I was given this book as a gift from my mentor during my first year of teaching high school, and haven't stopped using it since. I teach 8th grade at the moment, and this can easily be modified and used in middle and high school as well as college. It is the definitive text for argumentative writing. It has a collection of sentence stems/starters'templates for every circumstance (e.g. agreeing with a rebuttal) as well as a section devoted to transitions, verbs for making a claim, etc. It takes much of the guesswork out of writing an argumentative essay. We know that writing at the college level is expository or argumentative. This is the one book you need to get in order to write well. That's what I SAY. And that's what THEY SAY.
This book rocked my world last quarter. Because of it, I feel I am a better writer.
According to my professor, when I entered class I was one of the best students they had encountered (after teaching for nearly a decade). I write creatively as a hobby, and had several years competitive forensics under my belt so civil discourse has become second nature. This book has short and tolerable chapters that helped even an "advanced" student like myself improve their work. I couldn't imagine someone reading 5 chapters of this book and walking away at the same level of skill. It's impossible. This book explores more than just technique, they elaborate on reasoning. These days, with current trends in social media, folks often forget we are writing our comments, essays, and reviews for a PURPOSE. "They Say / I Say" brings the author back to that purpose and teaches the writer empathy in addition to giving guidance on how to transition, how to support your claims, and so much more. It's a treasure I purchased to keep with me for life - so I can look back on it every now and then.
Get it. Stop thinking about it, and you could find yourself as grateful as I am today.
This has been my favorite "textbook" so far. This was a required text for my dissertation writing course. Since completing that course, I have recommended it to countless students that I tutor. I have used it in tutoring sessions, and I have recommended it and cited it numerous times when interacting with my peers.
The parts I bookmarked were: The Art of Summarizing, The Art of Quoting, Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say, Planting a Naysayer in Your Text, Connecting the Parts, and The Art of Metacommentary. I didn't even know what metacommentary was before reading this book, but I use it a lot now. "The Art of Quoting" will help you integrate quotes into your writing seamlessly if you struggle in that area. And, "Planting a Naysayer in Your Text" is a mark of true sophistication as an academic writer.
The templates are an invaluable resource for any writer! I wish I had had this book in high school!
My college professor recommended this to our class (sadly my senior year) and I wish somebody had told me about this sooner! I thought my writing was okay, but boy did this step it up! This book is definitely that every student needs to have in their arsenal. To me this book is the holy grail of academic writing aids.
I am writing my dissertation for my doctorate and this book is GREAT because it helps with writers block. It gives you phrases to help you get your thoughts going. It is extremely well organized and has been mentioned in several You Tube instructional videos I have watched.
This is a great book to help teach students how to frame arguments. This is my third copy. I lost one loaning it out at work (I'm an educator), another I gave to my younger brother when he went away to college. I bought it again to use with Kelly Gallagher's "Staying true to what works in the ELA classroom".
The sentence frames really are the most useful aspects of this book. I have to teach argumentative writing and the frames help me to model good writing to my students. It's a great tool to have on hand. Short and sweet.
Even as a writer, writing teacher, and rhetorician, I could not see how many gaps I left in my writing until this book. So much of the writing process was just flung at me in public school that I was fortunate to absorb dribs and drabs. Graff, Birkenstein, and Durst dismantle writing into a system, based on the most recent rhetorical research, and lay the process out in short chapters, plain language, and a scheme of templates that students can use to kick-start their own writing.
The authors' thesis is that writing is an uncomplicated process which can be reduced to a handful of rhetorical components. If students see writing as a social act, joining a larger conversation already in process, they will produce engaging writing which both they and their teachers will enjoy. Since the book is laced with examples of effective and ineffective writing, there is no doubt as to which the authors aim for, making evaluation a simple, somewhat objective process.
This book seeks to be accessible to a mass audience. It's written in vernacular English, using examples from current culture and respected print sources. It is so straightforward that teachers can use it at multiple levels, from advanced middle school up through college composition. It's so explicit that it could even be used without a teacher, with only a writing group or college writing center to fill in the role of hands-on assistance with individual problems.
I teach composition/rhetoric at a two-year college and I have required the previous (second) edition of this book for a couple years.I chose this text initially because, unlike a lot of composition texts, the writing voice in TS/IS is very personable, easy to follow, and unpretentious. It occasionally shows a nerdy sense of humor which, surprisingly, my students don't seem to mind.
The book addresses issues that I wish I had been taught as an undergrad, like "saying why it matters," or even the concept of "they say/I say" itself, which looks at how to take empty, boring writing, and put it in context so readers are interested in it. Instead of lecturing about the same tired old essay structure, the book approaches the task like a personal quest: make yourself clear, be interesting, and have integrity as a writer. Anything it omits or only touches on, like MLA style or research tips, can easily be supplemented.Overall, though, the quality of the advice, content, and style in this book are still better than most texts I've worked with, so I will stick with it for the new year.
I am in a Ph.D. program at Cornell University, but having already completed an undergrad and a Master's degree, I thought my writing was pretty good. However, after using the tips from this book, my Ivy League professor told me my work had substantially improved. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their writing. I also recommend "Making Sense in the Life Sciences: A Student's Guide to Writing and Research" for anyone looking to help organize lots of information into a logical flow/argument. (Posted on 3/31/2017)