• African American Literature
    This course was created by Anne Rice at Lehman College. It “is a survey course that will take us from the early days of enslavement to the present. We will read, analyze, and discuss literary texts written by African Americans, paying particular attention to the political, historical and social context that informs these texts.”
  • My Slipper Floated Away: New American Memoirs (Manifold @CUNY)
    This open access anthology includes “fresh, compelling essays written by students at Lehman College in the Bronx. The writers are immigrants or the children of immigrants and/or POC. They grew up hearing gunshots and sirens at night, played fire escape basketball and still celebrate Thanksgiving by dancing. The stories reveal the writers’ intense longing to belong in America and their passion to succeed in this country, while dealing with myriad challenges. They bear witness, in riveting, artful narratives that will be revelatory to Americans who fear and resent immigrants or people of color.”
  • Write a Manifesto [Composition]
    This writing assignment was created by Caron Knauer at La Guardia Community College. It “encourages students to develop a mission statement as they think about how we can all come together to make the world better.”
  • Writing for the Humanities
    This syllabus by Julia Brown at City College is for a composition course oriented toward writing in the humanities.

Getting Started

  • CommonLit

    This site provides “educational materials that are CC-licensed (e.g. anything that CommonLit authored), third-party licensed (e.g. the text of a story or poem that we didn’t write, subject to a traditional copyright), and public domain (e.g. a speech from a historical figure that isn’t subject to any copyright restriction).” A FAQ about the CommonLit Library explains how the different resources at the site may be used.
  • English Language Arts Collection (OER Commons)
    This collection includes resources for English Language Arts in the OER Commons Open Textbooks Hub. Use the filters in the left vertical menu to narrow results.
  • Literature, Rhetoric & Poetry Textbooks (Open Textbook Library)
    This collection includes a wide variety of open books, including but far from limited to composition textbooks, editions of public domain texts, and anthologies. Some of these books are also highlighted below.
  • The RoughWriter’s Guide: A Handbook for Writing Well

    Written for community college students, this guide “provides students with help navigating academic writing, including all aspects of the writing process, MLA and APA formatting, and grammatical and mechanical issues.”
  • Writing Guide with Handbook
    This text “aligns to the goals, topics, and objectives of many first-year writing and composition courses. It is organized according to relevant genres, and focuses on the writing process, effective writing practices or strategies—including graphic organizers, writing frames, and word banks to support visual learning—and conventions of usage and style. The text includes an editing and documentation handbook, which provides information on grammar and mechanics, common usage errors, and citation styles.”

Looking for something like They Say, I Say?

Try these open and zero-cost resources recommended by other faculty who have taught with They Say, I Say.

Open Books

  • 88 Open Essays: A Reader for Students of Composition & Rhetoric
    This composition reader compiled by librarians at Northwestern Michigan College “is intended to provide instructors with a wide variety of nonfiction examples of good writing that they can use to teach composition.” The reader is also available via Open Washington Textbooks.
  • Compact Anthology of World Literature
    This broad-ranging anthology of world literature in six parts includes works from ancient to contemporary times.
  • English Composition: Connect, Collaborate, Communicate (University of Hawai’i)
    This OER textbook is designed for students learning the foundational concepts for first-year college composition.
  • Kids Read the Best Stuff
    This textbook was designed for an “introductory survey of literature for children from infancy through puberty, with emphasis on the analysis of literary characteristics which determine age-appropriateness. Through the readings of picture books, poetry, folklore, fantasy, realistic fiction, biography, and informational books, students will gain an awareness of the history, genre, and theme in children’s literature. In their reading, students will also develop a familiarity with important authors and illustrators as they confront such issues as racism, sexism, multiculturalism, and censorship.”
  • Linguistics for Teachers of English
    “The primary goals of this text are to acquaint prospective teachers of English with certain aspects of the history, structure, and use of the English Language.”
  • Literature, the Humanities, and Humanity (Milne Library Publishing)
    “At a time when all subjects seem to be valued only for their testability, this book tries to show the value of reading and studying literature, even earlier literature. It shows students, some of whom will themselves become teachers, that literature actually has something to say to them.”
  • Naming the Unnameable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations (Milne Library Publishing)
    “Bonczek Evory approaches the act of writing poetry from a practitioner’s perspective and as an act of play. The text provides strategies and detailed practices that nurture and maintain creative states necessary for all stages of writing.”
  • The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature (Rebus)
    This anthology builds on The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature created by Robin DeRosa and her students at Plymouth State University and is a classic and robust example of a collaborative and ever-evolving open educational resource.
  • Rhetoric and Composition: A Guide for the College Writer (Wikibooks)
    This Wikibook is “designed for use as a textbook in first-year college composition programs, written as a practical guide for students struggling to bring their writing up to the level expected of them by their professors and instructors.”
  • Rhetoric & Composition
    This open textbook from Bay College is designed for an introductory English course.
  • Strategies for Conducting Literary Research, 2e
    “This textbook walks students through the process of conducting literary research while helping to refine their library skills.”
  • WAC Clearinghouse Books

    “The Clearinghouse publishes articles and books of interest to both the writing-across-the-curriculum community and the larger writing studies community, provides a wide range of web-based resources for instructors who wish to use writing in their courses, and supports research in the use of writing to support learning and teaching.”
  • 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.”
  • Writing for Success 2023
    This new edition of Writing for Success has been updated and edited for developmental readers.
  • Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing
    Each of the volumes in this series “contains engaging essays from different writing teachers in the field and explores important topics about writing in a manner and style accessible to both teachers and students.” The Writing Spaces Web Writing Style Guide is also available at this site.
  • Writing the Nation: A Concise Introduction to American Literature 1865 to Present
    This text “surveys key literary movements and the American authors associated with the movement. Topics include late romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism, and modern literature.”

Repositories of Open and Zero-cost Materials

  • Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature
 (Library of Congress)
    The archive “contains nearly two thousand recordings—of poets and prose writers participating in literary events at the Library’s Capitol Hill campus as well as sessions at the Library’s Recording Laboratory.” Many of these recordings are accessible only at the Library of Congress in D.C., but a growing sample has been digitized and available at the website.
  • CORE: Open Access for the Humanities

    Part of the Humanities Commons, CORE is a repository of open access monographs, articles, projects, course materials, and grey literature related to the Humanities.
  • Electric Literature
    “Electric Literature is a nonprofit digital publisher with the mission to make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. We are committed to publishing work that is intelligent and unpretentious, elevating new voices, and examining how literature and storytelling can help illuminate social justice issues and current events. We are particularly interested in writing that operates at the intersection of different cultures, genres, and media.” Find essays, criticism, literary news, fiction, poetry, and graphic narratives at this site.
  • Fairytalez.com
    This global collection includes thousands of fairy tales, folk tales, and fables from around the world. Some are in the public domain and all are freely accessible. Fairytalez.com also accepts submissions of fairy tales and folk tales.
  • The Internet Archive

    The Internet Archive is a massive digital library that provides (among many other resources) digital editions of books that can be borrowed for an hour or up to 14 days at a time. For detailed information on finding and borrowing books from the Internet Archive, check out this FAQ, including a brief and helpful video tour.
  • LibriVox
    LibriVox provides free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers.
  • Lit2Go

    “Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified.”
  • Open Folklore
    “Open Folklore, a partnership of the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, is a scholarly communications effort to make a greater number and variety of useful resources available to folklorists.”
  • Perseus Digital Library (Tufts)
    The “flagship collection” at this digital library “covers the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world”; other collections cover other subjects in the humanities, such as Italian poetry in Latin and literature of the English Renaissance.
  • Project Gutenberg

    Project Gutenberg is the oldest digital library, offering a collection of tens of thousands of public domain e-books that can be downloaded for free or read online. For browsing, Project Gutenberg has curated bookshelves containing books on related topics.
  • Words Without Borders
    Words Without Borders’ digital magazine on international literature publishes literature in translation, book reviews, and interviews.

Open Courses and Other Resources

  • Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner (Open Yale)
    “This course examines major works by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, exploring their interconnections on three analytic scales: the macro history of the United States and the world; the formal and stylistic innovations of modernism; and the small details of sensory input and psychic life.”
  • Journalism + Design (New School)
    “On this site, you’ll find exercises and assignments that you can use in class, sample syllabi from J+D professors, and evaluation rubrics to assess student work.” The materials are based on the belief that “design and systems thinking are powerful tools for grappling with the unknown,” including the unknown future of journalism.
  • OER on Journalism (OER Commons)
  • Open English Courses (Open Yale)
    This set of Open Yale Courses includes “Introduction to Theory of Literature,” “Milton,” “Modern Poetry,” and “The American Novel Since 1945.”
  • Mythology Course Readings
    This list of readings for a course on mythology was compiled by Sarah Wangler and Joelle Hannert at Northwestern Michigan College.
  • Writability Podcast (College of the Sequoias)
    This podcast is an openly licensed series of conversation on such topics as finding trustworthy sources, writing across the disciplines, and revision.