Academic Literacy and Linguistics


  • Critical Thinking: Primary Concepts
    “This short, free, Creative Commons–licensed text” is by James DiGiovanna of John Jay College. It is “useful for a brief (maybe 3 week?) critical thinking section in any intro philosophy or composition course.”

Academic and Critical Reading and Thinking

Open Textbooks

  • About Writing: A Guide
    This reference by Robin Jeffrey “condenses and covers everything a beginning writing student needs to successfully compose college-level work, including the basics of composition, grammar, and research.”
  • Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research
    Choosing & Using Sources presents a process for academic research and writing, from formulating your research question to selecting good information and using it effectively in your research assignments. Additional chapters cover understanding types of sources, searching for information, and avoiding plagiarism. Each chapter includes self-quizzes and activities to reinforce core concepts and help you apply them.”
  • A Concise Introduction to Logic
    A Concise Introduction to Logic is an introduction to formal logic suitable for undergraduates taking a general education course in logic or critical thinking, and is accessible and useful to any interested in gaining a basic understanding of logic.”
  • Critical Thinking in Academic Research
    Critical Thinking in Academic Research will introduce students to the techniques and principles of critical thinking. […] In order for students to develop their own arguments, they need to find supporting evidence. This text provides guidance on developing research questions and finding resources to answer the questions.”
  • Critical Thinking: Primary Concepts
    “This short, free, Creative Commons–licensed text” by James DiGiovanna of John Jay College is “useful for a brief (maybe 3 week?) critical thinking section in any intro philosophy or composition course.”
  • Fundamental Methods of Logic Book
    Fundamental Methods of Logic is suitable for a one-semester introduction to logic/critical reasoning course.”
  • Logical Reasoning
    By Bradley H. Dowden from California State University Sacramento’s philosophy department, this open textbook on logical reasoning includes exercises at the end of each chapter and a glossary.
  • The Process of Research Writing
    This open book by Steven Krause, Eastern Michigan University, focuses on academic work as a process in which critical thinking, research, and writing are intertwined.
  • Rhetoric & Composition
    This open textbook from Bay College is designed for an introductory English course.
  • Writing for Digital Media
    “True digital literacy,” argues the author in the introduction to this open textbook, “is about meaningful and thoughtful engagement that has a positive impact on you as well as the communities of which you are a part.” With sections on critical literacy and rhetorical literacy, the book begins with theoretical considerations of digital literacy and writing for digital media, and then in a section on functional literacy it concludes with a more practical treatment of “the nuts and bolts of digital writing, providing guidelines, best practices, and design strategies for a variety of genres.”
  • A Writer’s Guide to Mindful Reading
    “Offering a comprehensive approach to literacy instruction by focusing on reading and writing, A Writer’s Guide to Mindful Reading supports students as they become more reflective, deliberate, and mindful readers and writers by working within a metacognitive framework.” This guide by Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut, is based on her scholarly work in this area.
  • Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence
    Writing in College is designed for students who have largely mastered high-school level conventions of formal academic writing and are now moving beyond the five-paragraph essay to more advanced engagement with text. […] It provides a friendly, down-to-earth introduction to professors’ goals and expectations, demystifying the norms of the academy and how they shape college writing assignments.”
  • Writing for Success – 1st Canadian H5P Edition
    Writing for Success is a text that provides instruction in steps, builds writing, reading, and critical thinking, and combines comprehensive grammar review with an introduction to paragraph writing and composition.” This edition includes interactive H5P activities; an earlier edition is available without the activities.

Additional OER

Zero-Cost Resources

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Open Textbooks

Additional OER and Zero-Cost Resources

  • ESL Blues
    This collection of ESL grammar and reading materials includes animated grammar tutorials, grammar troubleshooting, and readings with vocabulary quizzes as well as graded activities for pre-intermediate, intermediate, and high intermediate ESL learners. Note the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.
  • ESL Flow
    As described by Merlot, this site is a “searchable source of thematically-based ESL lessons in grammar, speaking, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading.”
  • OpenOregon Educational Resources for ESOL
    This page lists a variety of materials including lesson plans, activities, course websites, and more.
  • Prof. Myhren on YouTube
    These short videos by Brett Garcia Myhren of Saddleback College address common difficulties for English language learners, such as “Whose or Who’s?” and “Looking for Subjects and Verbs.”
  • The Purdue OWL
    Select “English as a Second Language” in the left vertical menu to find zero-cost resources for both students and instructors of ESL.


  • Essentials of Linguistics, 2nd edition
    Designed for students in an introductory course, this text includes “dynamic video lectures about the core areas of theoretical linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics).” The primary audience is Canadian learners, but the text is suitable for students elsewhere.
  • Languages and Worldview
    “This text explores linguistic relativity, lexical differences among languages and intercultural communication, including high and low contexts.”
  • The Language of Language: A Linguistics Course for Starters
    “Deliberately selective in its approach and assuming no prior knowledge of linguistics, The Language of Language explores the nature of language and linguists’ agreed-upon ways of talking about the object of their inquiry.” Lang101 Workbook: Linguistics Exercises & Activities for Starters is a companion workbook.
  • The Linguistics of Texting
    This assignment is “designed as an introduction to language and new media, connecting principles of computer-mediated communication to formal linguistic concepts.”