For decades, Read, Reason, Write has been a popular and successful textbook in composition and first-year writing courses, as well as in courses on rhetoric and argumentation.

I am thrilled to be working with my former professor and original author of Read, Reason, Write: An Argument Text and Reader, Dorothy U. Seyler, Professor Emerita of English at Northern Virginia Community College, as the textbook moves into its 12th edition. 

For decades, Read, Reason, Write has been a popular and successful textbook in composition and first-year writing courses, as well as in courses on rhetoric and argumentation. Read the Table of Contents here in PDF.

Read, Reason, Write unites instruction in critical reading and analysis, argument, and research strategies with a rich collection of readings that provide both practice for these skills and new ideas and insights for readers.

Read, Reason, Write is committed to showing students how reading, analytic, argumentative, and research skills are interrelated and how these skills combine to develop each student's critical thinking ability.

Watch the video introducing the 12th edition.

New to the 12th Edition

This new edition continues the key features of Read, Reason, Write while adding new material to prove the adage about good wine: We don’t grow old, just better! New features include:

  • Outstanding new readingsCompelling writing comes from reading and analyzing compelling works. The edition keeps the classic essays and best writers from the 11th (e.g., Gloria Steinem and Steven Pinker) while adding new readings that are more than 50 percent of the total. Some of the most influential thinkers writing today are here (e.g., Adam Grant and Kwame Anthony Appiah).  Included are four college presidents (e.g., Janet Napolitano and Sanford Ungar), Pulitzer Prize winners (e.g. Anne Applebaum), internationally recognized syndicated columnists (e.g., Fareed Zakaria), renown legal minds (e.g., Geoffrey Stone and David Strauss), and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. 
  • New coverageThere is important new material on visual rhetoric and visual literacy in Chapter 5 and on the enthymeme in Chapter 6.  And in the Appendix you will find a new short story—“The Last Civilized Act”—graciously provided by contemporary fiction writer and poet Janet Talliaferro.
  • Updated MLA documentation. The research chapters are completely updated to be consistent with the guidelines in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook.  New explanations guide students to understanding the concepts informing MLA’s new documentation requirements. 
  • More visuals. The 12th edition has even more visuals than the 11th, consistent with the style of today’s media.
  • New arrangement of essays. The anthology now has seven rather than eight chapters with most chapters having an additional work, demonstrating the wide range of issues within a topic. Most of the teaching chapters now conclude with two or three essays, providing more opportunities for practice with each chapter’s focus. As always, the essays focus on both current issues relevant to students (e.g., free speech on campus, global warming, the Professor Watchlist) and broader social, political, and philosophical debates that remain important to all of us (e.g., the role of torture, ongoing challenges of racism, the role of political dissent).

From the Authors

I have written in previous prefaces to Read, Reason, Write that being asked to prepare a new edition is much like being asked back to a friend’s home: You count on it and yet are still delighted when the invitation comes. But an invitation to a 12th edition?! I am amazed and humbled. I am also delighted to introduce you to my new co-author Allen and to share with you our story. Allen is actually a former student of mine from Northern Virginia Community College. He was kind enough to let me know when he completed his PhD and took a position at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore—and thus made it easy for me to find him when the time came to bring in a new member of the team.

We can assert that while Allen has brought some fresh ideas to this edition, the essential character of this text remains the same: to help students become better writers of the kinds of papers they are most often required to write both in college and the workplace, that is, summaries, analyses, reports, arguments, and documented essays. Read, Reason, Write remains committed to showing students how reading, analytic, argumentative, and research skills are interrelated and how these skills combine to develop critical thinking.

It continues to be true that no book of value is written alone. Over its more than 30 years of life, a chorus of voices have enriched this text, too many now to list them all. Two editors should be given a special thanks, though: Steve Pensinger, who led the team through four early editions, and Lisa Moore who brought new ideas to the sixth and seventh editions. Other sponsoring editors, developmental editors, and production editors have enriched my journey through 11 editions and aided us in preparing this 12th edition. May you all live long and prosper!

With Allen’s support I will once more close by dedicating Read, Reason, Write to my daughter Ruth who, in spite of her own career and interests, continues to give generously of her time, reading possible essays and listening patiently to my endless debates about changes. And for all of the new students who will use this edition: May you understand that it is the liberal education that makes continued growth of the human spirit both possible and pleasurable.

Dorothy U. Seyler, Professor Emerita, Northern Virginia Community College

Allen Brizee, Associate Professor of Writing, Loyola University Maryland

About the Authors

Dorothy Seyler is Professor Emerita of English at Northern Virginia Community College. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, Dr. Seyler holds advanced degrees from Columbia University and the State University of New York at Albany. She taught at Ohio State University, the University of Kentucky, and Nassau Community College before moving with her family to Northern Virginia.

In addition to articles published in both scholarly journals and popular magazines, Dr. Seyler is the author of 10 college textbooks, including Introduction to Literature, Doing Research, Steps to College Reading, and Patterns of Reflection.  Read, Reason, Write was first published in 1984. In 2007 she was elected to membership in the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, for “excellence in education.”

Professor Seyler is also the author of The Obelisk and the Englishman: The Pioneering Discoveries of Egyptologist William Bankes (2015), a “fascinating story,” according to Kirkus Reviews, “of a figure who deserves to be much better known.”  She enjoys tennis, golf, and travel—and writing about both sports and travel.

Allen Brizee is Associate Professor of Writing at Loyola University Maryland. At Loyola, Professor Brizee teaches courses in first-year writing, rhetoric, technical writing, and writing for the web.  He also coordinates the writing internship program. Allen began his journey as a student of Dorothy’s at Northern Virginia Community College. After graduating, he transferred to Virginia Tech, where he earned a BA in English (Phi Beta Kappa) and a Master’s in English.

Professor Brizee taught part time at Northern Virginia Community College, The George Washington University, and the University of Maryland while working as a technical writer. He then completed his PhD at Purdue and, while there, also worked on the widely used Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Professor Brizee’s research interests include writing pedagogy and civic engagement, and he has published articles in a number of academic journals. He co-authored Partners in Literacy: A Writing Center Model for Civic Engagement and co-edited Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education, 3rd edition. He enjoys collaborating with community groups in Baltimore and participating in medieval martial arts.