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The skill of writing
is to create a context
in which other people
can think.
Edwin Schlossberg, 1945 -
American designer/artist


Writing Essays, Research Papers and Reports

Baker, Sheridan. The Practical Stylist. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985.
The Practical Stylist examines essay writing, from determining a thesis statement to writing grammatical sentences. The chapter on writing a thesis is particularly effective. There is a good section on revision and examples of essays for different disciplines.

Buckley, Joanne. Fit to Print. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991.
Fit to Print is a brief guide to essay writing that covers the essentials without belaboring the point. It's a book to use as an aid to writing essays because it follows the natural course from selecting a topic to revising and proof reading.

Carney, Tom, and Barbara Carney. Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students. Windsor, Ontario: Para-Publishing Enterprises, 1988.
Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students presents information and approaches to virtually every issue that university students encounter during their studies. The first chapter examines writing and suggests strategies for overcoming blocks. Another chapter examines learning and teaching styles and the relationship between them. Chapters on time management assume that the students are just out of high school so not be appropriate for mature adult students.

Deese, James, and Ellin K. Deese. How to Study. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969.
How to Study is an introduction to study skills for on-campus students. The book covers time management, reading, and essay writing, and also provides tips for studying foreign languages, math, and science.

Ellis, David B. Becoming a Master Student. Rapid City, South Dakota: College Survival, Inc., 1993.
Becoming a Master Student is one of the best study skills books available. The book is updated yearly but the essential ideas remain constant. Ellis believes that studying is a skill that can be learned and improved. There are chapters on just about any issue that can perplex students, from time management to memory, reading, note taking, relationships, health and money. The ideas, exercises, and self-tests, encourage students to interact with others and become active learners. The writing style and layout are informal. The pages have bold, colorful headings and illustrations, charts to emphasize main points, and lots of white space for notes.

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. Successful Learning. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario, 1987.
Successful Learning is an introduction to study skills, an earlier version of Learning for Success. There is an inventory at the beginning to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses followed by chapters on time management, essay writing, science problem solving, exam preparation, and others. The authors encourage students to be strategic, to study "smarter not harder."

---. Learning for Success. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.
Learning For Success covers the usual study skills?topics, such as writing and note taking, as well as non-typical topics such as memory and seminar presentation. Much of the information is presented in points, exercises, and inventories. At just under 150 pages, the book is one of the briefest introductions to study skills.

Frew, Robert, Richard Guches, and Robert Mehaffy. Writer's Workshop. Palo Alto, California: Peek Publications, 1984.
Writer's Workshop provides information and exercises on every aspect of writing, from sentences to formal essays. The book is effective for acquiring new skills or as a reference book for writers. It contains a thorough table of contents and index.

Kennedy, Mary Lynch, and Hadley M. Smith. Academic Writing. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986.
Academic Writing examines, analyzes, and gives exercises for understanding university readings and for writing many types of assignments. The book also discusses how to approach various kinds of essay topics (e.g. compare and contrast).

Lewis, Roger, and John Inglis. Report Writing. Cambridge: National Extension College, 1982.
Report Writing is a clear and concise book that demonstrates an approach to writing effective reports for school or business. The book contains numerous examples and exercises to help the reader interact with the information.

MacFarlane, Polly, and Sandra Hodson. Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1983.
Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System provides a brief introduction (46 pages) to study skills. Topics include concentration, time scheduling, listening and lecture note taking, reading and learning from textbooks, writing papers, and preparing for exams. The book contains a brief, clear explanation of the mechanisms of learning and memory.

Nilsson, Virginia. Improve Your Study Skills. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University, 1989.
Improve Your Study Skills is a handbook in seven modules covering everything from reading to note taking, essay writing, and maintaining motivation. The modules present study skills that research has shown to be effective with adult students. Athabasca University students can obtain the modules, free of charge, from the Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA).

Norton, Sarah, and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials, Form B. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1988.
The Bare Essentials, Form A or Form B, is an excellent source of information on spelling, grammar, and essay writing. The spelling section uses standard Canadian spelling. The Bare Essentials uses a conventional, top down approach to essay writing: finding a thesis, writing an outline and draft, and polishing the final draft. The book is in standard textbook format, but the content is presented in workbook form. The language is informal and encouraging.

---. Essay Essentials. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1991.
Essay Essentials is a thorough guide to planning, researching, writing, and revising essays. There are chapters on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The authors describe the book as combining the "bottom up" and "top down" approaches to essay writing. The bottom up approach uses free writing and brainstorming whereas the top down approach proceeds from defining a topic, to writing, revision, and a final draft. Students may be inclined towards one method or another depending on their experience and the topic. The book is organized with headings, sub-headings, tables, anecdotes, exercises, and self-tests.

Roth, Audrey J. The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publising Company, 1986.
The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content is a book that takes you through the process of writing a research paper. The book begins with a planning guide and proceeds to examine each topic in detail. Although the information on library searches is dated?libraries have changed dramatically in the past few years?the information is sound and helpful.

Smith, H. Wendell. Readable Writing. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1985.
Final drafts of students? essays can sometimes fail to live up to the students? or their professors? expectations. Readable Writing is a book that can help. The author uses a step-by-step approach to manuscript preparation, examining everything from writing the first draft, to revising for substance, order, and clarity. There is a detailed table of contents and index, and check lists for revising drafts.

Strunk, William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1972.
If you have time to read only one book on writing, make it this 92-page classic, The Elements of Style. There are chapters on grammar, composition, and an especially useful one on word usage that could save students from embarrassing errors.

Sullivan, Kathleen E. Paragraph Practice. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1984.
If professors or tutors criticize students' paragraphs, Paragraph Practice can help. It explains what a paragraph is and how it differs from other writing. The author breaks the paragraph down into its parts, and shows how several of them can be united to form a brief composition?the kind of composition written for exams and tutor marked assignments.

English Grammar

Frew, Robert, Richard Guches, and Robert Mehaffy. Writer's Workshop. Palo Alto, California: Peek Publications, 1984.
Writer's Workshop provides information and exercises on every aspect of writing from sentences to formal essays. The book is effective for acquiring new skills or as a reference book for writers. It contains a thorough table of contents and index.

Lewis, Norman. Instant Spelling Power. New York: Amsco College Publications, 1976.
Instant Spelling Power may not be quite as fast as the title promises but does provide tactics for remembering how to spell tricky words. There are chapters on words with "ly" endings, "ie" or "ei" in the middle, and many others. If you know that particular types of words sabotage your best efforts, you can choose a specific chapter to help.

Norton, Sarah, and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials, Form B. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1988.
The Bare Essentials, Form A or Form B, is an excellent source of information on spelling, grammar, and essay writing. The spelling section uses standard Canadian spelling. The Bare Essentials uses a conventional, top down approach to essay writing?defining a thesis, writing an outline and draft, and polishing the final draft. The book is in standard textbook format, but the content is presented in workbook form. The language is informal and encouraging.

---. Essay Essentials. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1991.
Essay Essentials is a thorough guide to planning, researching, writing, and revising essays. There are chapters on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The authors describe the book as combining the "bottom up" and "top down" approaches to essay writing. The bottom up approach uses free writing and brainstorming whereas the top down approach proceeds from defining a topic to writing, revision, and a final draft. Students may be inclined towards one method or another depending on their experience and the topic. The book is organized with headings, sub-headings, tables, anecdotes, exercises, and self-tests.

Strunk, William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1972.
If you have time to read only one book on writing, make it this 92-page classic, The Elements of Style. There are chapters on grammar, composition, and an especially useful one on word usage that could save students from embarrassing errors.

Sullivan, Tony. Grammar. Cambridge: The National Extension College, 1979.
Grammar is an introduction to the subject for those who have never studied it formally, or don't remember what they studied.

Curricular guides and resources:

Using feedback in the classroom | Teaching critical thinking | Bloom's taxonomy |
Teaching with questioning | Preparing guided notes |
A curricular idea! | Curricular resources and guides |
Learning Exercises & Games | Exploring learning styles |
Constructing true/false tests | Constructing multiple choice tests |
Constructing essay exams | Cross language resources including digital translators |
Online Learning/eLearning books and resources for teachers