C. Beth Burch - Grammar for Writers

Students Write

Leonora Woodman and I collaborated as equal partners in the 1986 book Students Write, the first book to collect and discuss student essays in a serious format and published by a major educational publishing house (Scott Foresman). We arranged fifty well-written student essays by genre—memoir, travel sketch, advisory essay, profile, information essay, interpretation essay, evaluation essay, problem/solution essay, interview, and survey. Included are students’ comments about their processes of writing the essays and several exploratory questions to follow each essay. Each chapter also contains a brief section called “Preparing to Write” that provides ideas for topics that students can choose for their writing as well as advice and ideas about how to proceed with writing the essay. Chapters begin with definitions and overviews of each genre as well as general writing advice regarding such things as structure and tone. This book was the first to recognize the value of using student writing, rather than professional published writing, as models.

Writing for Your Portfolio

Writing for Your Portfolio (1999), published by Longman Publishers, anticipates the popular development of the portfolio writing class in writing pedagogy. I wrote this text for inexperienced writing instructors who could not yet conceptualize how a portfolio writing class might work. Writing for Your Portfolio explains to students (thus their instructors) how creating a writing portfolio guides their writing in their portfolio course; it outlines a system of extensive revising and drafting—a system that more comprehensively replicates writing beyond the classroom. This book, in the vanguard of rhetorics and the first rhetoric to address specifically a portfolio pedagogy, also introduces the process of reflection as a tool for understanding one’s writing process. It also contains a complete, full-length student writing portfolio.

C. Beth Burch - Grammar for Writers
C. Beth Burch - Grammar for Writers

A Writer’s Grammar

A Writer’s Grammar (2002) is a revolutionary grammar text because it adapts the best practices of teaching writing to teaching grammar and grammar as part of style: pedagogy is built into the structure of the text. A Writer’s Grammar follows the theories of structural grammar infused with transformational grammar and speaks in the familiar language of school grammar. I emphasize using grammar to create and influence style. Special chapters on basic rhetorical figures, punctuation marks, and rhetorically rich passages to analyze—these features plus a glossary make this a unique grammar book. Its scholarly influences include Paul Roberts’s Understanding English, Martha Kolln’s Rhetorical Grammar, Max Morenberg’s Doing Grammar, and because my linguistics courses had led me into matters of style, Joseph Williams’s Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace and Otis Winchester’s and Winston Weathers’s The Strategy of Style.

Grammar for Writers

Grammar for Writers (2017) deeply revises A Writer’s Grammar, bringing the 2002 book up to date, making explanations fuller and more robust and adding elements I deemed more important after teaching A Writer’s Grammar for many semesters. Guided by Bryan Garner’s Garner’s Modern American Usage, I have added a section on usage, a subject that vexes many writers. I have updated textual references and included full citations of every sample sentence in the text so that readers and instructors can find sources more easily. Finally, I have removed some exercises from the original to make this version of the text more manageable. The book retains what makes it distinctive: a focus on using the best practices for teaching writing for teaching grammar and a focus on the world of the sentence, the heartbeat of writing.

C. Beth Burch - Grammar for Writers