Keys for Writers, 5th ed.

Keys for Writers, 5th ed. Ann Raimes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Pp. xvii +596.

Reviewed by Brendan Moloney
The University of Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

While many teachers and students spend considerable time searching the Internet to find answers to writing questions, they may overlook a gem of a student writing handbook: Ann Raimes Keys for Writers (5th ed.). Full of relevant and interesting material, packaged in a user-friendly and visually pleasing way, and divided into two main sections, The Writing Process and Working with Sources and Sentence Level Issues, the handbook is highly attractive foruniversity students, especially ESL learners, and writing teachers.
The first section of the handbook has ten separate parts. The first five–The Writing Process; Doing Research/Evaluating Sources; MLA Documentation; APA, CSE and Chicago; Documentation; Design, Media, and Presentation–deal with the writing process and writing with sources to assist students to master the initial steps of writing, choose a reference style, and learn how to present an academic paper. The next five–Style; Common Sentence Problems; Punctuation, Mechanics and Spelling; Language; Englishes and ESL; Glossaries and Index–cover sentence level issues by providing tips on writing well, how to avoid basic syntax mistakes, and write in English as a second language.
Despite the text s comprehensive coverage, there is one minor criticism. Although it is understandably difficult for authors to keep pace with the times, especially as students increasingly use reference material from the Internet, the section Design, Media and Presentation is nevertheless problematic.While Raimes decision to exploreInternet sources, online writing, and the like in this chapter is understandable, the section sits uncomfortably in the work as a whole. Even though it is helpful for some students, it is quite possible that universitystudents (whom the book seems mainly to be geared towards) are a few steps ahead of the information presented. Despite this criticism, the book has many positive points. One positive feature is its presentation: Color-coded and ring-bound, the easy-to-carry paper-back fits neatly into a satchel and a flip tab section separates each section from the next. Another is its attractively laid out illustrations and visuals.Readers will also appreciate the tip sections which appear throughout book (e.g. helpful guides such as Getting Started, Cultural Differences in Writing, and Ways to Approach Report Writing) and the links to additional online sources that teachers can use to promote independent learning.
Because of its comprehensive coverage and many positive points, Keys for Writers is certainly a certainly a worthwhile resource valuable addition to any personal or school resource library.