Recently I read a paper written by Dr. Roskelly entitled “What Do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric?” In this paper, Roskelly (n.d.) submitted that as high school students become conscience of how rhetoric works, this can transform their reading, writing, and speaking abilities.
I decided to explore the topic of rhetoric because the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) of English Language Arts mentions rhetoric six times.
SL Standard 3
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
• Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
• Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
RI Standard 6
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
• Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
• Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.
Roskelly (n.d.) highlighted that, “what students need to know about rhetoric is in many ways what they know already about the way they interact with others and with the world” (p.13). Extending on that thought, students also need to be mindful of how reading and writing connect within a rhetorical context. “The cognitive processes used in reading are identical to those involved in writing” (DeFord, 1994). Therefore, by using CCSS, educators are able to sharpen the parallel processes of reading and writing whilst supporting the development of student’s rhetorical control.
This is important because teaching youngsters about reading and writing through the lens of rhetoric will aid students in becoming both an author of and an audience for their messages. Roskelly (n.d.) submitted that “any text students read can be useful for teachers in teaching the elements of rhetoric” (p. 10). Hence, as students are taught to navigate the forest of rhetoric, teachers may employ the parallel teaching moves for reading and writing and all of the tools and appeals of rhetoric.
Common Core State Standards (2010). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf
DeFord, D.E. (1994). Early writing: Teachers and children in Reading Recovery. Literacy, Teaching and Learning, 1 (1), 31-56.
Roskelly, H. (n.d.). What do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric, College Board. Retrieved from http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/repository/ap06_englang_roskelly_50098.pdf