A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

You can buy John Maguire’s College Writing Guide here



“I can’t see why any writing instructor in America would use any other Freshman Comp textbook,”

says Daniel  Smith, NY Times best-selling author of Monkey Mind, and writing professor at the College of New Rochelle.  Susan Layer-Whelan, instructor at the College of Southern Maryland, says, “I used your guide the first part of my semester and found it extremely helpful!  The students’ writing significantly improved after the human interest and active verb lessons.”

My unique 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 Guide as an idea manual; others (like Dan Smith) buy in bulk and use it as the textbook for a one-semester Writing I course. It is designed as a textbook. If you have read the Pope Center article called “Teaching College Students to Write,” this is the book it describes. That article is here: http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=2843

The text is clear and fun to read–vividly written–as any writing text should be. It offers explanations easily followed by students and teachers, has exercises with answer keys, and provides a many exercises (all classroom tested) on a small, medium and large scale. The unique “readability” approach can be understood by carefully reading my two online articles. The first is the Pope Center article, and the second, on the importance of writing with things, ran in the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/the-secret-to-good-writing-its-about-objects-not-ideas/263113/

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.

The text contains the full method as it has been honed in the classroom, where I have taught the course at least 50 times in Boston area colleges, to acclamation from probably 1,000 students by now. 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. For information about bulk orders or shipment outside the U.S., send a note to maguirejohn at comcast dot net.

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 all students want to be interesting writers, and 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. Write about anything: maguirejohn-at-comcast-dot-net.

Thanks and best wishes,

John G. Maguire

John G. Maguire
Chelmsford MA