Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2020


In 1981, when I began teaching at Boise State University, the institution still filled the community college function, the teaching load was heavy (five or even six courses per term), and preparing students for first year writing was the goal of basic writing. I felt immersion in a full, rich writing and reading experience, not primarily grammar review, was essential. I entered Boise State with experience teaching at a small college in western North Carolina where I first encountered Mina Shaughnessy; I admired how she took basic writing seriously. After four years in North Carolina, in 1980-81, I participated in a year-long National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seminar titled “Literature and Literacy,” led by W. Ross Winterowd of the University of Southern California. During the seminar we read 1970s writing and reading theory, both conceived of as process, and worked to connect writing with reading. We read thinkers like James Britton, Donald Murray, and Peter Elbow on writing; and Louise Rosenblatt, Frank Smith, and Norman Holland on reading; and others who studied and wrote about full texts, response, revision, and writing and reading as mirror image acts. Thus, when I came to Boise State, I was excited to try these ideas.

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This document was originally published in Composition Studies Journal by the Composition Studies Journal. Copyright restrictions may apply.