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Jasmine Johnson

Professor Holly Batty

English 101

24 May 2019

The View from the Mountaintop

Majoring in Political Science demands good reading and writing skills. Taking English

101 class at Los Angeles Valley College left a very positive impact on my reading and writing

skills. The metacognitive reading techniques I learned in this class made me a more critical

reader. The exercises we carried out in class improved my analytical skills, and that is something

I desperately needed. Professor Holly Batty introduced the three-story thesis, something I have

never learned before. She also drilled the importance and correct structure of outlining. These

techniques along with the extensive, interactive revision exercises we completed in class gave

my writing the complexity it lacked and enhanced my writing abilities.

The class offered metacognitive reading strategies. One exercise taught us how to apply

the CRAAP test to a Los Angeles Times article titled, “Why not let homeless college students

park in campus lots?”. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy,

and Purpose. I learned the importance of determining the authority and credibility of the source,

how recent the article is, and whether or not it is relevant to the audience the writer is addressing.

By applying this strategy, a reader has a better chance to know what to think and refrain from

using unreliable information.

Another exercise that contributed to my reading abilities was analyzing characters from a

novel we read, Still Water Saints, by the American author, Alex Espinoza. After the initial
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individual activity that included reading the novel and picking out a character to write about in

order to relate his or her experience to real life issues, the class engaged in an interactive activity

where the professor discussed different characters with the class and generated many questions

that focused on concepts and how they are related to other concepts. Recognizing story structure

is another skill this activity honed. We learned to identify characters, setting, events, problems,

and resolutions.

Writing an essay is less intimidating now, thanks to English 101. Perhaps the most

valuable thing that I learned in this class was to never start drafting without an outline. I used to

jump right to drafting and get lost during revision. I wasted so much time moving paragraphs

around aimlessly without following an outline which acts like a map for a writer. Without a clear

outline, a writer can get lost. The second valuable thing I learned as a writer was how to revise.

Discovering the reverse outlining is a life saver. It helps me check for cohesion by extracting one

main idea or one main argument from each paragraph, make sure that the sentences of each

paragraph support the topic sentence and that each paragraph summary relates back to the thesis

and all the ideas progress logically. It also allows the writer to change the order of these ideas if

necessary without losing content.

The writer in me celebrated the three-story thesis. What a clever way to move from the

plain five paragraph style to a more complex method of writing! At first the concept of the

three-story thesis can be intimidating because it is complex and requires creativity, but thanks to

Professor Batty who took the time to drill this strategy and produce three-story outlines in class

many times until the idea became clear. This structure is likened to a three-story house where the

first story presents unarguable facts, the second story is the writer’s opinion about the given
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facts, and that is always arguable, therefore, a counter argument should be included and

restatement of the writer’s original stand. Finally, the third story states the deeper significance

and implications of the issue being discussed. This strategy is invaluable and I will always utilize

to be an effective writer.

Everything I learned in English 101 will contribute to my success in the Political

Science field where students are often asked to produce a thousand-word essay on a topic. This

notion used to terrify me but now I am ready to I use the set of skills this classes equipped me

with to enhance my performance and achieve success.