Academic Writing Resources

Regents Writing Guides
Session One, Part A: Listening and Writing for Information and Understanding
Session One, Part B: Reading and Writing for Information and Understanding

Session Two, Part A: Reading and Writing for Literary Response
     Plan of Action
     Sample essay
     Sample essay with step-by-step instructional breakdown
     Discussion paragraph breakdown from Anchor Paper
     
Session Two, Part B: Reading and Writing for Critical Analysis ("Critical Lens")
     Plan of Action
     Sample Essay 1
     Sample Essay 1 with step-by-step instructional breakdown
     Sample Essay 2
     Sample Essay 3 (pdf)
       
Click here to download and view past Regents exams; Adobe Reader required.

General Guidelines for Essay Writing
Just a few basic guidelines for any kind of expository writing, whether it's for the Regents Exam, a high school or college research paper, etc.

Awkward Sentences
You'll notice that sometimes I write the abbreviation "awk." next to a phrase or sentence in your revision. That means the sentence is so awkwardly written that I really can't correct it on the page. This two-page resource provides some examples from essays written by 9th-grade students, along with explanations of what's wrong, and possible solutions. More examples

A Paragraph About Nothing
One thing I've been noticing lately about student writing, particularly Critical Lens Essays, is an overwhelming vagueness of language and references to texts. When writing about literature, it's important to be as specific as possible; you cannot assume that whoever is reading your essay has read the book you're writing about. At the very least, you need to indicate that you read it and that you know what you're writing about. This resource shows a single paragraph from a critical lens essay that is over 200 words in length, contains no technical errors and uses precise, sophisticated language, but ultimately says absolutely nothing.

Using Verbs-of-Doing in Literary Essays
One way to make your writing more clear and succinct, even in expository essays, is to use verbs-of-doing, just like in writing stories. This resource will provide some examples of how you can do this. (See also: Verbs Of Doing)

Basic Literary Essay
Not a Regents resource, but a useful guideline for how to construct an essay in terms of stating your thesis in an introduction, supporting it with evidence from the text, and adding an effective conclusion. See also General Guidelines for Essay Writing.

Literary Devices
One of the annoying things about the English Regents exam is that you need to refer to literary elements and techniques in your essays for Session Two (Parts A and B). It's not enough, however, to simply throw literary terms in there at random. It's not enough to know what literary terms mean; you need to be able to recognize literary elements and techniques in the literature you read, you need to understand how they work, how the elements are identified and how the techniques are used, and you need to know how to explain it to the reader of your essay. Here at last is a resource that not only defines more than 40 literary terms, it offers examples of how each can be used in a sentence that indicates an understanding of its meaning.

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