Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way, 1st Edition

  • Jenia Walter
  • ISBN-10: 1305260732
  • ISBN-13: 9781305260733
  • 512 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2017 Published
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About the Product

BUILDING WRITING SKILLS THE HANDS-ON WAY, 1st Edition is a student-friendly, developmental English textbook that teaches fluency in writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. Rich with multisensory exercises that activate multiple learning styles, this book covers the basic skills that lead to proficiency, while addressing the need for a new way to reach a diverse population of learners. The text engages students with hands-on activities that introduce concepts, while providing clear explanations to reinforce learning. Its structure addresses the challenges of teaching sentence-level and composition skills in a limited timeframe by allowing instructors to tailor skills work to student needs while focusing on communication and critical thinking. Adaptable to your teaching needs, the book is designed for paragraph and/or essay skills, with a reading skills section and high-interest anthology. Also available with the text--Instructor's Manual provides additional materials to reduce prep time and extend practice, and suggests ways to use the book depending on course needs.


  • Part I is focused on the writing process (paragraph and essay) and Part II is focused on sequenced sentence-level skills, which students can put to use editing the work produced in Part I.

  • All grammar activities are grounded in the context of meaningful writing.

  • Each core chapter of Part II includes "Building Editing Skills" and/or "Writing in Daily Life" guided editing activities with scaffolded exercises and awareness-building questions.

  • Each Part II chapter ends with a section on "Working with the Real Thing," in which students receive specific, scaffolded guidance in transferring chapter skills into their own writing.

  • The text includes a strong chapter on reading skills, prefacing a diverse anthology of scaffolded academic readings. The readings (with vocabulary definitions, pre- and post-reading questions, and writing prompts) include excerpts from academic textbooks, published articles and essays, and student essays, with paired argument essays.

  • Content themes draw on topics of high interest and relevance to diverse adult learners. The diversity of the text is also reflected in rural, western, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American contemporary themes less well represented in many textbooks. In addition, "Reality Check" features share observations and learning tips from real students, which helps to foster confidence and a sense of community among learners from a variety of backgrounds.

  • Learn by Doing! activities combine kinesthetic/tactile, visual, and auditory learning preferences to help students overcome the "print barrier" and make grammar concepts easier to learn.


"The author continues to use a tone that engages student readers . . . and keeps them reading so they can find ways to 'beat the system.' When the text refers to academic or grammatical rules, the explanations are accurate and the coverage is complete."
— Kathleen McCann Klaiber, Genessee Community College

About the Author

Jenia Walter

Jenia Walter, who has been writing stories since she could hold a pen, first found her way into publishing as an editorial assistant at North Point Press in Berkeley, California. Discovering her interest in teaching English while traveling overseas in 1992, she received a certificate from a Cambridge University TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program in Portugal, returning to the U.S. to teach refugees and youth-at-risk at a social service agency in Sacramento. After teaching community college classes in rural northern California, she returned to graduate school at Northern Arizona University (NAU) to earn a Master's degree in English in 1999. At NAU, her fascination with grammar led her to work as a research assistant on Douglas Biber's LONGMAN GRAMMAR OF SPOKEN AND WRITTEN ENGLISH. At the same time, working as a Writing Center tutor and graduate teaching assistant in freshman comp classrooms, she began to investigate helpful learning methods for linguistically diverse students with nontraditional academic backgrounds, and she has been researching effective writing instruction for adult learners ever since. She spent over a decade conducting action research on hands-on learning as an Associate Professor of English at San Juan College in northern New Mexico, where she conducted a grant-funded developmental writing research study and was awarded a NISOD National Award for Teaching Excellence. Since relocating to Fort Collins, Colorado, in 2012, she has continued her exploration of interactive online teaching methods while teaching developmental writing and composition (including Accelerated Learning Program cohorts) in the classroom at Aims Community College in Greeley, researching the effectiveness of hands-on learning at every level. She is currently working with developmental learners across the curriculum at Colorado Mountain College

Table of Contents

1. Freewriting: Thoughts into Words.
2. Generating and Organizing Ideas: Your Raw Materials.
3. Developing Powerful Paragraphs: A Structure for Ideas.
4. Crafting Purposeful Paragraphs: Strategies and Patterns.
5. Building an Essay: Concepts and Skills.
6. Writing for a Purpose: Essay Strategies and Structures.
7. The Revision Process: Refining Your Work.
8. The Editing Process: Polishing Your Work.
9. Overview of Parts of Speech: A Crash Course.
10. Simple Sentence Structure: The Basic Construction Unit.
11. Using Commas Correctly: Working within the Sentence.
12. Compound Sentence Structure: Key to Understanding Punctuation.
13. Catching Run-ons: Using Sentence Structure Tools to Fix Errors.
14. Complex Sentences: Final Pieces of the Sentence Structure Puzzle.
15. Fixing Fragments: Editing Incomplete Ideas.
16. Modifiers: Expanding and Adding to Sentences.
17. Sentence Types: Creating Variety.
18. Nouns: The Stuff That Everything Is Made of.
19. Pronouns: Stand-ins for Nouns.
20. Verbs: The Action That Is in Every Sentence.
21. Adjectives and Adverbs: Words that Add More.
22. A Guide to Punctuation Patterns.
23. Research Skills for Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources.
24. Tips on Language and Style.
25. An Overview of Vocabulary Skills.
26. Building Reading Skills.
A-1. Ways of Learning, Challenges, and the Brain.
A-2. Grammar and Usage Tips: Especially for ESL.
A-3. Employment Document Skills.
R-1. Conjunction Families.
R-2. Pronoun Lists.
R-3. Helping Verbs.
R-4. Common Irregular Verbs.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1305865944 | ISBN-13: 9781305865945)
Cengage Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305674375 | ISBN-13: 9781305674370)
MindTap Developmental English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Walter's Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way  (ISBN-10: 1305674340 | ISBN-13: 9781305674349)

MindTap Developmental English for Walter's Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way is the digital learning solution that powers students from memorization to mastery. It gives you complete control of your course—to provide engaging content, to challenge every individual, and to build their confidence. Empower students to accelerate their progress with MindTap. MindTap: Powered by You. MindTap gives you complete ownership of your content and learning experience. Engage students with high-interest assignments, including hands-on interactive animations, journal entries, and forum prompts, all tailor-made for your course. Customize the interactive syllabi, emphasize the most important topics, and add your own material or notes in the eBook.

Annotated Instructor's Edition  (ISBN-10: 1305656164 | ISBN-13: 9781305656161)

Student Supplements

MindTap Developmental English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Walter's Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way  (ISBN-10: 1305674340 | ISBN-13: 9781305674349)

MindTap Developmental English for Walter's Building Writing Skills the Hands-on Way helps you learn on your terms. INSTANT ACCESS IN YOUR POCKET. Take advantage of the MindTap Mobile App to learn on your terms. Read or listen to textbooks and study with the aid of instructor notifications, flashcards, and practice quizzes. MINDTAP HELPS YOU CREATE YOUR OWN POTENTIAL. GEAR UP FOR ULTIMATE SUCCESS. Track your scores and stay motivated toward your goals. Whether you have more work to do or are ahead of the curve, you’ll know where you need to focus your efforts. And the MindTap Green Dot will charge your confidence along the way. MINDTAP HELPS YOU OWN YOUR PROGRESS. MAKE YOUR TEXTBOOK YOURS. No one knows what works for you better than you. Highlight key text, add notes, and create custom flashcards. When it’s time to study, gather everything you’ve flagged into a guide you organize.