Intermediate Composition - English
EN 203/PC 391, Section 3

Dr. Eleanor Swanson
Carroll Hall 130
458-4147, or 4924
Office Hours: 11-12 MWF, 1-2 TTH, and by arrangement

Literacy Tutor Handbook, by Adult Learning Source
Illiterate America, by Jonathan Kozol
Lives on the Boundary, by Mike Rose
Writer's Hotline Handbook, by Montgomery & Stratton
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

In this course we will consider definitions of literacy and will question the nature of language, discussing, for example, how language practices become established and how we use language to "name the world." We will look closely at the relationship between language and literacy issues and larger social concerns, such as how reading and writing education is made available to children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

After a period of training, you will work with an Adult Learning Source student to help that student meet his/her goals for improved literacy.

We will discuss what characterizes "public discourse," focusing on your own reading and writing, as well as the approaches you take to assisting YOUR students with their reading and writing. You will be asked to keep a journal and to prepare a portfolio, with examples of writing that serves a variety of audiences and purposes. The course will emphasize approaches to the writing process useful to writers in college as well as in the "world of work."


I. Introduction: What is Literacy? (weeks 1-3)

Literacy Tutor Handbook
Illiterate America
Tutor training: 8/31, 9/4, Tuesday, 7-9 p.m., 9/5, 9/7, 9/11 (on site: Highlands Lutheran Church)

II. Is Schooling Education?

Lives on the Boundary
Selections from Shirley Brice Heath
Selections from Broken Promises: Reading Instruction in Twentieth Century America, Shannon
Selections from Ain't No Makin' It: Levelled Aspirations in a Low-Income Neighborhood

III. Language, Race, Ethnicity and Gender: the English Language--Friend or Foe?
Selected readings


Your grade will be determined as follows:

Participation 10%

                Interim assignments
                (drafts of writings assignments,
                informal writing assignments)           20%

                Portfolio of written work
                (10 pages due midterm week,
                10 pages due last week of
                classes)                                40%

                Journals (see guidelines)               30%

Regular attendance is essential. Attendance counts toward a student's final grade as shown:

                0-1 absence                             +5 pts
                2-3 absences                            +2.5
                  4 absences                            no credit
                5-6 absences                            -10 pts.
                7-8 absences                            -20
                9 or more                               -30 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: A similar course was offered (taught by Lamar Brand and Richard Hood) to students in the honors program at Elon College in Tennessee. Don Connors, a student at Regis, came across the course syllabus at a conference, and brought it to my attention. Thank you, Don.