Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Readings for Writers, 2016 MLA Update, 15th Edition

  • Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell
  • Anthony C. Winkler
  • ISBN-10: 1337281042
  • ISBN-13: 9781337281041
  • 560 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2016, 2016, 2013
  • COPYRIGHT: 2017 Published
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About the Product

READINGS FOR WRITERS is the preeminent rhetorical reader for the freshman composition course. This bestseller continues its tradition of providing comprehensive coverage of the writing and research process, while also offering a wide variety of appealing readings. With more than 70 selections from a broad range of topics and genres, this text offers something to spark excitement in any writer. This edition has been updated to reflect guidelines from the 2016 MLA HANDBOOK, Eighth Edition.


  • Students will discover more than 70 readings from multiple genres, including poems, newspaper columns, diary entries, formal arguments, student essays, biographies, speeches, and excerpts from books, paragraphs, emails, and short stories.

  • The authors' unique labeling system--which categorizes selections as offering advice, a topic for discussion, an example, or an issue for critical thinking and debate--gives students a roadmap for using each reading effectively.

  • To illustrate the planning and forethought required of successful writers, each selection is introduced by a rhetorical thumbnail, a biographical note about the author, and a contextual note about the subject being discussed.

  • Each Part 2 chapter includes an "Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate" to jumpstart students' thinking about relevant topics--self-image, terrorism, bullying, drugs and society, immigration, online dating, racism, the status of women, homelessness, and new technologies--ensuring lively classroom discussions. Each "Issue" includes readings and images from a variety of perspectives.

  • "Punctuation Workshop" features give students practice with the most common punctuation marks, such as commas, semicolons, and dashes.

  • "Student Corner" features showcase the development of real student essays, along with their commentary and corresponding writing tips for other writers.

  • Each chapter ends with Chapter Writing Assignments, Writing Assignments for a Specific Audience, and an Image Gallery Writing Assignment, giving students the opportunity to use what they have learned in a variety of ways.


“Love, love, love the images. Our world is a visual world and the topics are very appropriate for our students.”
— Belinda Adams, Navarro College

About the Author

Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell

Born in Belgium, the daughter of an American minister, Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell had moved from Brussels to Paris to Bern, Switzerland, by the time she was seven years old. In Bern, she attended the Freies Gymnasium and spoke not only fluent French and German but also English, which was the language spoken to her by her American parents. After World War II, Dr. McCuen-Metherell's parents sent her and her brother to Pacific Union College (in California's Napa Valley), where she received a B. A. in English. She taught English and French in high school for several years and then took night classes at the University of Southern California, where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. While working on her doctorate, she was hired to teach English at Glendale Community College and later to serve as Dean of the Evening College. A chance meeting in 1973 with Anthony C. Winkler, a successful novelist, led to a literary partnership that has produced 15 coauthored textbooks used at colleges and universities across the United States.

Anthony C. Winkler

Born in Kingston, Jamaica West Indies, Anthony C. Winkler was educated in Jamaica at Excelsior College, Mount Alvernia Academy and Cornwall College, the last two being in Montego Bay. He was also educated at Citrus Community College, Glendora, California. Winkler taught briefly at Pasadena City College and for a year at Moneague Teachers College in Saint Anne, Jamaica, an experience chronicled in GOING HOME TO TEACH (1995). From 1968 to 1975 Winkler had sales territories as a bookman for Appleton Century Crofts textbook publishers, and later for Scott, Foresman. In 1969 he decided he could write textbooks as well as anyone. Through a chance meeting with the sales representative of another company, he submitted the manuscript POETRY AS SYSTEM and was offered a contract for its publication. Eventually, he met Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell and the two became textbook writers and collaborators. Over the years they have produced more than a dozen textbooks, most on rhetoric and writing. In addition to Winkler's textbooks, his body of work includes, among other books: THE PAINTED CANOE (novel, 1983); THE LUNATIC (novel, 1987); THE GREAT YACHT RACE (novel, 1992); DOG WAR (novel, 2006); TRUST THE DARKNESS: MY LIFE AS A WRITER (autobiography, 2008); THE BURGLARY (play, premiered in Toronto in 2005); THE LUNATIC (movie, filmed in 1991); THE ANNIHILATION OF FISH (movie, 1999); and BOB MARLEY, AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT BY HIS MOTHER (biography, 1996, with Cedella Booker).

Table of Contents

1. Reading Critically.
Kinds of Reading. Steps to Critical Reading. Read Actively. Demystify the Writer. Understand What You Read. Imagine an Opposing Point of View for All Opinions. Look for Biases and Hidden Assumptions. Separate Emotion from Fact. If the Issue Is New to You, Look up the Facts. Use Insights from One Subject to Illuminate or Correct Another. Evaluate the Evidence. Ponder the Values behind a Claim. Recognize Logical Fallacies. Don't Be Seduced by Bogus Claims. Annotate Your Reading. Finally, Be Sure You Understand the Writer's Opening Context. Answers to Critical Reading Questions on Andy Rooney.
2. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion.
Road Map to Rhetoric. Grammar and Rhetoric. The Importance of Good Grammar. Letting the Habits of Literate Writers Be the Final Referee. Exercises. The Importance of Rhetoric. Audience and Purpose. The Internal Reader/Editor. Levels of English. Writing as a Process. Writing about Visual Images. Writing on Social Networks. Advice.
What--and How--to Write When You Have No Time to Write / Donald Murray. Examples. I Have a Dream / Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter to Horace Greeley / Abraham Lincoln. Chapter Writing Assignments. Pointer from a Pro: Write Often. Real-Life Student Writing. Email from Samoa.
3. Synthesis: Incorporating Outside Sources.
Road Map to Synthesis. Building Blocks of Incorporating Outside Sources. Paraphrase.
Exercises. Summary. Exercises. Quotation. Exercises. Guidelines for Effectively Synthesizing Outside Sources. Guidelines for Thinking and Reading Critically. Guidelines for Improving Your Use of Outside Sources. Writers at Work: Strategies for Incorporating Outside Sources. Writers at Work: Using Paraphrase and Summary. Writers at Work: Using Quotation. Chapter Writing Assignment: Writing a Synthesis Essay. Sources. The Death of Horatio Alger / Paul Krugman. By Our Own Bootstraps / W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm. Long Live the American Dream / Shikha Dalmia. Essay Prompts. Suggestions for Additional Reading.
4. The Writer's Voice.
Road Map to Writer's Voice. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Vocabulary. Syntax.
Attitude. Exercises. Advice. Tone: The Writers' Voice in the Reader's Mind / Mort Castle. Examples. Salvation / Langston Hughes. Parkinson's Disease and the Dream Bear / Anthony C. Winkler. Chapter Writing Assignments. Real-Life Student Writing.
A Thank-You Note to an Aunt.
5. The Writer's Thesis.
Road Map to Thesis. Finding Your Thesis. Key Words in the Thesis. Characteristics of a Good Thesis. Nine Errors to Avoid in Composing a Thesis. The Explicit Versus the Implicit Thesis. Exercises. Advice. The Thesis / Sheridan Baker. Examples. Remarks on the Life of Sacco and on His Own Life and Execution / Bartolomeo Vanzetti. A Good Man is Hard to Find / Flannery O'Connor. Chapter Writing Assignments. Real-Life Student Writing. A Eulogy to a Friend Killed in a Car Wreck.
6. Organizing Ideas.
Road Map to Organizing. Organizing the Short Essay. Organizing the Long Essay. Planning by Listing Supporting Materials. Organizing with a Formal Outline. Exercises. Advice. Write to Be Understood / Jim Staylor. Examples. Rules for Aging / Roger Rosenblatt. That Time of Year (Sonnet 73) / William Shakespeare. Chapter Writing Assignments. Real-Life Student Writing. Note from a Graduate Student to a Department Secretary.
7. Developing Good Paragraphs.
Road Map to Paragraphs. Parts of the Paragraph. Supporting Details.
Topic Sentence Developed over More Than One Paragraph. Position of the Topic Sentence. Paragraph Patterns. Characteristics of a Well-designed Paragraph. Writing Your Own Paragraphs. Exercises. Advice. Writing Successful Paragraphs / A. M. Tibbetts and Charlene Tibbetts. Examples. Paragraphs with the Topic Sentence at the Beginning. From the Lessons of the Past / Edith Hamilton. Paragraphs with the Topic Sentence at the End. Man against Darkness / W. T. Stace. Chapter Writing Assignments. Real-Life Student Writing. Letter of Application to an Honors Program.
Patterns of Development for the Subject "Guilt."
8. Narration.
Road Map to Narration. What Narration Does. When to Use Narration. How to Write a Narrative. Warming Up to Write a Narrative. Examples. My Name Is Margaret / Maya Angelou. Shame / Dick Gregory. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Terrorism. My Accidental Jihad / Krista Bremer. The Real War / Thomas L. Friedman. Punctuation Workshop: The Period. Student Corner. Terrorism: America in Fear / Jeffrey Metherell. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Be Concise.
9. Description.
Road Map to Description. What Description Does. When to Use Description. How to Write a Description. Warming Up to Write a Description. Examples. The Libido for the Ugly / H. L. Mencken. Hell / James Joyce. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Self- Image. Body Image / Cindy Maynard. Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self / Alice Walker. Punctuation Workshop: The Comma. Student Corner. Body Modification--Think about It! / Shelley Taylor. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments.
Pointer from a Pro: Write about the Familiar.
10. Process Analysis.
Road Map to Process Analysis. What Process Analysis Does. When to Use Process Analysis. How to Write a Process Analysis. Warming Up to Write a Process Analysis. Examples. My Strangled Speech / Dan Slater. Hunting Octopus in the Gilbert Islands / Sir Arthur Grimble. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Bullying.
10. Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bullying / Sherri M. Gordon.
The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf / Anonymous. Punctuation Workshop: The Semicolon. Student Corner. Bullied / Gunnar Neuman. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Be Sincere.
11. Illustration/Exemplification.
Road Map to Illustration/Exemplification. What Illustration/Exemplification Does. When to Use Illustration. How to Use Illustration. Warming Up to Write an Illustration. Examples. The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria / Judith Ortiz Cofer. "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…" / John Leo. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Drugs and Society. How We Get Addicted / Michael D. Lemonick. Have We Lost the War on Drugs? / Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy. Punctuation Workshop: The Dash. Student Corner. Solving the Drug Problem in the United States / Jordan Dubini. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Be Clear.
12. Definition.
Road Map to Definition. What Definition Does. When to Use Definition. How to Use Definition. Warming Up to Write a Definition. Examples. Entropy / K. C. Cole. America's Invisibly Wounded Soldiers / David Finkel. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Immigration. Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security with Billions / Eduardo Porter. Wide-open Spaces / Bill Bryson. Punctuation Workshop: The Apostrophe. Student Corner. Immigrants in America / Dave Herman. How I Write My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment.
Pointer from a Pro: Let Your Writing Percolate.
13. Comparison/Contrast.
Road Map to Comparison/Contrast. What Comparison/Contrast Does When to Use Comparison/Contrast. How to Use Comparison/Contrast. Warming Up to Write a Comparison/Contrast. Examples. Real Work / Rick Bragg. Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts / Bruce Catton. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Online Dating.
The Truth about Online Dating / Robert Epstein. Evaluating Internet Dating / Tim Daughtry. Punctuation Workshop: The Question Mark. Student Corner. "OMGILY2!!" Online Dating Is at Your Own Risk / Kindra M. Neuman. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Conquer Writer's Block.
14. Division/Classification.
Road Map to Division/Classification. What Division/Classification Does. When to Use Division/Classification. How to Use Division/Classification. Warming Up to Write a Division/Classification. Examples. The Six Stages of E-Mail / Nora Ephron. Kinds of Discipline / John Holt. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Racism. Warriors Don't Cry / Melba Patillo Beals. Incidents with White People / Sarah L . and A . Elizabeth Delany. Punctuation Workshop: The Colon. Student Corner. Color of Their Skin AND Content of Their Character / Carrie Moore. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language.
15. Causal Analysis.
Road Map to Causal Analysis. What Causal Analysis Does. When to Use Causal Analysis How to Use Causal Analysis. Warming Up to Write a Causal Analysis. Examples. A Peaceful Woman Explains Why She Carries a Gun / Linda M. Hasselstrom. Bricklayer's Boy / Alfred Lubrano. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: The Status of Women. The New Feminism / Kate Gubata. The Farce of Feminism / Rebecca E. Rubins. Punctuation Workshop: The Exclamation Point. Student Corner. "Woman" Is a Noun / Paula Rewa. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Scrap Adverbs and Adjectives.
16. Argumentation and Persuasion.
Road Map to Argumentation and Persuasion. What Argumentation and Persuasion Do. When to Use Argumentation and Persuasion. How to Use Argumentation and Persuasion. Warming Up to Write an Argument. Examples. Why Don't We Complain? / William F. Buckley, Jr. A Modest Proposal / Jonathan Swift. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: Homelessness. Homeless / Anna Quindlen. The Homeless Lack a Political Voice, But Not American Ideals / Matt Lynch. Punctuation Workshop: Quotation Marks.
Student Corner. People Out on a Limb / Antoinette Poodt. How I Write. My Writing Tip. Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Read Well, Write Well.
17. Combining the Modes.
Road Map to the Modes. What Combining the Modes Does. When to Combine the Modes. How to Use Combined Modes. Examples. Will Spelling Count? / Jack Connor. Once More to the Lake / E. B. White. Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate: The New Technology. No Technology? No Problem / Eric Brende. Beware the Apps! / Lacreta Scott. Punctuation Workshop: Using Other Punctuation with Quotation Marks. Student Corner. Thoughts about the Internet / Charlie Sorensen. How I Write. My Writing Tip.
Chapter Writing Assignments. Image Gallery Writing Assignment. Pointer from a Pro: Avoid Noun Clusters.
The Editing Booth. Revising. Editing. Rule 1: Make Your Title Descriptive. Rule 2: Begin with a Simple Sentence. Rule 3: Prune Deadwood. Rule 4: Do Not Overexplain. Rule 5: Be Specific. Rule 6: Avoid Trite Expressions. Rule 7: Use the Active Voice. Rule 8: Make Your Statements Positive. Rule 9: Keep to One Tense. Rule 10: Place Key Words at the Beginning or End of a Sentence. Rule 11: Prune Multiple Ofs. Rule 12: Break Up Noun Clusters. Rule 13: Use Exclamation Points Sparingly. Rule 14: Vary Your Sentences. Rule 15: Keep Your Point of View Consistent. Rule 16: Use Standard Words. Rule 17: End with Impact. Editing an Actual Essay.
Why English Instructors Assign Research Papers. How to Choose Your Topic. How to Narrow Your Subject. The Process of Writing the Paper. Preparing "Works Cited" or "References." Writing the Final Copy. Annotated Student Research Paper: Modern Language Association (MLA) Style. A Victory for Readers? Copyright Law and Google Book Search / Nick Penaranda. Annotated Student Research Paper: American Psychological Association (APA) Style. Development of a Scale to Detect Sexual Harassers: The Potential Harasser Scale (PHS) / Leanne M. Masden and Rebecca B. Winkler. Exercises.

New to this edition

  • The MLA documentation reflects significant changes in the new MLA HANDBOOK Eighth Edition, published in April 2016.
  • The new MindTap™ for READINGS FOR WRITERS allows you to personalize your teaching through a Learning Path built with key student objectives and your syllabus in mind. MindTap includes an ebook version of the print book, multimedia, apps, and activities that take students up the levels of learning, from basic knowledge to analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. You can add activities, PowerPoints, videos, and Google docs or select from the available content, and rearrange content if you wish. Analytics and reports provide a snapshot of class progress, time in course, engagement, and completion rates.
  • The Insite App in MindTap provides students with an easy way to upload papers for peer review, your comments, and if you desire, an originality check. You can comment on student papers using prepopulated comments or write your own; create your own library of comments that you can then reuse; or respond to student papers in a video, which is especially useful in an online course to personalize your interaction with students.
  • A new section in Chapter 2 on "Writing on the Social Networks" provides recommendations for becoming a better writer while writing for online communities and websites.
  • A new feature in Part 2 chapters called "To the Point" asks students to write tweets on particular topics as a way to encourage them to be pithy within the 140-character count limit of Twitter posts.
  • A new four-color design throughout the book helps students pick out important information on the page and also allows the images in the Image Gallery to be placed within each "Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate."
  • A new, more slender profile makes it easier for students to carry the book in their backpacks, without the loss of any instructional content. The book was streamlined by judiciously omitting readings without interfering with the book's structure.
  • The "Issue for Critical Thinking and Debate" on ageism has been replaced by a new set of readings and images on bullying.


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 Manual  (ISBN-10: 130511308X | ISBN-13: 9781305113084)

This detailed manual provides sample syllabi, course guidelines, in-class exercises, and chapter objectives to assist instructors in teaching the course.

Instructor's Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1305274792 | ISBN-13: 9781305274792)

Find everything you need for your course in one place. This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for McCuen-Metherell/Winkler's Readings for Writers  (ISBN-10: 1305403312 | ISBN-13: 9781305403314)

MindTap English for McCuen-Metherell/Winkler's Readings for Writers, 15th Edition is the digital learning solution that helps instructors engage and transform today's students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap helps you turn cookie cutter into cutting edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers. With MindTap English, you can assign multimodal activities that help students apply writing skills to real life, and manage electronic paper submission, grading, and peer review. Access to this product is valid for 6 months of usage.

Student Supplements

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for McCuen-Metherell/Winkler's Readings for Writers  (ISBN-10: 1305403312 | ISBN-13: 9781305403314)

MindTap English for McCuen-Metherell/Winkler's Readings for Writers, 15th Edition provides you with the tools you need to better manage your limited time -- you can complete assignments whenever and wherever you are ready to learn with course material specially customized for you by your instructor and streamlined in one proven, easy-to-use interface. With an array of tools and apps -- from flashcards to note taking -- you'll get a true understanding of course concepts, helping you to achieve better grades and setting the groundwork for your future courses. Access to this product is valid for 6 months of usage.