"When we sharpen a pencil, we get to the point by subtracting. When we write, we get to the point by adding. The modifier is the essential part of any sentence."
- Career English teacher, retired
- Director of Write for College, for 24 years a summer writing program reaching over 1000 high school students
- Author and editor
- Frequent presenter at writing conferences, including National Council of Teachers of English and the Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar
I must admit that I cannot take credit for figuring all this out. That honor goes to Dr. Francis Christensen, who was a professor at the University of Southern California. In 1967 he published his masterpiece, The Christensen Rhetoric Program, which unveiled this entirely new approach that consistently resulted in immediate and dramatic improvement in student writing.
In 1991 I met with his widow, Dr. Bonniejean Christensen, who had spent the intervening years editing and reprinting their mutual writings after his death in 1970. Unable to continue these responsibilities, she thankfully entrusted me with the copyrights to all of their works. Since then I have revised his original text and written an additional pair of workbooks, resulting in a three-book series, published as The Stewart English Program (seen in the photo of her above, and below), which spans grades seven through twelve. I have also reprinted Christensen's collected essays, called Notes Toward A New Rhetoric: Nine Essays For Teachers.
Throughout my teaching career, Write for College has provided my favorite moments in the classroom—aha! moments when the students discover the meaning of free modifiers, learn how to defeat choppy sentences, understand the meaning of "flow," and design an essay from start to finish in their heads before they have even typed one letter.
And never yawning.
"Write for College" brochure — 2012
All of these books are available on Amazon, or from the publisher, BookLocker.com, in quantity.