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Book: The College Writing Toolkit

Chapter: 8. Literature-with Exposition: A Critical Thinking and Writing Assignment

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.25913


In “Literature-with-Exposition: A Critical Thinking and Writing Assignment,” Gita DasBender writes from a teaching context with which some readers will be familiar: teaching composition as part of a university program in which literature is the primary focus. She argues that no kind of text should be excluded from writing instruction; rather, the instructor’s task is to “re-imagine” the use of literary texts in combination with texts of other kinds to teach the academic writing skills of summary, analysis, critical thinking, building an argument, and integrating references. The approach DasBender advocates is to group the chosen texts – short stories, expository essays, and poems – around a single theme and to guide student writers towards connecting the ideas expressed in each. She outlines a working method of thinking through writing in which a series of writing exercises are combined into a final coherent paper – an approach similar to the “snapshot essay” method outlined by Cox and Tirabassi. It is worth noting that DasBender discusses the teaching strategies she uses to adapt the activity from first-language to second-language writers – strategies that underline the possibilities for adaptation of all of the contributions in this volume.

Chapter Contributors

  • Gita DasBender ( - dasbender) 'Seton Hall University'