“They Say / I Say” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein is a fantastic resource for students and everyone else interested in academic writing! It’s like the Swiss Army knife of academic writing, isn’t it? If you haven’t cracked the spine of this book, you’re in for a real treat. The beauty of “They Say / I Say” is its simple yet profound model for creating an effective argument.
By teaching students how to acknowledge “what they say” (the counterarguments or prevailing opinions) and then assert “what I say” (their own argument), the book provides a framework that’s flexible enough to be applied across disciplines. This conversational tactic makes for compelling, nuanced arguments.
They Say / I Say has multiple editions and I am sharing here the latest one (5th edition). This edition packs even more punch, addressing some of the gaps in previous versions. Let’s talk about the new chapter on research, which is pure gold. In the world of information overload, distinguishing credible sources from not-so-credible ones is a skill students desperately need.
This chapter guides them through the maze of academic journals, websites, and other sources, helping them not only find the right information but also integrate it effectively into their writing. The expanded support for reading is another feature I’m thrilled about. Remember that time you asked your students to critique a journal article and the room fell silent? This book now offers strategies to actively engage with texts, break them down, and even disagree with them. It’s like providing students with a set of reading glasses that help them see texts in high-definition, making it easier to respond to them effectively.
There is also the expanded chapter on Revising. Revision is where good writing becomes great, and this book takes it to the next level by providing actionable tips to rethink structure, tone, and argument strength. It’s not just about grammatical fixes; it’s about fine-tuning the engine of your argument to make it as compelling as possible.
Personally, the thing I appreciate the most about this book is how it doesn’t treat academic writing as some insurmountable mountain. It’s more like a puzzle that, when you have the right pieces (thanks to Graff and Birkenstein), becomes a joy to solve. It empowers students to see writing not as a chore but as a meaningful, even fun, way to engage in academic discourse.
Overall, “They Say / I Say” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein is an important resource for anyone involved in academic writing. Its straightforward approach demystifies the art of argumentation, making the daunting task of crafting compelling essays or research papers an engaging experience.
The latest edition ups the ante with new chapters and expanded sections that are meticulously designed to address the challenges students face today. What I particularly love is the book’s ability to make academic writing accessible and even enjoyable, reframing it as an ongoing dialogue rather than a monologue. If you’re serious about honing your writing skills or equipping your students to excel in academic discourse, this book is a must-have on your reading list.
I hope you found this They Say / I Say summary helpful!