Higher Education

A Community of Readers: A Thematic Approach to Reading, 6th Edition

  • Roberta Alexander San Diego City College
  • Jan Jarrell San Diego City College
  • ISBN-10: 1111834571  |  ISBN-13: 9781111834579
  • 512 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2007, 2004
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $103.50 List Price = $ 137.95
  • Newer Edition Available



Focused on interesting, contemporary themes, A COMMUNITY OF READERS teaches college-level reading skills through readings from textbooks and from authors who write about real-life issues that engage students. A COMMUNITY OF READERS, the second of two books in the Alexander reading series, offers guided, detailed instruction on all steps in the reading and learning process: reading, discussing and reflecting, writing, and critical thinking. The authors use a unique system to teach the reading process called PRO (Prepare to Read, Read Actively and Reflect, and Organize to Learn), which gives students a concrete learning process to follow. Each chapter introduces a key reading skill (e.g., identifying main ideas, building vocabulary, understanding inferences) and focuses on one theme. This thematic organization helps students develop schema while improving their reading skills. The Sixth Edition maintains the focus on student participation in the classroom community and covers basic to high level reading skills including examining fact and opinion, understanding bias, and thinking critically.

Features and Benefits

  • Dynamic introductions draw students into the chapter theme with intriguing visuals and provocative quotations and questions.
  • Exercises that require writing and a "Write About It" feature help build the reading-writing connection.
  • "Reader's Tips" integrated into each chapter support students' reading skills.
  • Easy-to-find vocabulary words and definitions enable students to comprehend information at a glance.
  • "Put It Together" charts help students identify and define key concepts in each chapter.
  • Web activities in every chapter and instruction on "Evaluating and Navigating Websites" prepare students for research in other disciplines and in freshman composition.
  • "Reading Visual Aids" instruction is integrated throughout the text and highlighted in a condensed, updated section.
  • "A Reader's Toolkit" allows students to study independently and test themselves on their skills. Additional mastery tests and two cumulative mastery tests give students the opportunity to test themselves on all the skills covered in the text and can be used for review or as pre- and post-test instruments.
  • An entire chapter, "Working with Words," is dedicated to building vocabulary, and vocabulary exercises accompany almost every reading.
  • A thematic approach allows students to focus on a single topic and explore complex material from different viewpoints.

Table of Contents

1. The Reading Process: Joining a Community of Readers.
Reading 1, "The Pact," by Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. George Jenkins, and Dr. Rameck Hunt, with Lisa Frazier Page. The Reading Process: PRO. Preparing to Read. Determining Your Purpose. Previewing. Previewing a Section. Using Previous Knowledge. Predicting What You Will Learn. Reading 2, "Success in College: You Decide," by Skip Downing. Reading Actively and Reflecting. Reading Actively. Reflecting. Reader''s Tip: Form a Study Group. Organizing What You Have Read. S:Selecting the Facts and Concepts You Need to Know. U:Using the Material You''ve Selected. R:Reciting the Information. E:Examining Your Learning Periodically. Reading 3, "Suburb High, USA: School or Prison," by Marley Peifer. Reader''s Tip: Use a Textbook. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 1A, "Take Your Memory Out of the Closet," by Dave Ellis.
2. Working with Words: Living with Technology.
Reading 1, "Can You Hold Please? Your Brain Is on the Line," by Elijah James. Working with Words. Reading and Vocabulary. Context Clues. Definition and Synonym Clues. Example Clues. General Information Clues. Contrast Clues. Reading 2, "Cyber-Bullying Defies Traditional School Bully Stereotype," by Gregg MacDonald. Word Parts. Prefixes. Roots. Suffixes and Parts of Speech. The Dictionary. Parts of a Dictionary Entry. Choosing the Correct Meaning from the Dictionary. Reading 3, "The Robot Revolution," by George Beekman and Ben Beekman. Reader''s Tip: Learn Specialized Vocabulary with Textbook Aids. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 2A, "Looking into Your Brain," by Mauricio Medina.
3. Topics and Main Ideas: Our Food, Our Culture.
Reading 1, "Oh, the Flavor of Your Fries," by Eric Schlosser. Topics and Main Ideas. Topics. Main Ideas. Stated Main Ideas in Paragraphs. Reader''s Tip: Identify General and Specific Information. Restating Main Ideas. Implied Main Ideas in Paragraphs. Main Ideas in Short Passages. Main Ideas and Thesis Statements in Long Passages. Reading 2, "Celebrations of Thanksgiving: A Marriage of Contrasting Traditions," by April Reynolds. Reading 3, "Table Rituals," by Laurie Tarkan. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 3A, "Behind the Counter," by Eric Schlosser.
4. Support for Main Ideas: Staying Well.
Reading 1, "Wellness: The New Health Goal," by Paul M. Insel, Walton T. Roth, L. McKay Rollins, and Ray A. Peterson. Supporting Points. Major Supporting Points. Minor Supporting Points. Distinguishing Between Major and Minor Supporting Points. Organizing to Learn. Marking Texts. Making Bulleted Lists. Mapping. Outlining. Summarizing. Reader''s Tip: State and Source and Main Idea in Summaries. Reading 2, "Understanding Emotional Intelligence," by Skip Downing. Reading 3, "Stressed Out?" by National Institutes of Health. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 4A, "Drugs: The Truth," by Dave Ellis.
5. Patterns of Organization: Where We Live, Our Communities.
Reading 1, "American Cities One Hundred Years Ago," by Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, George M. Fredrickson, and R. Hall Williams. Patterns of Organization. Chronological Order and Narration. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Creating a Time Line. Definition and Classification. Transitions. and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Creating a Vocabulary List. Exemplification. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Using an Outline and Map. Cause and Effect. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Creating a Chart. Comparison and Contrast. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Creating a Circle Diagram. Process. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Creating a Flow Chart. Reading 2, "Gated Developments: Fortresses or Communities?" by Heather Eudy. Combined Patterns of Organization. Problem and Solution. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Using a Chart and a Bulleted List. Argument. Transitions and Clues. Organizing to Learn: Using Many Options. Reading 3, "Curitiba, Brazil--A City with a Sustainable Vision," by Daniel D. Chiras. Reader''s Tip: Summary Chart of Transitions and Clues for Patterns of Organization. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 5A, "Life and Death in an Indian City," by Joan Ferrante.
6. Inferences and Reading Literature.
Reading 1, "Sex and Gender," by William E. Thompson and Joseph V. Hickey. Inferences. Inferences from Visual Aids. Inferences in Textbooks. Inferences in Autobiographies. Reading 2, "Six, Lies, and Conversation," by Deborah Tannen. Inferences from Words. Connotations. Irony. Reading Literature. Imagery. Similes. Metaphors. Poetry. Reader''s Tip: Key Questions for Reading Fiction. Reading 3, "Sally," by Sandra Cisneros. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 6A, "Black Men and Public Space," Brent Staples.
7. Facts and Opinions: Living in a Diverse Society.
Reading 1, "Identity in Transformation," by Yasmin Ahmed. Fact and Opinion. Fact. Opinion. Recognizing Fact and Opinion. Evaluating Facts. What Are the Sources of the Facts? Which Facts Are Included? Reading 2, "Colorblind: When Blacks and Whites Can See No Gray," by Alex Kotlowitz. Evaluating Opinions. What Are the Author''s Worldview and Point of View? What Is the Author''s Purpose? Reader''s Tip: What Is the Author''s Tone? Reading 3, "Signing for a Revolution: Gallaudet University," by Heather Eudy. Chapter Review. Mastery Test 7A, "Spanish at School Translates to Suspension," by T. R. Reid.
8. Critical Thinking: Crime and Punishment
Reading 1, "Lizzie Borden, Murderer," by James Kirby Martin et al. Critical Thinking. Reading Skills. Reader''s Tip: Fallacies. Key Questions for Critical Thinking. Reading 2, "End the War on Pot," by Nicholas Kristoff. Reading 3, "One in a Hundred," by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Chapter Review, Mastery Test 8A, "The Falsely Accused on Death Row," by Missy Gish.
Additional Mastery Tests.
Mastery Test 1B, "What Is Collaborative Learning?" by Toni Haring-Smith
Mastery Test 2B, "A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears," by Paul Vitello.
Mastery Test 3B, "Eating: Why We Do It When We do," by Douglas A. Bernstein and Peggy W. Nash.
Mastery Test 4B, "A Personal Stress Survival Guide," by Dianne Hales.
Mastery Test 5B, "Sociological Perspectives on Urbanization and City Life," by Alex Thio.
Mastery Test 6B, "The Men We Carry in Our Minds," by Scott Russell Sanders.
Mastery Test 7B, "Rage," by Martin Espada.
Mastery Test 8b, "Drug-Abusing Mothers-To-Be: Are They Criminals?" by Danuta Bukatko and Marvin W. Daehler.
Cumulative Mastery Tests.
Cumulative Mastery Test A, "The Pill," by Paul S. Boyer, Clifford E. Clark, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, Neal Salisbury, Harvard Sitkoff, and Nancy Woloch.
Cumulative Mastery Test B, "The National Eating Disorder," by Jamal Jackson.
1. Reading Visual Aids.
Maps. Graphs. Pie Charts.
2. Note Taking: The Cornell Note-Taking System.
Record. Reduce. Reflect. Recite. Review. Use the Cornell Method.
3. Test Taking.
Overcome Test Anxiety. Anticipate Test Questions. Follow Directions. Understand the Types of Questions. Objective Questions. Essay Questions. Vocabulary Clues for Test Taking. In Objective Questions. In Essay Questions.
4. Writing Tips for Readers.
5. Evaluating and Navigating Websites.
Source. Who Is Giving You the Information? Should You Trust the Author? Currency. How Current Is the Site--That Is, Is the Information Kept Up-To-Date? Usefulness. How Useful Is the Site? The Elements of a Website.
6. Reader Response Journals.
7. Reading Circles.
Get Organizing. Reading Circle Meetings. Final Presentation (Optional). Role Assignment Sheets. Summarizer. Discussion Leader. Passage Selector. Researcher/Connector. Illustrator. Vocabulary Finder. Anonymous Reading Circle Evaluations (Sample).
8. Poster Sessions.
Preparing Your Topic. Preparing Your Poster. Content. Visual Appearance. Preparing Your Oral Presentation. Giving Your Presentation. Poster Session Peer Evaluations. How Poster Sessions Are Graded.
9. Suggested Reading for Book Projects.

What's New

  • Heightened emphasis on critical thinking as a reading skill is integrated throughout the book, culminating in a refocused final chapter.
  • Chapter 8 has an entirely new theme--crime and punishment--and the pedagogy has been trimmed and recast to focus squarely on critical thinking and the process of reaching well-informed opinions.
  • Ten new readings keep the issues and themes contemporary.
  • An entirely new design makes the book more accessible and adds the interest of 4-color.
  • Aplia's innovative and easy-to-use technology offers students interactive learning experiences and immediate feedback as well as innovative teaching materials and automatically graded coursework.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: A Community of Readers: A Thematic Approach to Reading, 6th + Aplia Printed Access Card for Basic Writing 1

ISBN-10: 1305412575 | ISBN-13: 9781305412576

List Price = $144.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $107.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • A Community of Readers: A Thematic Approach to Reading
    List Price = $137.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $103.50
  • Aplia Printed Access Card for Basic Writing 1
    List Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $60.00

Efficacy and Outcomes


"I like the way this book is organized. The readings and exercises are high-interest, contemporary topics that motivate my students to read their assignments."

— Donna Richardson-Hall, Mercer County Community College

"I like the readings and the materials, and exercises are easy to grasp, giving students confidence."

— Khairunessa Dossani, De Anza College


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1133232205 | ISBN-13: 9781133232209)

Aplia is an online, auto-graded homework system that improves learning by increasing student effort and engagement--without requiring more work from the instructor. (Access card/code required).

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

Instructor's Resource Manual  (ISBN-10: 0840028989 | ISBN-13: 9780840028983)

The Instructor's Resource Manual is written by the author and contains teaching suggestions, including tips for teaching critical thinking, incorporating writing assignments, approaching the readings, and more. The IRM also covers ESL topics, information on TASP and CLAST Reading Skills Proficiency Tests, and Answer Keys.

Student Supplements

Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1133232205 | ISBN-13: 9781133232209)

Aplia is an online, auto-graded homework system that improves learning by increasing student effort and engagement--without requiring more work from the instructor. (Access card/code required).

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

LMS Integrated for Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285323351 | ISBN-13: 9781285323350)

Succeed in your reading course with one full semester of access to Aplia's interactive learning system--featuring practice problems with immediate feedback and tools developed specifically for A COMMUNITY OF READERS: A THEMATIC APPROACH TO READING, 6th Edition. Aplia has already helped more than a million students succeed in college classes.

List Price = $80.00  | CengageBrain Price = $80.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $80.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Roberta Alexander

Dr. Roberta Alexander is Professor Emeritus at San Diego City College. She has taught Reading, Composition, Literature, Chicano Studies, and Black Studies as well as English as a Second Language courses for the San Diego Community College District since 1974. Formerly the Department Chair of English, Chair of Chairs, and Academic Senate President, she now focuses on teaching and writing. She is the author of a series of college reading textbooks. Dr. Alexander earned her BA in Spanish Literature from University of California, Berkeley and her PhD in Comparative Literature from University of California, San Diego.

Jan Jarrell

Jan Jarrell is the ESOL coordinator at San Diego City College. She has taught English as a Second Language, Reading, and Composition courses in both the credit and noncredit divisions of the San Diego City College District since 1989. She has held a number of leadership positions including Department Chair and Interim Associate Dean in the noncredit division, and Basic Skills Coordinator.