The Reading-Writing Thinking Connection: Your Thoughts Your Voice


The second edition of The Reading-Writing Thinking Connection: Your Thoughts Your Voice puts into your students’ hands a unique educational innovation – Thinking-Centered Education. The title has been chosen to communicate to students a clear sense of what their experience will be as they progress through this book to fulfill their English composition/freshman composition requirement.

The most important words in the title are: “Your Thoughts Your Voice.” All students have experienced struggles and successes in education, as well as in life. Their thoughts, feelings, and ideas need to be heard and given expression as a contribution to the common good and their own well-being.

The 20 seminars students experience as they use this book are organized into four parts around six discipline areas: education, social issues, history, philosophy, science, and psychology. A social justice theme recurs throughout as students read and write across these discipline areas. Further, the ideas and information in these areas will be indispensable to their continued journey through higher education. As they use the sixteen Thinking-Centered Tools to read and write about topics in these discipline areas, the ideas they gain and thoughts they create will open up a new world of understanding. The goal is for students to be able to think independently, work collaboratively, inquire with focus, and express their ideas and thoughts (voices) with confidence – to become artists of the written and spoken word.

How it Works

Each seminar features an opening activity, main activity, closing activity, and homework assignment to reinforce understanding of key concepts and learning through use of the specially designed tools introduced in the book. While highly effective in the classroom setting, in these times where remote delivery of instruction due to COVID-19 is necessitated, this well-defined design allows each student to complete their work in a clear and effective way. Use of the binder-ready version of the book provides flexibility for completed work to be sent to faculty for their comments and then back to students in a timely fashion.  Once classroom instruction will again be possible, the bound and digital versions of the book can be utilized with equal effectiveness according to the situation and preference. Thoughtful peer discussion and recommendations are called for in many of the activities throughout the book. Students continually write their thoughts in response to prompts about what they read, as well as when they work on their Educated Opinion Paper and more extensive Investigative Article.

As you look through examples of content from the book on the following pages, you will see that students are guided by the Thinking-Centered Tools of Our Thinking Toolbox to present their perspectives in writing and discussion about what they read. They complete several relatively short writing assignments and then progress to writing a full investigative article for which they create a plan, conduct research, and report findings about a specific problem they consider to be of great importance. The planning and writing of this investigative article is an opportunity for focused library research to make excellent use of this key resource that is available to them. This research endeavor will serve as a good preparation for the reading and writing called for in subsequent courses they will take and for future work at the graduate level. Most importantly, this will be their contribution to our greater understanding of some aspect of life around us and to the body of human knowledge.

Flexible and Adaptable

The Thinking-Centered approach that is brought to life through the 20 seminars in this book is both substantive and flexible. The material allows for you to address your students’ interests, needs, and ideas in the following ways:

(1) to integrate additional readings and writing assignments;

(2) to extend the time given to any of the readings or any part of the Investigative Article writing project;

(3) to publish (“in-house”) your students’ set of Investigative Articles into a collection that can be called, for example, Investigation into Problems of Our Times: Our Thoughts Our Voices.

Final Thought

The Reading-Writing Thinking Connection: Your Thoughts Your Voice creates a “Culture of Thinking” in the teaching and learning environment and relationship. Through key strategies and effective tools, students discover their potential to think and write well as they analyze authentic texts and investigate problems. They come to recognize reading and writing as natural and vital human activities that are valuable to them, both in their education and in their lives.

About the Authors

Suzanne Borman is a former professor of teacher education at Alliant International University.

William Borman is a former professor of philosophy at community colleges in New York and San Diego.

Sylvia Garcia-Navarrete is a professor of English and Reading at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, and a founding faculty member of the Restorative Justice at Donovan Prison (RJD) Program. She has also taught in the Second Chance Program (from incarceration to workforce and the community) in San Diego, California.

Joel Levine is dean of the School of Language, Literature, and Humanities at Southwestern College and part of the team that designed the Restorative Justice at Donovan Prison (RJD) Program.

Yuki Yamamoto is a professor of ESL at Cuyamaca College and Southwestern College.

To preview examples of content and features within the book, look through the following pages.