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Glossary of Writing and Reading Terms

What we talk about when we talk about writing.

The goal of the Landmark College Writing Project Glossary is to provide a shared vocabulary to facilitate conversation among students, faculty, and staff about writing and about how we teach and support student writers. This conversation and common conceptual knowledge should strengthen the use of writing as a pedagogical tool at Landmark College and allow students to transfer and build upon their writing knowledge and practices as they progress from introductory and required writing courses to higher-level courses throughout the curriculum. The glossary is intended as a living document that can be added to and revised over time.

Many of the terms contained in this glossary can apply to speaking and other forms of communication. While some of the glossary entries make explicit connections between spoken, multi-modal, and written composition, its emphasis is on written texts.


| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W |

Hover over term to see definition.



First order/second order thinking

Five-paragraph essay






Acknowledgements: This glossary was written over the course of four years with the input and collaboration of many people at Landmark College: the writing faculty, the Writing Glossary task force, and the generous input of many other faculty and staff.

This work was an initiative of the Landmark College Writing Project (2017 – 2021), using generous grant funding from the Davis Educational Foundation. We now refer to this program as Writing Across the Curriculum at Landmark College.

Works Cited in this Glossary

Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action. Louisiana State University. 1941. PDF at

Elbow, Peter. “Teaching Thinking by Teaching Writing.” Change. 15:6. (1983): 37 – 40. Accessed 8 January 2021.

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. Fourth Edition. New York: WW Norton. 2018. Print.

Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time. New York: Doubleday. 1988. Print.

“Historical Perspectives on argumentation”: “Classical Argument,” “Toulmin Argument,” and “Rogerian Argument.” Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Accessed 11 January 2021.

Hjortshoj, Keith. The Transition to College Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001.

Lamott, Anne. “Shitty First Drafts.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. 9th Edition. Ed. Paul Eschholz et. al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005, 93 – 96. PDF from the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. Accessed 29 December 2020.

Murray, Donald. “The Maker’ Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. 8th Edition. Ed. Paul Eschholz et. al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 161 – 65. Print.

Lewis, Lesle, and Peg Alden. “What We Can Learn about Writing Blocks from College Students with Output Problems, Strong Writing Skills, and Attentional Difficulties.” Journal of Teaching Writing. 23.1 (2007): 115 – v146. PDF at

Rose, Mike. Writer’s Block: The Cognitive Dimension. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press, 1984. Print.

Thaiss, Chris, and Terry Myers Zawacki. Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton, Cook, Heinemann. 2006.

“Text.” Oxford English and Spanish Dictionary online. Accessed 11 January 2021.

“Theory.” Cambridge Dictionary online. Accessed 11 January 2021.

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