mnemonics and Other Memory Guides. Taking the Essay Test. Writing Under Pressure: The Essay Test Quick Guide. Taking an Objective Test. Tips for Coping with Test Anxiety.
24. Writing for the Workplace.
Writing the Business Letter. Writing Memos and E-mail. Applying for a Job. Preparing a Résumé.
25. Writing and Designing for the Web.
Webpage Elements and Functions. Developing a Website and Webpages. Writing for Different Internet Environments. Writing Checklist. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
26. Preparing Oral Presentations.
Organizing Your Presentation. Writing Your Presentation. Student Model: “Save Now or Pay Later,” by Burnette Sawyer. Developing Computer Presentations. Overcoming Stage Fright Checklist.
Research and Writing.
27. Getting Started: From Planning Research to Evaluating Sources.
28. Conducting Primary and Library Research.
29. Conducting Research on the Internet.
30. Drafting a Paper with Documented Research.
Avoiding Plagiarism. Avoiding Other Source Abuses. Organizing and Synthesizing Your Findings. Developing Your First Draft. Using Source Material in Your Writing. Critical-Thinking and Writing Activities. Learning-Outcomes Checklist.
Documentation and Format Styles.
31. MLA Documentation Format.
32. APA Documentation Format.
New exercises give students practice with punctuation, mechanics, usage, grammar, sentences, and trouble spots for English language learners!
Punctuation, Mechanics, Usage, and Grammar.
33. Marking Punctuation.
34. Checking Mechanics.
35. Using the Right Word.
36. Understanding Grammar.
Sentence Issues.
37. Constructing Sentences.
38. Avoiding Sentence Errors.
Multilingual/ESL Issues.
39. Multilingual and ESL Guidelines.

New to this Edition

  • NEW “Learning Outcomes” at the beginning of each chapter help students stay focused on key learning points; “Learning-Outcome Checklists” at the end track student performance.
  • NEW exercises in the Handbook give students practice with punctuation, mechanics, usage, grammar, sentences, and trouble spots for English language learners. Additional exercises are available on the text’s website.
  • A completely revised Chapter 29, “Conducting Research on the Internet,” provides more information on evaluating sites, with examples of authoritative and non-authoritative websites and an Evaluation Checklist for students’ use.
  • More high-interest academic models from students and professionals help writers understand and create a scholarly tone.
  • New overviews and revamped guidelines accentuate the reading-writing connection.
  • Updated MLA and APA documentation aids students in finding reliable sources and creating strong research papers.
  • Increased attention to the rhetorical situation--role, subject, purpose, form, audience, and context--gives students a tool to analyze the works of others and create their own works.
  • A new emphasis on thesis and outline creation ensures that students will organize their thinking as they write.
  • New charts, graphs, and photos help visual learners grasp concepts.
  • Cut-out tabs make it easy to flip to any of the four sections of the book.
  • The Fourth Edition features many new readings on current topics, including additional student and career-oriented writing models.


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  • Paperbound Edition
    ISBN-10: 0495915831  | ISBN-13: 9780495915836
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    ISBN-10:  0495915823 | ISBN-13:  9780495915829
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