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Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader's Perspective



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By exploring and explaining the perceptive patterns that readers of English follow in their interpretive process, this rhetoric approaches the task of teaching writing from the perspective of readers. As a result, students learn how to write with conscious knowledge of reader's expectations. Readers have relatively fixed expectations of where in the structure of any unit of discourse (clause, sentence, paragraph, or document) to expect the arrival of specific kinds of substance. Taking most of their textual clues for interpretation not from the meanings of individual works, but rather from where those words appear in the structure of a sentence or paragraph, when trying to understand a sentence, readers need to find the answers to five important questions:

  1. What is going on here?
  2. Whose story is it?
  3. What is the most important piece of information in this sentence?
  4. How does this sentence link backward to the one that precedes it?
  5. How does this sentence lean forward to the one that follows it?

In order to answer these questions, readers look in certain places or structural locations in the sentence. With an approach that demystifies the language and writing process, the writer has new powers to: (1) control what readers are likely to make of the text; and (2) re-enter their own thought processes to judge both cohesion and coherence. Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader's Perspective is ideal for people who want a rhetoric that approaches the task of teaching writing from the perspective of readers.

Author(s): George D. Gopen, J.D., Ph.D.
ISBN: 978-0205296170
Publication Year: 2004
Format: Softcover
416 pages