Rhetoric and Composition Resources

Rhetoric, composition, and public speaking are not subjects that the average student enounters, but historically they were part of the building blocks of education. Two hundred years ago, these subjects were being taught to grade-school students.

These subjects are slowly re-entering schools’ curriculum, and if you’re one of those students — or a teacher faced with this lesson plan — here are some resources to help you uncover the mysteries of being a clear, logical thinker and speaker.

Rhetoric Composition Public Speaking

Rhetoric

  • Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples comes from the University of Kentucky’s Division of Classics.  This is an invaluable resource if you’re new to rhetoric terms or are struggling to understand an assignment because of all the new vocabulary you’re encountering.
  • Rhetoric is a great introduction and breakdown of this style of discourse from Carson-Newman University.  It gives a history of rhetoric, goes over some of the more common terms, and has links to examples.  This is another great place to start if you’re new to the subject.
  • Aristotle’s Rhetoric is the absolute ground-breaking text on discourse and logical discussions.  If you want to go straight to the source, this website from Iowa State University has an online version available to anyone, so you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
  • Silva Rhetoricae is basically an online course, presented on Brigham Young University’s website.  Use this site as a crash course, a resource for information, or a study guide.  Explore the history, meaning, and current use of rhetoric.  Allow lots of time — this site is huge!
  • American Rhetoric is one of the most up-to-date sites if you’re interested in how rhetoric is used today — and not just as a cynical term for the talking heads on the news.  Find out how great American orators used rhetoric in their speeches, and how the craft is alive and well today. 

Composition

  • Principles of Composition is the online course breakdown of a writing and composition course from Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut.  This site is avaialble to the public and divided into three subjects: the writing process, structural considerations, and patterns of composition.  Explore ideas like writer’s block, grammar, and “the five paragraph essay.” 
  • Writing/Composition at first glance is a very basic site about “the ABCs of writing.”  This site comes from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and it’s a great resource for anyone interested in the fundamentals of writing.  Follow each link to find out how to arrange an essay, begin the writing process, or even write a resume.  Any questions about writing can be answered here.
  • English and Writing is a site from the English department of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This site has links to the best resources about writing essays, techical papers, and researching, along with information about various writing majors.  Even if you don’t live in Ann Arbor, you might find a program that interests you through this site.
  • Franklin Institute Educational Hotlists is a simple list of writing resources that was meant to be tailored to science teachers.  Regardless of the field you’re in, though, or if you’re a student or a teacher, you’ll be sure to find valuable information here.  This site has gathered the best resources, including grammar information and the breakdown of APA or MLA writing guides.
  • ESL Gold – Writing comes from one of the best English-as-a-second-language websites around.  Whether you’re a native English speaker or learning it for the first time, this site breaks down essay writing, grammar, and composition in easy-to-understand terms.  Students can use this as a study guide, and teachers can find great resources here. 

Public Speaking

  • Toastmasters 101 is the nation’s leading public speaking organization, and who would be better at giving public speaking advice?  The organization is dedicated to bringing people together to become better speakers, and this site is absolutely packed with information — from tips and tricks to how to use visual aids.
  • Public-Speaking.org is something like Toastmasters online.  There are no group meetings, just a simple site with advice and ideas laid out in an easy-to-access format and arranged by subject.  Students learning to speak publicly will find advice about to ace their first speech, and teachers can tailor handouts from this site.
  • Public Speaking Lesson Plans is obviously tailored for teachers, with detailed handouts and lesson plans, but students will be able to use the site too — especially if they’re looking for resources that will give them extra practice before their big first speech.
  • Speech and Public Speaking is another online course from Kennesaw State University.  This site has a list of public speaking resources that are invaluable for teachers and students.  Learn everything there is to know about the art of persuasion or find lesson plans for a Speech 101 course.
  • CASAA – Public Speaking is a guideline from the Canadian Association of Student Activity Advisors.  It is specifically tailored to help young people become better, more respected public speakers.  Students will obviously find this site extremely helpful, and teachers can use it to find out what exactly their students are thinking.

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