A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

More on why people buy the College Writing Guide


book_coverMy College Writing Guide focuses on achieving a clear style above all else. The entire focus is readability and clarity–something students badly need to learn, but which they get little of in the standard composition textbooks. Some teachers use the CWG as an idea manual; others (like Dan Smith) have their college bookstores order the book and assign it. It can be used as the textbook for a Writing 1 course, and in fact, it’s organized so that even an inexperienced adjunct instructor can go through it from the first page to about page 50 and complete a semester’s work. Other profs use it as a collateral text writing-intensive courses, such as seminars in architecture or music history. Its simple step-by-step layout makes it perfect for a non-writing-teacher to use in a writing intensive course. This is the book described in the Pope Center article called “Teaching College Students to Write”.

The text is clear and fun to read–vividly written–as any writing text should be. It offers easy explanations, and provides many exercises that can be used without alteration in the classroom. Students gain skills and confidence fast with this  “readability” approach. They feel motivated and engaged because they are learning specific skills that will help them be interesting. Teachers should read the Pope Center article, mentioned above, and “The Secret to Good Writing: It’s About Objects, Not Ideas.” 

I recommend you read one or both articles before committing to a purchase of this book. The readability approach will feel especially natural to journalists, reporters or editors who are teaching college courses. This video gives the best compact explanation of readability and how to achieve it.

The text contains the full method as it has been honed in the classroom, where I have taught the course roughly 50 times in Boston-area colleges, to acclamation from probably 1,000 students by now. It’s a two-phase course. The first 8 or 9 weeks build a set of sentence-clarity skills in a definite order. The remaining 6 weeks instruct students in essay organization. I assure you that most students taking the course leave very happy, saying, “I never knew writing was this easy.” The price is $16.95 plus $2.95 shipping and handling in the US, and two dollars more to Canada. Most people pay with PayPal–just see the button below. I supply many college bookstores. For information about shipment outside the U.S., contact me.

This could just be the book that will revolutionize the teaching of college writing, it’s that unique. In any case, if you take to it, it’s going to revolutionize the way you teach college writing. You will see great results, because with it you can teach students to be vivid, clear and interesting. I’ll bet you thought those intangible qualities could never be taught, didn’t you? But they can. The skill of clarity and vividness can be built up from smaller skills that are easy to teach. This method is about being interesting–and because all students want to be interesting writers, they love the approach.

Order a copy, see for yourself, and then decide if you want to order it for your section. I have posted prices for shipping to the U.S. and Canada. If you are elsewhere, write me and I’ll figure the shipping costs for you. Contact me about anything. If you buying this because you are an instructor, let me know.

Thanks and best wishes,

John G. Maguire

John G. Maguire
307 Market Street, #306
Lowell MA 01852