Essential Skills List

Here’s a PDF version for download: Essential Skills List

Over the course of the semester, you will be expected to master the following skills.  Each assignment will flag the particular skills being developed by that assignment.  If you’re ever not sure where you should be in the class, reflect back on this handout and consider how you are progressing.

A.  Reading Skills:

  1. Identifying arguments in an essay.
  2. Evaluating the effectiveness (strengths / weaknesses) of these arguments: use of evidence, tone, point-of view.
  3. Understanding the differing strengths of different types of writing.
  4. Researching the credentials of a writer.

B.  Argument Skills:

  1. Developing an argument for an essay.
  2. Writing a specific, insightful, clear, and arguable thesis.
  3. Articulating clear reasons for the argument (defending a stance).
  4. Addressing contrary views.
  5. Using quotations to support the argument.

C.  Essay Elements:

  1. Writing effective introductory paragraphs.
  2. Developing full, distinct body paragraphs.
  3. Crafting purposeful topic sentences.
  4. Linking body paragraphs with transitions.
  5. Concluding body paragraphs effectively.
  6. Writing effective concluding paragraphs.

D.  Presentation Elements:

  1. Formatting the essay in MLA style (first page, paragraphing, header / pagination, and Works Cited page).
  2. Handling source titles properly (quotation marks or italics).
  3. Contextualizing sources used in my essay.
  4. Using parenthetical citations correctly.
  5. Integrating quotations into my essay (quotation sandwiches).
  6. Using and documenting paraphrases where appropriate.
  7. Compiling an accurate and precise Works Cited page.

E.  Writerly Concerns:

  1. Writing grammatically correct prose.
  2. Using appropriate vocabulary and tone.