This basic skills composition course curriculum is designed to prepare basic writers with a knowledge and practice in college-level rhetorical reading and writing strategies. My review of literature provides context for the thesis with a historical account of American basic skills education and the evolution of English studies, while focusing on the California Community College system. This builds a theoretical foundation for the educational experience of this proposed course. The pragmatic elements of this thesis look at three vital components to a unified and reliable curriculum: appropriate Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), assessment, and classroom application. The SLOs are informed by the 11th-12th grade California public education literacy standards, the expectations for student achievement by the California Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senate (ICAS), and the nationwide Council of Writing Program Administrators' student learning outcomes for First-Year Composition. I advocate the use of an e-portfolio assessment for this level of composition. Additionally, I break down the portfolio components, support and explain the implementation of specific rhetorical reading and writing strategies, provide examples of class materials, and detail the benefits of this approach. Basic skills courses serve as the bridge between secondary and post-secondary education. Teaching students to apply a rhetorical approach to a broad range of texts promotes a foundational element of higher education that many of the underprepared college students need to develop in order to succeed and persist in more than just their academic goals.