Event description

Are you a student looking to advance your writing skills? Perhaps you are a working adult and you need to gather proofreading or editing skills for a job or ministry opportunity. Or maybe you just love good communication, and you want to take yours to the next level! This fall, join instructor Carol Blair for an English course that will give you the skills you need to succeed in this academic and vocational area.

This class will be an intense study of college-level English, with training in the marketable skills of proofreading and copy editing. Participants will come away with a much-heightened awareness of clarity and correctness in language—an asset to anyone involved in any aspect of writing—and skills that will qualify them for positions in the publications industry. Class size is limited to 12 students. Registration deadline is October 7, 2019.


Course Content Includes:

Day One: A review of “the basics” of English

Day Two and beyond… 

  • Advanced work in spelling, grammar, vocabulary, etymologies, punctuation, pronunciation, writing, and usage
  • Latin and Greek roots: the foundation for much of English vocabulary
  • Commonly confused words: it’s/its; lie/lay; principal/principle; flaunt/flout; and many more
  • Sentence, paragraph, and essay construction
  • History of the English language
  • Principles of rhetoric, including the schemes and tropes—the “graces” of language
  • Survey of great literature
  • Desktop publishing for writers and editors
  • Proofreaders’ marks, and much practice in proofreading and copy editing with errors of increasing difficulty and complexity.
  • Proofreading and editing on the computer: word processing skills; the “track changes” feature
  • Dictionary use, history of dictionaries, and the three major historical dictionaries
  • Other subjects: Bible, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, History, and Math (Because editors need to know much more than just grammar!)
  • Style guides and other reference books: Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Style Guide, American Medical Association Style Guide, Gregg Reference Manual
  • Specialty areas: medical editing (introduction), overview of job possibilities (paid and volunteer) in publishing—and how to get started!

Student Requirements:

  • Minimum age: 16 (no upper limit)
  • Applicants must be good spellers and must have a good grasp of basic grammar (the parts of speech; subjects, predicates, direct objects); be able to write good sentences, and speak correct English.
  • A 100–200-word essay on why you want to take the course



  • Monday–Friday: 9–5pm, (lunch: 12-1pm)
  • Saturday: half-day session
  • Daily: review quiz (final grade is based on those quizzes), approximately three hours of reading and studying each evening Monday-Friday. 

Required books (not included with course)

All of the books may be found used and inexpensively online at Abebooks.com. Estimated total cost of books: $25.

  • A dictionary with etymologies. (To see if your dictionary contains etymologies, look up the word geography. It should say something such as: geo= “earth”; graphe= “writing.”) If you need to buy a dictionary, I suggest Webster’s New World Dictionary, by Pocket Books. It’s the only paperback dictionary that has etymologies.
  • A thesaurus—any kind
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, 3rd edition (1979) only.
  • Writers INC: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning, by Sebranek, Meyer, & Kemper. 1995 or 1996 edition only.
    ISBN 0-669-38813-0 (paperback) or 0-669-38812-2 (hardback).

Note: A laptop computer is strongly recommended; with Microsoft Word and e-mail.

Assignments to complete prior to coming to the course:

  • Read The Elements of Style.
  • Be able to say the books of the Bible from memory, with correct pronunciation and spelling. Know also the book groupings: Pentateuch, History, Poetry, Major and Minor Prophets, Gospels, History, Epistles, and Prophecy.
  • Know the standard, two-letter postal abbreviations for all 50 states, as well as the bordering Canadian provinces.
  • Be able to fill in all 50 states on a blank map of the United States, as well as the bordering Canadian provinces.
  • For your home state: know the capital, the nickname, the state bird, flower, and tree; the order and year it joined the Union; and the names of your governor, two senators, and your Congressional representative.  
  • Learn 22 Latin and Greek prefixes and suffixes—which will be sent to you upon acceptance into the course. (This is Lesson I of the vocabulary unit.)


  • Read a book by G.A. Henty. Recommended: For the Temple. Available on Abebooks.com.
  • Bring errors in print—anything and everything. Ask family and friends to look for them for you, also. Each one will be a learning opportunity for the class.

Meet the Instructor:

Miss Carol Blair is an accomplished writer and editor with more than 30 years’ experience, both in-house and free-lance. She holds her M.A. in writing, is a published author, has won a major writing award from the Amy Foundation, and is a graduate of WORLD Magazine’s 2019 mid-career journalism course.


For details on dress code, schedule, personal packing list, classroom packing list, and more, review the orientation manual.


Register for the Fall 2019 Strong in English (October 21–November 1, 2019):