Hacker, Sommers, A Writer's Reference, 9e

Document created by Digital Support on Dec 18, 2017Last modified by Digital Support on Apr 26, 2018
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Why use LaunchPad?

LaunchPad for A Writer's Reference, 9th edition, is designed to engage students in the work of the course and help them sharpen their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Some instructors assign the resources in LaunchPad, while others encourage students to work with the material at their own pace. Either way, college writers will find they are building the skills they need to become successful college writers.

What resources are available for my students?

From your LaunchPad home page, you can scroll down the contents and see that the resources are organized by book part and chapter. In addition, the new video tutorials (described below) are at the top level of the contents list.

Writer’s Reference e-book

Clicking on any numbered section in the list of contents opens an e-book page. The e-book matches the print handbook section-for-section. Navigation by section numbers (C1-a, C1-b, C1-c, and so on) is the same in the e-book as in the print book.

Other resource types

In the contents for each chapter, you can see additional resources listed for that chapter: writing practice, LearningCurve, exercises, or podcasts.

Video tutorials

24 new video tutorials combine brief, engaging video with scorable practice items to help with argument writing, analytical writing, annotated bibliography, and MLA and APA style. These video tutorials are at the top level in the contents list:
  • Analytical essay: between A1 and A2
  • Researched argument: between A4 and A5
  • Annotated bibliography: between R3 and MLA
  • Citation at a glance (MLA): between MLA-4 and MLA-5
  • Citation at a glance (APA): between APA-4 and APA-5

Writing Practice

More than 50 writing prompts invite students to write brief responses about organizing an essay, drafting a thesis statement, working with peers, integrating sources, and more--and in doing so, they apply the lessons of the handbook to their own thinking and writing. Many of the Writing Practice activities promote collaboration.

The activity “Evaluating ads for logic and fairness” includes the prompt, which refers to a section in the handbook, and then a writing space in which to type a response. Clicking Submit records the activity in the instructor’s gradebook.


More than 350 exercises give students practice in writing, grammar, style, and research/citation skills. The exercises report to the gradebook; most are autoscored.


LearningCurve, game-like adaptive quizzing in 33 topic areas, helps students build confidence with sentence-level skills by adjusting the difficulty level of the items based on a student’s responses. LearningCurve quickly learns what students already know and helps them practice what they don’t yet understand.

LearningCurve offers students hints, tips, and references to relevant advice in the handbook. The progress bar provides motivation. LearningCurve supports students as they work through different topics, such as style, word choice, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and multilingual concerns.

Grammar Girl podcasts

More than 100 podcasts from the popular Grammar Girl series supplement and enliven the handbook content. Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl podcasts pair conveniently with writing, grammar, and punctuation topics in LaunchPad for A Writer’s Reference. You can find the audio files at the ends of related chapters or by going to the “Grammar Girl Podcasts” unit in the main menu. Students can explore on their own, or you can assign them.

Sample student writing

Included in many of the chapters are sample papers in a number of genres--narrative papers, analytical essays, research papers, and more. Most are annotated to show proper formatting and effective writing.

How-to pages

A new how-to approach offers step-by-step instruction that will help students apply writing advice in practical ways and transfer skills to many different kinds of writing assignments. Fourteen new how-to pages offer the straightforward help that instructors and students want.

Writing Guides

LaunchPad for A Writer's Reference provides writing guides within chapters of the book as well as in the Resources tab for five common genres--analysis essay, annotated bibliography, argument essay, literacy narrative, and reflective letter for a portfolio. Each writing guide consists of a definition of the genre; a list of its key features; and a step-by-step set of strategies for exploring, drafting, and revising. Writing guides appear in C3, C4, A1, A4, and R3.

Writer’s Choice

New Writer’s Choice boxes on grammar and style offer opportunities for students to practice critical thinking at the sentence level. A new rhetorical approach to grammar coverage emphasizes decision making based on purpose and audience. This approach makes grammar content more teachable by giving instructors flexibility—a way to individualize instruction for students who may need more than a conventional explanation of the rules.



Clicking on the star icon in the left-hand navigation panel takes you to even more resources. You can filter the resources in different ways; Content by type displays the content in categories such as exercises, videos, and downloadable sample student writing (Student Resources).


The In use markers allow you to see which pieces of content are included in the main menu; those not marked are extra resources that you can add to your course contents list if you choose.

For help

Included at the beginning of the contents list is a welcome unit full of information that explains the key features of LaunchPad for the 9th edition. Explore the welcome unit for advice about setting up your course and using the features of LaunchPad for A Writer’s Reference with your students. Note: Items that are grayed out in the Welcome unit are instructor-facing only.