Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
Unit 1: Those Little Marks – Punctuation Page Punctuation Makes Things Clear

As you build your English vocabulary, do more reading, and have more ideas to share, you'll want to write more. In order to express your ideas clearly, you need to set up your sentences in a way that is easy to read. In English, we use special marks called punctuation to do this. Punctuation tells the reader if a sentence is ending or continuing, if the writer is excited or asking a question, which words go together, and many other things. Read this page to understand why punctuation is so important in English.

Page Ending a Sentence: Periods, Exclamation Marks, and Question Marks

When we read, we know a sentence ends when we see specific marks. Typically, these marks are periods, exclamation points, or question marks. While these may seem simple, "end-sentence" punctuation is very important for letting a reader know that a sentence is concluding. When we use them incorrectly, we end up with incomplete or run-on sentences that can confuse our readers. Read this page to learn when, why, and how to use periods and exclamation marks.

Page Commas
Many writers, including native English speakers, say that commas are confusing. They're not always sure when to use them or what purpose they serve. But there is no reason to be confused or intimidated by commas. Following a few rules will help you use these punctuation marks clearly and effectively. Read the rules listed on this page. Watch the video for an example of how to figure out if a comma is needed in a sentence. Finally, complete the exercises and place the commas in the correct locations.
Unit 2: Read, Read, and Read More! Page Reading for Vocabulary

As you begin your program of study, you'll find that there are words specific to that field. Words that are used frequently in app development may not be used at all in marketing. Or, the same words may be used, but in very different ways. It's important to know how your field uses vocabulary and what is meant by certain words and phrases. Watch this video to see a few strategies for learning the specialized vocabulary for your field.

Page Using a KIM Chart

It can be overwhelming to keep track of all the new words and phrases you learn throughout your education. A KIM chart is a good way to help you keep track of and remember all this new vocabulary. KIM stands for keyword, information, memory cue. Using a KIM chart can help you retain the vocabulary you're learning and show you how far you've come in your academic English language abilities. Read this page on creating a KIM chart and then complete the activity.

File Handout: KIM Chart

This is a printable handout that summarizes what you just read.

Page Mapping What You Read

When you're done reading and have a good understanding of the meaning of the words used, it's time to think about the ideas or concepts that the writer shared. Some articles include a lot of ideas and concepts, so it's helpful to be able to organize them in a way that's easy to refer to. Concept maps help break down large chunks of information into what's important. This helps you understand and remember what you read. Watch this video on creating a concept map, and then complete the activity.

File Handout: Concept Map

This is a printable handout that summarizes what you just read.

Unit 3: Reading to Write Page Synthesis

You just finished reading a long article for a class. Now what? After you're sure you understand the vocabulary and concepts, it's time to pull it together with what you already know. Combining ideas like this is called synthesis. Think about what you already know about the topic of the article, and then think about what the article taught you. How does that help you create new ideas? What can you now figure out after pulling different ideas together? Watch this video on synthesizing to see how you can combine ideas to make new ideas.

File Handout: Synthesizing What You Read

This is a printable handout that summarizes what you just read.

Page Writing About My Synthesis

The final step after you've read an article, understood new concepts, and synthesized them is to share your new ideas. It can be helpful to keep track of your thoughts with a synthesis matrix. Read the information about creating one, and then complete the practice exercises.

File Handout: Blank Synthesis Matrix

This is a printable sample of a synthesis matrix. As you move further along in your studies, you can use a matrix like this to help you organize research and the different ideas discussed in your field.

Page Synthesis Essay Example and Rubric

In the next section, you will write a synthesis essay in which you will include your ideas on a topic. Here, you will find a sample synthesis essay that will guide you and the rubric that will point out the elements considered in assessing your essay. Carefully examine the information on this page prior to writing your essay. 

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