The goal for students in English 91 is to build fluency in both reading and writing. Fluency refers to the ability to understand reading assignments and to write comprehensible essays. Because the primary focus of English 91 is the development of fluent expression and comprehension, students will do a significant quantity of reading and writing. These reading and writing activities ask students to focus on the construction of meaning as they build fluency.
Students in this course produce writing in a variety of genres such as freewriting, informal reading journals, personal narratives, and reading-based essays. Throughout the course, students learn to write through the careful revision of their essays based on teacher, tutor, peer, and self-response. By the end of the course, students must demonstrate an understanding of essay organization and coherence, and their essays must be developed with adequate use of logic and evidence including explanation, examples, paraphrases, direct quotations, and analysis. The course strongly emphasizes the connections between reading and writing, and at least two of the three essays in students’ final portfolios must be based on reading.
Students also read extensively and in a variety of genres including whole books (either novels or nonfiction), essays, and articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals. The course distinguishes between extensive reading (reading quickly to get the main ideas) and intensive reading (reading shorter texts, very carefully, to understand fine shades of meaning). Students often use writing to respond to their reading in the form of focused freewriting, summaries, paraphrases, and responses to questions related to general comprehension, main ideas and supporting details, inference, and so on.