Beyond Fitting In: Rethinking First-Generation Writing and Literacy Education

Modern Language Association of America Feb. 2023. 354p. ed. by Kelly Ritter. ISBN 9781603296021. $105. REF
Broadly defining literacy as the ability to comprehend specialized texts and complex topics without outside assistance, Ritter (writing and communication, Georgia Tech.; Reframing the Subject) and contributors recommend instructors not expect first-generation students to adapt themselves to current educational practices. The book, with contributions from 22 faculty and 11 non-faculty members, including current first-generation students or recent graduates, suggests that instructors meet students at the their current level of academic experience. The foreword, introduction, 16 essays with endnotes and short bibliographies, and afterword discuss various aspects of teaching first-generation students, including student demographics and structuring syllabi. It also examines the differences between first-generation and traditional college students’ needs regarding college preparedness, acceptance, transferring from community college vs. starting at a four-year institution, utilizing writing centers, and the environment’s effect upon learning. This book examines what goes on behind the scenes with both students and instructors, whereas similar titles concentrate on the actual teaching process, techniques, improving outcomes, and setting goals and expectations.
VERDICT Will be of interest to graduate students, teaching graduate assistants, researchers, and faculty. Due to its lack of an index, traditional nonfiction and professional collections might benefit more than a traditional reference section.
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