In search of a good book that is not about vampires or unrealistic teen romances? I’ve got you covered. Not only will these five good reads be precisely that (good reads), but they will also contribute significantly to whatever it is you are studying in English class, by virtue of their complex character development, plots, use of allegory, and general good writing.
[Continue reading about good reads!]
Your copy of David Copperfield has more highlighter marks than your younger sister’s hair; you’ve been staring at your computer screen so long your eyes are changing color; and you may or may not be able to see pink streaks of dawn outside your bedroom window. Essay writing, you tell yourself, should not be like this.
Need help from something other than SparkNotes? I’m gladly here to give it. Follow these essay TLC tips and no matter where you are at in the writing and editing process, your paper will automatically improve. They cannot guarantee an “A” grade—that is ultimately up to you!—but they will make your paper stronger. And the good news: you don’t need to pull an all-nighter to follow them!
[Continue reading to learn five tips!]
Midway through the year in my twelfth grade A.P. English class, my teacher tossed a small, nondescript book with blue dog-ears on our desks and professed it to be one of the most foundational texts of contemporary English language usage. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. All I could recall of E.B. White was something about a swan and a trumpet—and maybe Stuart Little…?
We were skeptical, especially considering the fact that Strunk and White’s book was small but crammed with—ugh—rules of grammar. Though I laboriously and disinterestedly copied out Strunk and White’s iconic rules of usage and composition then, today in college the little book is back on my bookshelf. I pass it on to students in tutoring sessions and find myself gushing with the same words my teacher used four years ago: “Read it. Memorize it. Succeed.”
The rules of The Elements of Style (8 rules of usage, 10 of composition) may seem fairly straightforward, but they are absolutely spot on. Strunk and White identify the most common problems in writing and using the English language and attack them straightforwardly and concisely. These rules just happen to be what every English teacher you encounter in high school (and college) will expect you to know, for several reasons: writing clear, intelligent essays; performing well on standardized tests; and forming arguments in speech and other discourses. And guess what? These golden rules aren’t secret. They’re free for everyone!
[Continue to learn about Elements of Style]
I’m here to teach you how to read.
Yeah, you heard me right. Kindergarten may seem like a fond, distant dream, but I’m not talking about ABC’s and phonetics. I’m talking about reading. Let me explain myself.
In fifth grade, you probably enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie. You received a numbered copy along with everyone else in your class and merrily charted the adventures of Winn-Dixie and company through pop quizzes, simple study guides, and big posters with lots of glue and (maybe) glitter. In middle and junior high school, things became more demanding. Analyzing humans instead of dogs, you learned how to read for ‘plot,’ and ‘metaphor,’ and ‘conflict.’ Even if you were making posters at the end, you learned how to discuss, make arguments, and find hidden meanings in the text. By high school, you are doing even more. By senior year, you may be handed a poem or a passage from a text under the instruction to critically read.
This is the type of reading I’m here to teach you about today. There is a difference between Winn-Dixie and critically reading. While the former is crucial for your foundation in reading—really learning how to enjoy a good story—the latter is fundamental to your high school, college, and professional career.
[Find out HOW critical reading works]