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New Beginnings: Writing with Fluency, First Edition
Diane Fitton, Monroe Community College
Barbara Warner, Monroe Community College
Text Overview
Overview of the Text


Purpose of the Text

New Beginnings—Writing with Fluency is an integrated developmental reading and writing text. Each chapter, focused on a theme important to cultural literacy, progresses from a reading selection to sentence development to paragraph writing. Students write on topics based on personal experience as well as information from resources, including the Internet.

Learning Objectives

New Beginnings is predicated on the following learning outcomes important for current academic work as well as lifelong learning.

Reading Comprehension
  1. Identify explicit and implicit main ideas.
  2. Recognize ideas that support, illustrate, or elaborate the main idea of a passage.
  3. Use sentence context to determine meanings of words.
  4. Paraphrase a sentence using synonyms and sentence variety.
  5. Determine the meaning of unfamiliar English idioms.
Sentence Structure
  1. Recognize and demonstrate appropriate use of Standard English: usage and mechanics.
  2. Write sentences that are complete and correct.
  3. Write effective sentences that are varied in structure and length.
  4. Recognize and revise for appropriate word choice.
  5. Recognize and revise ineffective repetition and inefficiency in sentence construction.
Paragraph Development
  1. Establish and maintain a focused purpose by narrowing the topic with a topic sentence.
  2. Develop and support main ideas by using logical and suitable explanations.
  3. Arrange ideas and support in a meaningful order.
  4. Use transitions within a paragraph.
  5. Provide suitable closure.
  6. Redraft for readability, content, and sentence structure.
  7. Use a checklist to guide proofreading and to edit for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

Organization of the Text

New Beginnings is organized in two parts.

Part One consists of ten chapters, each of which follows a similar pattern of connecting reading with writing, working from sentences to paragraphs, writing from experience, and writing from resources.

Part Two consists of a concise guide to traditional grammar and an appendix of sentence rearrangement and sentence combining techniques.


Organization of the Chapters

Each chapter in the text is comprised of five sections.

Connecting Reading with Writing
Writing from Sentences to Paragraph
Writing from Experience
Writing from Resources

The exercises within each section are as follows.

Connecting Reading with Writing

The reading selections in each chapter serve two purposes. First, each reading promotes the development of literal and interpretive reading comprehension skills. Second, context rich with information provides students a knowledge base from which to write.

Exercise 1  Reflections

Before students read a professionally written article about the chapter's theme, they think about the topic by writing answers to questions relevant to the reading.

Exercise 2  Questions about the Reading

After reading the selection, students answer objective questions about the reading. Correct answers to the questions demonstrate an understanding of topic, main idea, and supporting detail as well as the ability to draw conclusions, make inferences, and define vocabulary in context.

Exercise 3  Sentence Explication

Students paraphrase a selected sentence, building skills needed in restating information for reports and research papers.

Exercise 4  Questions for Writing and Discussion

Following each reading are subjective-response questions requiring students to think literally and critically about the selection they have read.


Working from Sentences to Paragraph

Exercises within each chapter progress in complexity as students learn to rearrange and combine sentences. Sentences within each exercise can be combined to form a meaningful paragraph.

Exercise 5  Rearrange Sentences with New Beginnings

In this exercise, students use beginnings that vary from the traditional subject-verb order.

Exercise 6 Combine Sentences with New Beginnings

Students combine sets of sentences by using a given new beginning.

Exercise 7  Combine Sentences on Your Own

Students decide how to combine a set of sentences using their own sentence beginning.

Exercise 8  Identify Sentences in Context

Students add periods and capitalization within a paragraph to identify sentence beginnings. Internal commas provide clues to sentence boundaries.

Exercise 9  Rearrange and Combine Sentences Using Transitions

This exercise replicates the tasks involved in editing a paragraph for fluency, clarity of meaning, and correctness. Students decide which ideas to combine, what words to delete, where to place modifying elements, and when to use transitions.


Writing from Experience

In this section, students respond on a personal level to a thematically related writing topic.

Exercise 10  Write a Paragraph

Students are given topics from which to write a paragraph. The first four choices include prewriting prompts; the fifth choice has no prewriting prompts; the sixth choice is open-ended.

Exercise 11 Revise Your Paragraph

After writing a draft of a paragraph, students revise by applying sentence rearrangement and sentence combining skills. Students edit their writing using a checklist of specific criteria.


Writing from Resources

In this section students develop techniques needed for expository writing by locating and paraphrasing information in response to questions related to the chapter's topic.

Exercise 12  Share Information

In addition to using the library to find material to answer questions posed in this section, students can access information through links provided on Houghton Mifflin's Developmental English web site.

Exercise 13  Understand Idioms

Idioms related to the chapter topic provide for analysis and discussion.


Language Supplement

The language supplement, a concise reference for grammar and mechanics, uses thought-provoking quotations to model each point of grammar or mechanics. Traditional exercises provide objective assessment of students' understanding of each grammatical point.

The appendix contains two reference charts summarizing techniques for rearranging and combining sentences.


Pedagogical Features of the Text

Reading Comprehension Skills

The readings in New Beginnings, on the instructional level for most students in developmental courses, challenge students to develop reading competencies.

Sentence Development

Sentence rearrangement and combining activities start with structured exercises from which students learn patterns other than the typical subject-verb beginnings. The next exercises, unstructured or open sentence combining, promote independence in sentence construction.

Grammar in Context

As students manipulate sentence parts, they learn how to change the form of words that are repositioned in a sentence. In this way, students learn in the context of the sentences they write grammatical concepts, such as subject-verb agreement, modification, and parallel structure.

Recursive Learning

After the first teaching chapter, the remaining nine chapters are sequenced independently. The chapters reinforce learning of essential reading and writing skills.


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