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Foundations for College-Level Reading & Writing

Kingsborough Community College
The City University of New York


ENG BW: Foundations for College-Level Writing - 0 credits, 4 hours

Course Coordinators:Professor Kevin Kolkmeyer

Course Description: This course is required for students who need to improve their reading and writing skills. Students create a portfolio of essays based on extensive reading selections. ENG BW emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills required for reading and writing competency in both the high school and college English classroom. Upon completion of the BW course, which can be taken independently or consecutively for two semesters as an 8-hour course, students will be better prepared to take Regents and university entrance exams.

College Now Description: This course is required for students who wish to improve their reading and writing skills. ENG BW emphasizes the development of thinking skills that enable students to write and read better. Students create a portfolio of essays based on a variety of reading selections. Upon completion of the course, students will be better prepared to take Regents and university entrance exams.

Explanation: Beginning Fall 2000, CUNY changed its admissions procedures. Applicants to the University are now required to demonstrate competence in reading and writing by scoring 75 or above on the English Language Arts (ELA) Regents or 480 or above on the verbal portion of the SAT. Students who do not achieve appropriate scores on either of these tests take can take the CUNY/ACT Basic Skills Tests to demonstrate competence. Students who offer appropriate scores on any of these three measures are placed into College Composition I (freshman English) at their colleges. Students who do not meet the above levels of competency are placed into developmental reading or writing courses in college. The Eng BW curriculum has been designed to introduce students to college-level English curriculum and to help students strengthen the reading and writing skills necessary to pass both the high school ELA Regents and the CUNY/ACT Basic Skills Tests.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Create a body of coherent, developed writing selections/examples of varying length and purposes, both in class at at home.
  2. Comprehend, interpret, and analyze from a range of Regents and college-style reading selections, especially from the American Dreams curriculum, which is available in two sets that demonstrate various skills and levels of competency.
  3. Employ self/peer teacher revision via multiple drafts for essay assignments in order to develop portfolios demonstrating a college-level of writing proficiency.
  4. Understand the relationship between reading, writing, critical thinking and planning skills.
  5. Demonstrate improved coherence in writing, especially with syntax and mechanics.
  6. Develop and refine testing strategies for the Regents and college entry exams.

Methods of Teaching: Emphasis is on a developmental approach to writing. Multiple drafts of the respective assignment will be completed using self/peer/teacher revision. Attention will also be focused on the relationship between reading--whether from either one of the two sets of the American Dreams curricula, Newsweek magazine, or from a collection of essays/stories and other writing selections--and writing. Since writing fluency normally evolves from discussions/analysis of the reading material, students will be required regularly to read a good deal of college-level material. A reading journal is recommended. It is also important to emphasize idea relationships, for example, generalization and example, time order, cause and effect, and comparison and contrast when analyzing material. Lecturing should be minimized.

Assignments: Assignments should vary in size and format. Reading/writing, for example, journals and draft revision, should be assigned for every class meeting. Discussions of assignments are appropriate.

Method of Evaluation: The students will be evaluated in terms of their development toward being prepared to take the ELA Regents and college-level writing courses for credit. Holistic grading by other students and the instructor is a typical procedure, with work kept in portfolios. The comments on each paper should be informative, detailed, and supportive. Progress will be evaluated throughout the term using class work, the portfolio, and the instructor's final examination.

Reading Resources:

A. Required:

  1. Terkel, Studs. American Dream - Lost and Found. Ballantine Books, 1981: This text, in two available sets, has been prepared by the College Now English Course Coordinators in collaboration with College Now high school English faculty)
  2. Newsweek (a number will be ordered for each classroom)

B. Recommended: (note: text subject to availability)

  1. Adams, W. Royce. Viewpoints. D.C. Heath, 1989. Multicultural readings with comprehension questions.
  2. Atwan, Robert and William Vesterman. Writing Day by Day. Harper and Row, 1987. Short readings with questions.
  3. Columbo, Gary. Rereading America. St. Martin's Press, 1989. Multicultural readings with comprehensive questions.
  4. Comely, Nancy. Fields of Writing. St. Martin's Press, 1987. Essays, fiction, and comprehension questions.
  5. Divakaruni, Chitra B. Multitude: McGraw Hill, 1993, Multicultural readings with comprehensive questions.
  6. Eschholz, Paul. Outlooks and Insights. St. Martin's Press, 1987. Multicultural readings with comprehensive questions.
  7. English Regents samples.