Dear student:

We would like help you to prepare as much as possible before you start your formal classes in the C&T doctoral program. The mission of our program is to prepare teacher-scholars in the disciplines of composition and TESOL. When you start your coursework, it is important to have a fresh reading of texts selected by your instructors for their courses. The pre-program reading recommendations below may or may not be required in the courses you take.

While it is not possible to create a definitive short list of "best" readings, the following list is endorsed by the faculty as a good path for entering our community and the conversations that you will likely encounter in the C&T program. The following texts are given in alphabetical order.


Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge, Eng: Cambridge University Press.

Pennycock, A. (1994). The cultural politics of English as an international language. London: Longman.

Pinker, S. (2007). The stuff of thought: Language as a window into human nature. NY: Penguin.

Silva, T., and Matsuda, P.K., Eds. (2001). Landmark essays: On ESL writing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


Berlin, James. Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900-1985. Carbondale: Southern Illinois U P, 1987.

Lindemann, Erika and Daniel Anderson. A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers. Fourth edition. NY: Oxford U P, 2001.

McComisky, Bruce, ed. English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline. Urbana, Il: NCTE, 2007.

Villaneuva, Victor, ed. Cross-Talk in Comp theory: A Reader. Second edition. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1997.


The faculty also suggests you try to familiarize yourself with the leading journals in our fieldsApplied Linguistics, College Composition and Communication, College English, and Journal of Advanced Composition, Modern Language Review, and TESOL Quarterly.