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Credit- Degree applicable
Effective Quarter: Fall 2015

I. Catalog Information

Critical Reading, Writing and Thinking
5 Unit(s)


(See general education pages for the requirement this course meets.)

Requisites: (Not open to students with credit in EWRT 2H.)

Prerequisite: EWRT 1A or EWRT 1AH.

Hours: Five hours lecture (60 hours total per quarter).

Description: Develops critical thinking skills and the ability to apply these skills to reading and writing. Develop analytical and argumentative academic essays based on reading of complex texts, and the use of outside research leading to analysis, comparison, and synthesis and a documented research paper.

Student Learning Outcome Statements (SLO)


• Student Learning Outcome: Apply critical thinking skills to writing and complex readings.


• Student Learning Outcome: Demonstrate academic (analytical, argumentative) writing based on reading of complex texts.


• Student Learning Outcome: Demonstrate analysis, comparison, synthesis, and documentation of independent research.

II. Course Objectives

A.Develop critical and analytical skills in the reading and analysis of a variety of texts, including visual images and other nonverbal texts.
B.Develop a sequence of argumentative and analytic essays with integrated reading that demonstrates the interdependence of reading, writing, language and thinking.

III. Essential Student Materials


IV. Essential College Facilities


V. Expanded Description: Content and Form

A.Develop critical and analytical skills in the reading and analysis of a variety of texts, including visual images and other nonverbal texts.
1.Distinguish between explicit and implicit, surface reading and interpretation, by considering:
a.Perception as an active process (selection, completion, organization)
b.Images and icons
c.Gestures and actions
d.Cultural codes
2.Analyze and evaluate language and thought
a.Syntax and semantics, structure and meaning; denotation and connotation; speech acts
b.Naming and description; concrete vs. abstract; verbal "vagueness" vs. ambiguity, including literary ambiguity; cliches
c.Social context and codes; slang, jargon, dialect; oral vs. written
e.Metaphor and symbol
3.Distinguish and analyze analytic relationships and concepts
a.Chronological and process relationships
b.Comparative and analogical relationships
c.Causal relationships (scientific method, reciprocal causes/effects)
d.Probabilistic or statistical concepts (e.g., incidence, risk)
e.Concepts, categories, stereotypes
4.Evaluate argumentation and its logical elements
a.Propositions (claims), support (evidence, expert opinions, motivational appeals), and assumptions
b.Distinction between fact and opinion, primary and secondary sources, perception and inference, knowledge and belief
c.Distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning
d.Examination of logical fallacies (e.g., faulty generalization, non sequitur, slippery slope, false dilemma, false analogy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, begging the question, circular reasoning, red herring, straw man, ad hominem, faulty appeal to authority, common practice or bandwagon)
e.Evaluation and judgment
f.Persuasion (point of view, tone, emotional appeals)
g.Rebuttal, counterargument, and concession
5.Develop and apply interdisciplinary thinking
a.Translate jargon
b.Make connections between disciplines
c.Examine and utilize alternative models and paradigms
6.Distinguish, compare and evaluate a multiplicity of perspectives, including alternative points of view from a variety of outside sources, such as library-, internet-, and (optionally) field-based research
a.Identify, compare and evaluate alternative points of view (ideological, methodological), cultural values (culture, ethnicity, gender, social class), and textual meanings (ambiguity)
b.Determine one's own point of view and evaluate that perspective in relation to other viewpoints
B.Develop a sequence of argumentative and analytic essays with integrated reading that demonstrates the interdependence of reading, writing, language and thinking.
1.Identify the interdependence of reading and writing
2.Synthesize the writing process in essay development
3.Analyze and interpret
a.Applying critical reading skills
b.Analyzing one's own experience
c.Organizing and expressing the results of analysis
a.Propositions (claims)
b.Support (evidence, expert opinions)
c.Assumptions (making hidden assumptions explicit)
d.Persuasion (motivational appeals, tone)
5.Integration of multiple sources and points of view (from library-, internet-, and field-based research) in documented, analytical research paper
a.Analysis of sources (understanding other points of view)
b.Self-reflection (analyzing one's own experience and one's own point of view)
c.Formulation and articulation of new ideas and perspectives

VI. Assignments

1.Challenging, college-level works (as measured by vocabulary, complexity of ideas, and stylistic sophistication) that reflect and examine cultural, ethnic, gender/sexual, socioeconomic, and other forms of diversity
2.Emphasis on analytical and argumentative works, optionally in conjunction with literary works
3.Optional use of text on logic and argument
B.Writing (including at least 6000 words of formally evaluated writing)
1.Informal writing such as journal entries, responses to reading, and writing exercises
2.In-class essays, exams, and/or quizzes, measuring comprehension and logical analysis
3.Progressive sequence of at least four analytical/argumentative essays, totaling at least 4000 words, including major research paper of at least 1500 words;
4.Final exam or project (may be research paper listed above)

VII. Methods of Instruction

 Discussion of assigned reading
Collaborative learning and small group exercises
Lecture and visual aids

VIII. Methods of Evaluating Objectives

A.Journals for interpretive reading responses, and brief ‘fact-based’ quizzes to hold students responsible for assigned readings.
B.Class and group participation in the form of individual or small group presentations, to be evaluated based on topic-definition, investment, timeliness (meeting deadlines), division of labor (if group), and optionally, interactivity with the class.
C.Individual conferences scheduled during office hours, or meetings with groups of students working on similar issues, to assist students and help assure their understanding of course material, and of instructor’s criteria.
D.Essay-based exams, either in-class or out of class, where students write essay length responses, allowing students to use MLA style sheet or similar for documentation if done in class, in which students demonstrate the skills of analysis, argumentation, and/or persuasion.
E.Analytical essays, including major research paper to be evaluated according the students' ability to apply the skills they have been sharpening all quarter—of reading, analysis, paraphrase, quotation and citation, and of giving breadth to their interpretations and ideas while at the same time controlling the overall direction of their paper.
F.Final exam or project which could be an essay or a last presentation done in class which demonstrates three or more of these skills: analysis, argumentation, comparison, synthesis, persuasion.

IX. Texts and Supporting References

A.Examples of Primary Texts and References
1.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. "Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument", 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013.
2.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. Enduring Questions and Critical Issues: A Guide to Critical Thinking with Readings, 10th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013 .
B.Examples of Supporting Texts and References
1.Atwood, Margaret. "The Handmaid's Tale". New York: Vintage Books, 2007.
2.Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. "From Critical Thinking to Argument: A Portable Guide" Third Edition. Boston: Bedford/St Martins, 2010 .
3.Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. "Ways of Reading". 9th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010.
4.Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky. "Ways of Reading Words and Images". First Edition, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003.
5.Burgess, Anthony. "A Clockwork Orange". New York: Norton, 1995 .
6.Eggers, Dave. “The Circle.” New York: Alfred Knopf, 2013.
7.Hamid, Mohsin. “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” New York: Penguin, 2013.
8.Lee, Spike. "Do the Right Thing", (Film) 1989.
9.Maasik, Sonia, and Jack Solomon. "Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers". 7th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.
10.Machiavelli, Niccolo. "The Prince". New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 N.
11.Malcolm X. Malcolm X Speaks. "Edited by George Breitman". New York: Path Press, 1976.
12.Moore, Michael. "Bowling for Columbine", Film 2002.
13.Morris, Errol. "The Unknown Known," Film 2013.
14.Orwell, George. "Animal Farm". New York: Penguin, 2008.
15.Rottenberg, Annette T. "Elements of Argument", 10th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2011.
16.Ruszkiewicz, John et al. "Everything's An Argument", 6th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.
17.Sandel, Michael. “Justice.” New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux: 2009.
18.Schlosser, Eric. "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal". New York: Mariner, 2012. .
19.Tannen, Deborah. "The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue". New York: New York, 2012.
20.Hacker, Diane. "Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age", 5th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. <>