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Reading & Studying College Textbooks Terri Varney, M. Ed.

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1 Reading & Studying College Textbooks Terri Varney, M. Ed.

2 Kinds of Readers There are all kinds of readers in college. There are readers who have better comprehension reading silently, and readers who have better comprehension reading aloud. There are readers who have excellent oral fluency skills but poor comprehension; there are readers who have poor decoding skills but have excellent comprehension of the material once it’s mastered. There are readers that don’t reread and self-correct when they come upon a word that doesn’t make sense in the sentence, and those that do. Those that do have a better prognosis for improving their reading skills.

3 Lexiles Everyone reads at a certain level measured in LEXILES, This is an advance made in the last 10 years and is more accurate than a reading instrument that measures in grade levels. Everyone has an EASY level that can be mastered independently, an INSTRUCTIONAL level that can be mastered with teacher support, and a FRUSTRATION level that cannot be mastered without direct instruction in reading skills. The text can also be measured in Lexiles, so that you know if your textbook for a particular class is going to fall into your easy/instructional/frustration range.

4 Lexile Framework for Reading Research has shown that the texts required for postsecondary reach a Lexile range of 1200L to 1400L, while the text complexity of typical high school textbooks for grades 11 and 12 is about 1050L to 1165L. There exists a disconnect when high school graduates encounter college and career texts. This can cause a drop from 75-percent comprehension to 50-percent comprehension. This means that high school seniors who can successfully read twelfth-grade texts may enter college or the workplace several months later and encounter texts that result in less than 50-percent comprehension.

5 To put this gap in perspective… High school graduation no longer guarantees that students are ready for the postsecondary challenges that await them. While the reading demands of college, the workforce and life in general have remained consistent or increased over time, K-12 texts and reading tasks have decreased in complexity. The result is a significant gap between many students' reading abilities and the reading demands they will likely encounter after graduation.

6 SRI The Lexile text measure is based on the two strongest predictors of text difficulty, word frequency and sentence length. The reader’s Lexile is determined by the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) which is an interactive reading assessment that increases/decreases in difficulty based on the test taker’s responses.

7 For instance: John’s lexile is 900. Therefore: (easy: 650 - 800) can be read independently and comprehended with 90% accuracy instructional reading level (average: 800- 950) can independently read and comprehend it with 75% accuracy (challenging: over 950) should only be used with direct instructional support since the text is too difficult for the student..

8 Grade Level:Lexiles: 1100 - 400 2300 - 600 3500 - 800 4600 - 900 5700 - 1000 6800 - 1050 7850 - 1100 8900 - 1150 91000 – 1200 101025 - 1250 111050 - 1300 121300 - 1400 College1400 - 1500 Graduate1500 - 1700

9 Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck630L (3-4) Facing the Lion, Joseph Lekuton (OCOB 2004-2005)720L (3-5) The Giver, Lois Lowry (OCOB 2004-2005)760 L(3-4) The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger790L (3-5) The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (OCOB 2006-2007)840L (4-6) Having Our Say, S. & E. Delany (OCOB 2002-2003)890L (4-7) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Foer940L (5-8) (OCOB 2012-2013)

10 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,1180L (OCOB 2007-2008)(9-11) Moby Dick, Herman Melville1200L (9-11) Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston1210L (10-11) Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer1270L (11) The Crucible, Arthur Miller (OCOB 2003-2004)1320L (12)

11 Textbooks: Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, 1010L Timeless Themes: Platinum Level Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices,1090L Timeless Themes: The American Experience You can look up the lexile of books, texts, classic novels etc. in the database at If it’s not listed you can scan/copy & paste a passage to determine the lexile.

12 Coming Soon to CAPS! (we hope) Meanwhile………. Use the free tools at SMOG Readability Formula (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook) estimates the years of education a person needs to understand a piece of writing. You can paste and test your documents at (

13 Most students read material as if everything within the chapter were of equal importance. All words in print are not necessarily of equal value for the reader who is attempting to ascertain the author’s important ideas Two types of text: narrative or story type and expository or informational type Studying is a special form of reading an attempt to organize material from a text in order to review and retain it. Reading/Study Strategies

14 Strategy #1 The Survey Technique A systematic, six step procedure for previewing and/or reviewing a content chapter that results in an understanding of the total chapter content. Here are the steps: 1-Analysis of the Chapter Title – this is the main idea. What do you already know about this topic? How does it relate to the unit you just completed? 2-Analysis of Subtitles – this is the overall outline (2 nd step in SQ3R – the question step) Turn each of the headings into a question, which provides a specific purpose for reading the text.

15 3-Analysis of Visuals – bar graphs, photographs Some of the most important information is in the visuals, you must be able to interpret pictorial information 4-Read the Introductory Paragraph – these are the important ideas After reading the introductory material, can you see how this information supports some of the things you discovered in the first three steps? 5-Read the Concluding Paragraph – this is the summary This also confirms what you discovered in all the previous steps. 6-Deriving the Main Idea Develop a concise statement that could stand as the main idea of the chapter.

16 Strategy #2 Semantic Feature Analysis A categorization technique. As human beings process information, categories are established and rules are formulated to group objects/words/concepts into these categories. Looking at the interrelationships provide a systematic way to reinforce vocabulary. Here is an example from a geometry lesson on triangles:

17 3 sides 180° 3 equal sides 3 equal angles 2 equal sides no equal sides 1 90° right angle 1 angle > 90° all angles <90° triangle++ right+++ acute++ + isosceles++ + scalene+++ equilatera l ++++ obtuse++ +

18 Division of Student Affairs, Virginia Tech Study Environment Analysis The purpose of this inventory is to help you evaluate the three places you study most frequently. Begin by identifying these three locations in the blanks below. List them in the order in which you use them most frequently. Then answer each question according to whether the statement is mostly true or mostly false about each of the three places you have identified. Place APlace BPlace C 1. There are few distractions, such as phone, computer, or TV, in this location. True False 12. There are few things in this location that are unrelated to studying or school work.True False

19 When you have answered all 12 questions, click the Add Button to calculate the number of "True" responses you made for each of the three places where you study most frequently. The place with the highest total may provide the best environment for studying. Try to do as much of your studying in this location as possible. Advantages of working in your room You already have all of your books, notes, and other study materials at your disposal. You can start studying as soon as you open the book. It can be the least distracting environment if you can keep others out. There is a greater possibility of getting help just down the hall if you have a question about something you're studying.

20 Disadvantages of working in your room Your room is probably the most distracting environment in which you can choose to study: your hallmates may drop in to visit, or a friend down the hall cranks a new CD and asks you to come check it out. Somebody cooks or orders something that smells really good and you have to go find it and sample it. Some more kids down the hall throw a party. In short, the possibilities for tempting distractions are practically endless!

21 To leave or not to leave…? Advantages of leaving your room You have to organize yourself and focus on what needs to be done during your study session. You only take what you need to get the job done. When you are done, you leave the study place and return, giving a clear beginning and end to your study time. Disadvantages to leaving your room Sometimes you forget to bring required materials You get distracted on the way to study and never even make it to your study location.

22 …disadvantages The weather stinks and you don’t go out You have a question and can't find anyone around who can help you. Working with study groups Focused, organized study groups can provide the best of all study environments. The group can arrange to meet in a quiet location, set an agenda of material to be covered, and can be a resource for help if a member of the group gets stuck doing a problem.

23 Other College Textbook Strategies Workshops available in CAPS Presented by Terri French Varney, CAPS Advisor

24 Bibliography Reading Strategies and Practices by Tierney and Readence

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