Sixth Edition   ©2015

LaunchPad for Successful College Writing (Six Month Access)

Kathleen T. McWhorter (Niagara County Community College)

  • ISBN-10: 1-4576-8933-2; ISBN-13: 978-1-4576-8933-8; Format: LaunchPad

Part 1 An Introduction to Reading, Writing, and Learning in College

1 Reading and Writing for College Success

Writing Quick Start

Factors That Contribute to Success

Reading The New Marshmallow Test: Students Can’t Resist Multitasking, Annie Murphy Paul

Adopt Success Strategies for All Your Courses

Use effective learning strategies.

Use your course syllabus.

Avoid procrastination.

Demonstrate academic integrity.

Consult your instructors.

Listen carefully, take notes, and participate in class.

Learn to manage stress.

Manage online courses responsibly.

Don’t let non-academic problems interfere with success.

Academic Reading and Writing: What Should You Expect?

Why Improve Your Reading and Writing Skills?

Adopt Success Strategies for Your Writing Class

Start with a Positive Attitude toward Reading and Writing.

Use the College Writing Center.

Get the Most Out of Writing Conferences.

Keep a Writing Journal.

Understanding Learning Style

Take the Learning Style Inventory

Interpret Your Score

Use Learning Style When Reading and Writing

2 Active Reading and Responding

Writing Quick Start

A Guide to Active Reading

How Writers Read: Active versus Passive Reading

Before Reading: Write to Preview and Create Guide Questions


Activate your background knowledge and experience.

Form questions to guide your reading.

How Writers Read: Active Reading Online

While Reading: Write to Think and Interact

Look for key elements.

Highlight key points.

Work to understand difficult readings.

After Reading: Review and Organize to Consolidate Understanding

Review to consolidate your understanding.

Draw a graphic organizer to examine relationships among ideas.

Applying Your Skills: Read a Selection Actively

A Guide to Responding to a Reading

Summarize to Check Your Understanding

Analyze the Assignment and Decide on an Approach

Generate and Record Ideas: Annotating, Synthesizing, Analyzing, and Evaluating

Annotate to record your impressions.

Synthesize the writer’s ideas with your own.

Analyze and evaluate the reading.

Keep a response journal.

Use a reading-response worksheet.

Try alternative learning styles.

Write a Response Essay

Determine the content and focus of your response essay.

Follow the steps for writing a response essay.

Students Write: "American Jerk": How Rude! (but True), Karen Vaccaro

3 Thinking, Reading, and Writing Critically

Writing Quick Start

Thinking, Reading, and Writing Critically

Analyze the Author’s Ideas

Make reasonable inferences.

How Reader Write: Implied Meanings

Assess the evidence.

How Readers Write: Evidence

Distinguish fact from opinion.

How Readers Write: Fact and Opinion in Academic Writing

Analyze the Author’s Language

Consider denotation versus connotation.

Assess figurative language.

How Readers Write: Figurative Language

Identify euphemisms and doublespeak.

Analyze the author’s tone.

How Readers Write: Tone

Analyze the Author’s Assumptions, Generalizations, and Omissions

Recognize the author’s assumptions.

How Readers Write: Assumptions

Assess the author’s generalizations.

How Readers Write: Generalizations

Look for purposeful omissions.

Use the Patterns of Development to Think and Read Critically

Use Synthesis to Think and Read Critically

Reading Visuals Critically

Analyze Photographs

Analyze Graphics

Think Critically about Photos and Graphics

Just-in-Time Guide to Reading and Responding

1. Getting Started

1a. If I don’t know anything about the subject, what should I do?

1b. What can I do to keep my mind on an unappealing topic or selection?

1c. How can I figure out what I am supposed to learn from an assignment?

1d. What should I do when I feel overwhelmed or completely lost by an assignment?

2. Learning Words

2a. Do I need to learn every unfamiliar word?

2b. What should I do if I don’t know the meaning of a word?

2c. Which online resources are useful for vocabulary development?

2d. How can I learn the words I need to know?

3. Reading Paragraphs: Main Ideas

3a. How do I identify the topic of a paragraph?

3b. How do I find the topic sentence?

3c. How do I figure out the implied main idea of a paragraph?

4. Reading Paragraphs: Details

4a. How do I know which details are worth remembering?

4b. What should I do if I don’t understand a sentence or detail?

5. Reading Essays and Textbook Chapters

5a. What should I do if I just can’t get started on the assignment?

5b. How can I keep from getting lost in a difficult and lengthy reading assignment?

5c. How can I be sure I am understanding what I read?

6. Reviewing

6a. Should I reread assigned chapters or reading selections to review?

6b. How can I remember what I just read?

6c. How can I prepare for a quiz on a reading assignment?

6d. How can I prepare for class discussions based on a reading assignment?

6e. What should I do if I highlight practically everything?

Part 2 Strategies for Writing Essays

4 Prewriting

Writing Quick Start

Choose a Topic

Narrow a Topic

Use a branching diagram

Ask questions to narrow a broad topic.

Think about Your Writing Situation

Determine your purpose.

Consider your audience.

Choose a point of view.

Consider the genre and medium.

Discover Ideas to Write About


Draw a map or cluster diagram.


Ask questions.

Use the patterns of development.

Visualize or sketch.

How Writers Read: Using Prewriting Strategies to Strengthen Understanding

Research your topic.

Students Write: Latrisha Wilson’s Questioning and Freewriting

5 Developing and Supporting a Thesis

Writing Quick Start

What Is a Thesis Statement?

Develop Your Thesis Statement

Synthesize ideas to generate a working thesis statement.

Write an effective thesis statement.

Place the thesis statement effectively.

Use an implied thesis.

Support Your Thesis Statement with Evidence

Tailor the evidence to your writing situation.

Collect evidence to support your thesis.

Choose the best evidence.

Choose evidence for academic writing.

Checklist: Types of Evidence

Incorporate visuals into an essay.

Select appropriate visuals.

Use sources to support your thesis.

Students Write: Latrisha Wilson’s Working Thesis and Brainstorming

Reading: Internet Addiction, Greg Beato

6 Writing Effective Paragraphs

Writing Quick Start

Structure Your Paragraphs

Write Effective Topic Sentences

A topic sentence should be focused.

A topic sentence may preview the organization of the paragraph.

A topic sentence should support your thesis.

A topic sentence should be strategically placed.

Include Supporting Details

Effective paragraphs have unity.

How Writers Read: Paragraphs

Effective paragraphs are well developed.

Effective paragraphs provide supporting details and arrange them logically.

Use Transitions and Repetition

Students Write: Latrisha Wilson’s First-Draft Paragraph

Reading: Black Men and Public Space, Brent Staples

7 Drafting an Essay

Writing Quick Start

Structure Your Essay

Organize Your Supporting Details

Select a method of organization.

Prepare an outline or a graphic organizer.

Write Your Introduction, Conclusion, and Title

Write a strong introduction.

Write an effective conclusion.

Write a good title.

Students Write: The Threats of Surveillance (Draft), Latrisha Wilson

How Writers Read: Essays

Reading: The Value of Volunteering, Robin Ferguson

8 Revising Content and Organization

Writing Quick Start

Why Revise?

Use Revision Techniques

Ask Key Questions for Revision

Analyze your purpose and audience.

Analyze your thesis, topic sentences, and evidence

Analyze your organization.

Analyzing your introduction, conclusion, and title.

Analyze your paragraph development.

Work with Classmates to Revise Your Essay

Find good reviewers.

How Writers Read: Your Own Writing

Get helpful advice

Questions for Peer Reviewers

Give helpful advice.

Use Your Instructor’s Comments

Revise an essay using your instructor’s comments.

Use your instructor’s comments to improve future essays.

Consider Your Learning Style When You Revise

Students Write: No Place Left for Privacy, Latrisha Wilson, and Reviewer’s Comments on Her First Draft

9 Editing Sentences and Words

Writing Quick Start

Analyze Your Sentences

Are Your Sentences Concise?

How Writers Read: Sentences and Paragraphs

Are Your Sentences Varied?

Are Your Sentences Parallel in Structure?

Do your sentences have strong, active verbs?

Analyze Your Word Choice

Are your tone and level of diction appropriate?

Do you use words with appropriate connotations?

Do you use concrete language?

Do you use fresh, appropriate figures of speech?

Evaluate your word choice.

Proofread Carefully

Students Write: An Edited and Revised Paragraph from No Place Left for Privacy, Latrisha Wilson

Part 3 Patterns of Development

10 An Introduction to Patterns of Development

Writing Quick Start

Understand the Patterns of Development

Narration tells a story.

Description creates a word picture.

Illustration explains with examples.

Process analysis explains how something works or is done.

Comparison and contrast shows similarities and differences.

Classification and division groups items into categories or divides one item into its component parts.

Extended definition explains how a term is used of what it means.

Cause and effect uses reasons or results to explain

Argument takes a position on an issue and offers reasons and evidence for or against it.

Combine the Patterns

A Guided Writing Assignment: Multiple Patterns of Development

Reading Against Forgetting: Where Have All the Animals Gone? Derrick Jensen

11 Narration: Recounting Events

Writing Quick Start

Using Narration in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of a Narrative?

Narratives make a point.

Narratives convey action and detail.

Narratives present a conflict and create tension.

Narratives sequence events.

Narratives use dialogue.

Narratives are told from a particular point of view.

Reading Right Place, Wrong Face, Alton Fitzgerald White

Visualize a Narrative: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading My Last Day as a Surgeon, Paul Kalanithi

How Writers Read: Narration

Integrate Narration into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Narration

Readings: Narrative in Action

Student Essay: Being Double, Santiago Quintana

Reading Chop Suey, Ira Sukrungruang

Reading: Narration Combined with Other Patterns Writing about What Haunts Us, Peter Orner

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

12 Description: Portraying People, Places, and Things

Writing Quick Start

Using Description in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of a Description?

Description uses sensory details.

Description uses active verybs and varied sentence patterns.

Description creates a dominant impression.

Description uses connotative language effectively.

Description uses comparisons.

Description follows a method of organization.

Reading Bad Dog, Rachel Maizes

Visualize a Description: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading Dreamland, Portland, Ohio, Sam Quinones

How Writers Read: Narration

Integrate Description into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Description

Readings: Description in Action

Student Essay: Sometimes, We Give, Maia Nault

Reading I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing, John T. Edge

Reading: Description Combined with Other Patterns Underground Lair: Inside a Chicken Processing Plant, Gabriel Thompson

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

13 Illustration: Explaining with Examples

Writing Quick Start

Using Illustration in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Illustration Essays?

Illustration supports generalizations.

Illustration explains or clarifies.

Illusration considers purpose and audience.

Illustration uses carefully selected examples.

Illustration uses subexamples to add detail.

Illustration organizes details effectively.

Reading What’s That Supposed to Mean? Deborah Tannen

Visualize an Illustration Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading Rambos of the Road, Martin Gottfried

How Writers Read: Illustration

Integrate Illustration into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Illustration

Readings: Illustration in Action

Student Essay: Conforming to Stand Out: A Look at American Beauty, Nick Ruggia

Reading Mascots, Brian Doyle

Reading: Illustration Combined with Other Patterns Why Walking Helps Us Think, Ferris Jabr

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

14 Process Analysis: Explaining How Something Works or Is Done

Writing Quick Start

Using Process Analysis in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of a Process Analysis Essay?

Process analyses usually include an explicit thesis statement.

Process analysis is organized chronologically.

Process analysis provide background information helpful to readers.

Process analysis provides an appropriate level of detail.

Process analysis anticipates trouble spots and offers solutions.

Reading: How-It-Is-Done Essay How Not to Say the Wrong Thing, Susan Silk and Barry Goldman

Visualize a Process Analysis Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading: How-It-Works Essay Shitty First Drafts, Anne Lamott

How Writers Read: Process Analysis

Integrate Process Analysis into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Process Analysis

Readings: Process Analysis in Action

Student Essay: Going Vegan: How to Have Your Eggless Cake, and Eat It, Too! Justine Appel

Reading The Psychology of Stuff and Things, Christian Jarrett

Reading: Illustration Combined with Other Patterns How to Be the Black Employee, Baratunde Thurston

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

15 Comparison and Contrast: Showing Similarities and Differences

Writing Quick Start

Using Comparison and Contrast in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Comparison and Contrast Essays?

Comparison and contrast has a clear purpose and is written for a specific audience.

Comparison and contrast considers shared characteristics.

Comparison and contrast is organized point by point or subject by subject.

Comparison and contrast fairly examines similarities, differences, or both.

Comparison and contrast makes a point.

Comparison and contrast considers significant and relevant shared characteristics.

Reading Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question Aaron E. Carrol

Visualize a Comparison and Contrast Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Point-by-point organization

Subject-by-subject organization

Reading What Kind of H2O Should You Drink? We Asked L.A.’s Only Water Sommelier, Sara Rashkin

How Writers Read: Comparison and Contrast

Integrate Comparison and Contrast into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Comparison and Contrast

Readings: Comparison and Contrast in Action

Student Essay: Border Bites, Heather Gianakos

Reading His Marriage and Hers, Daniel Goleman

Reading: Comparison and Contrast Combined with Other Patterns On a Plate, Tobby Morris

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

16 Classification and Division: Explaining Categories and Parts

Writing Quick Start

Using Classification and Division in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Classification and Division Essays?

Classification groups and division divides ideas according to one principle.

Purpose and audience drive the writer’s choice of a principle.

Categories and parts are exclusive and comprehensive.

Classification or division fully explains each category or part.

Classification or division includes a thesis.

Reading Classification My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers, Jerry Newman

Visualize a Classification or Division Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading How to Read a Potato Chip, Michael Moss

How Writers Read: Classification or Division

Integrate Classification or Division into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Classification and Division

Readings: Comparison and Contrast in Action

Student Essay: The Use and Abuse of Facebook, Allison Cava

Reading: Classification Combined with Other Patterns Empower Pupils to Beat the Bullies, Ian Rivers

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

17 Definition: Explaining What You Mean

Writing Quick Start

Using Definition in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Definition Essays?

An extended definition is focused and detailed.

An extended definition often includes a standard definition of the term.

An extended definition makes a point.

An extended definition uses other patterns of development.

An extended definition may use negation and address misconceptions.

Reading Freegans: They Live Off What We Throw Away, Jan Goodwin

Visualize a Definition Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading Dude, Do You Know What You Just Said? Mike Crissey

How Writers Read: Definition

Integrate Definition into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Definition

Readings: Extended Definition in Action

Student Essay: Guerrilla Street Art, Kate Atkinson

Reading: Definition Combined with Other Patterns Dating on the Autism Spectrum, Emily Shire

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

18 Cause and Effect: Using Reasons and Results to Explain

Writing Quick Start

Using Cause and Effect in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Cause-and-Effect Essays?

Causal analysis may focus on causes, effects, or both.

Causal analysis includes a clear thesis statement.

Causal analysis is logically organized.

Causal analysis explains each cause or effect fully.

Causal analysis may challenge readers’ assumptions or offer surprising reasons.

Reading Why the Police Are Rarely Indicted for Misconduct, Alex S. Vitale

Visualize a Cause-and-Effect Essay: Create Graphic Organizers

Reading How Labels Like Black and Working Class Shape Your Identity, Adam Alter

How Writers Read: Cause and Effect

Integrate Cause and Effect into an Essay

A Guided Writing Assignment: Cause and Effect

Readings: Cause and Effect in Action

Students Write Is Sharing Files Online Killing Music? Jonathan Adamczak

Reading: Cause and Effect Combined with Other Patterns Why Summer Makes Us Lazy, Maria Konnikova

Apply Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Synthesizing Ideas

Part 4 Reading and Writing Arguments

19 Reading Arguments

Writing Quick Start

What Are the Basic Parts of an Argument?

The Issue Is a Controversial Topic

The Claim Is the Writer’s Point

The Support Includes Reasons, Evidence, and Appeals

The Refutation Responds to Alternative Viewpoints


Students Write: Are Students the Best Answer for Animals? Robert Nguyen

Tipping Is an Abomination, Brian Palmer

Analyze the Basic Components of an Argument

Analyze the Writer’s Credibility, Purpose, and Audience

Assess the Emotional Appeals

Evaluate Opposing Artguments

Detect Faulty Reasoning

How Writers Read: Argument

Readings: Argument in Action

Trigger Happy, Jennie Jarvie

The Trigger Warning Myth, Aaron R. Hanlon

Synthesizing Ideas

20 Writing Arguments

Writing Quick Start

Using Argument in College and the Workplace

What Are the Characteristics of Argument Essays?

Arguments Focus on Arguable, Narrowly Defined Issues

An Argumentative Thesis Makes a Specific Claim and May Call for Action

Effective Arguments Are Logical

Effective Arguments Depend on Careful Audience Analysis

Effective Arguments Present Reasons and Evidence Readers Will Find Compelling

Effective Arguments Appeal to Readers’ Needs and Values

Effective Arguments Recognize Alternative Views

Reading: The Problem with Saying "All Lives Matter," Tyler Huckabee

Visualize an Argument Essay: Create a Graphic Organizer

Reading: Abolish the Penny, William Safire

A Guided Writing Assignment: Argument

Reading: Argument in Action

Students Write: Pull the Plug on Explicit Lyrics, James Sturm

Applying Yor Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Part 5 Writing with Sources

21 Planning a Research Project and Evaluating Sources

Writing Quick Start

Using Research in College and the Workplace

Write from Sources: Use Sources to Make Your Own Ideas Convincing

Plan Your Research Project

Define the Assignment

Choose an Interesting and Workable Topic

Narrow and Discover Ideas about Your Topic

Write a Working Thesis and List Questions

Consider Source Types

Use Primary and Secondary Sources

Use Scholarly, Popular, and Reference Sources

Use Books, Articles, and Media Sources

Evaluate Sources

Choose Relevant Sources

Choose Reliable Sources

Evaluate Resources in the Digital Landscape

Think Critically about Sources

22 Finding Sources, Taking Notes, and Synthesizing

Writing Quick Start

Using Research in College and the Workplace

Get an Overview of Library Sources

Learn Your Way around the Library

Make Use of Reference Librar Librarians

Use Keywords Effectively

Use Appropriate Search Tools

Search for Books and Other Library Holdings

Search for Articles in Your Library’s Databases

Use the Internet for Research, with Caution

Conduct Field Research

Conduct Interviews

Conduct Surveys

Conduct Observations

Work with Sources: Take Notes, Summarize, and Paraphrase

Take Effective Notes

Take Notes that Summarize, Paraphrase, or Quote



Record Quotations

Keep Track of Sources

Work with Sources: Evalutate Your Notes and Synthesize

Evaluate Your Research

Use Categories to Syntesize Information from Sources

Draw a Graphic Organizer to Synthesize Sources

Create an Annotated Bibliography

23 Drafting, Revising, and Formatting a Research Project

Writing Quick Start

Using Research in College and the Workplace

Organize Your Research Project

Arrange Your Notes

Develop an Outline or Graphic Organizer

Avoid Plagiarism

What Is Plagiarism?

Quick Reference Guide to Plagiarism

How Can You Avoid Plagiarism?

What Sources Do You Need to Document?

Draft Your Research Project

Use Research to Support Your Ideas

Use In-Text Citations to Integrate Source Information

Integrate Quotations into Your Research Project

Revise Your Research Project

Analyze and Revise Your Project as a Whole

Analyze and Revise Paragraphs and Sentences

Prepare Your Final Draft

Format Your Research Project

Edit and Proofread Your Research Project

Document Your Sources: MLA Style

Use MLA Style for In-Text Citations

Directory to MLA In-Text Citation Models

Use MLA Style for the List of Works Cited

General Guidelines for Creating Entries in the Works Cited List

Directory to MLA Works-Cited Models


Books and Other Self-Contained Works

Articles in Periodicals and Other Works Contained in Longer Works

Students Write: Do Animals Have Emotions? Nicholas Destino

Document Your Sources: APA Style

Use APA Style for In-Text Citations

Directory to APA In-Text Citation Models

Use APA Style for the List of References

Directory to APA Reference Entries



Articles in Periodicals

Other Sources

Students Write: Schizophrenia: Definition and Treatment, Sonia Gomez

Part 6 Academic and Business Applications

24 Reading and Writing about Literature

Writing Quick Start

Reading: The Bean Eaters, Gwendolyn Brooks

Literature in College and the Workplace

Understand the Language of Literature

Similes, Metaphors, and Personification



Analyze Short Stories

Reading (Short Story): The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin



Point of View



Worksheet for Analyzing Short Stories

Analyze Poetry

Worksheet for Analyzing Poetry

Reading (Poem): Two Look at Two, Robert Frost

Reading (Poem): How I Discovered Poetry, Marilyn Nelson

Guided Writing Assignment: Literary Analysis

Students Write: The Short, Happy Life of Louise Mallard, Irina Dudnik

25 Essay Examinations and Portfolios

Writing Quick Start

Timed Writing and Portfolios in College and the Workplace

Prepare for and Take Essay Examinations

Prepare for Essay Exams

Take Essay Exams

Analyze Essay Exam Questions

Write Essay Answers

Students Write: Essay Exam Response, Ronald Robinson

Create Portfolios

Understand Your Purposes for Creating a Writing Portfolio

Decide What to Include in Your Portfolio

Use Your Couse Syllabus as a Guide

Organize and Prepare to Present Your Portfolio

What Should You Avoid?

Students Write: Portfolio Contents and Reflective Letter, Bryan Scott

26 Multimedia Presentations and Business Writing

Writing Quick Start

Multimedia Presentations in College and the Workplace

Develop and Deliver Multimedia Presentations

Plan Your Presentation

Draft Your Presentation

Create Presentation Slides

Rehearse Your Presentation

Overcome Stage Fright

Deliver an Effective Presentation

Prepare and Deliver Online Presentations

Create Effective Business Documents

Prepare a Résumé and Job Application Letter

Use Electronic Media for Business Writing

Part 7 Handbook: Writing Problems and How to Correct Them

Review Basic Grammar

1 Parts of Speech

2 Sentence Structure

Write Grammatically Correct Sentences

3 Sentence Fragments

4 Run-On Sentences and Comma Splices

5 Subject-Verb Agreement

6 Verb Forms

7 Pronoun Problems

8 Shifts and Mixed Constructions

9 Adjectives and Adverbs

10 Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Use Punctuation Correctly

11 End Punctuation

12 Commas

13 Semicolons

14 Colons

15 Quotation Marks

16 Ellipsis Marks

17 Apostrophes

18 Parentheses and Brackets

19 Dashes

Manage Mechanics and Spelling

20 Capitalization

21 Abbreviations

22 Numbers

23 Italics

24 Hyphens

25 Spelling

Avoid ESL Troublespots

26 Nouns and Articles

27 Verbs

28 The Prepositions in, on, and at

29 Adjectives

30 Common Sentence Problems

Answers to Even-Numbered Exercises in the Handbook