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READING AT UNIVERSITY Reading with Understanding Strategies for Success 15 May, 2014 Humanities Presenter: Miriam Lear Coordinator: English for Law Auckland.

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Presentation on theme: "READING AT UNIVERSITY Reading with Understanding Strategies for Success 15 May, 2014 Humanities Presenter: Miriam Lear Coordinator: English for Law Auckland."— Presentation transcript:

1 READING AT UNIVERSITY Reading with Understanding Strategies for Success 15 May, 2014 Humanities Presenter: Miriam Lear Coordinator: English for Law Auckland Park Campus

2 Introductions Academic Development Centre Academic Development & Support Units:  Academic Literacies Access Modules  Learning Development  Academic literacies  Writing Centre

3 THE WRITING CENTRE Visit us at the Writing Centre if at some point you realise that you are already a good writer, but would like to make your writing even better you need help putting your ideas down on paper you would like to organise your assignment better lecturers are unhappy with your assignments you get low marks even when you think you have worked very hard

4 The Writing Centre The Writing Centre is for any student who would like to write good assignments and get excellent marks. Mondays to Thursdays 8:30 – 15:30 Fridays 8:30 – 13:00 Stop by to make an appointment - D Ring 3.

5 Reasons for reading Reasons for reading Casual reading: relaxation/pleasure; boredom; escape world Practical reasons: know what is happening in the world/current issues; communicate effectively; help other people Educational Goals: increase general information/knowledge; obtain better understanding of topic; learn vocabulary; improve reading/reading speed; improve language and study purposes

6 What difficulties do you experience when reading for study or research purposes?

7 How do you overcome them?

8 Reading at university Academic reading is much more challenging than reading in high school- deep reading (as opposed to surface reading) is required Many students struggle to cope with the level, complexity and volume of academic reading required

9 Research on reading Research indicates that there is a strong correlation between reading proficiency and academic success Reading proficiency also influences writing – good readers tend to be good writers and vice versa Reading & writing are complimentary processes. As such, reading forms the basis of academic writing * It is important that you develop and improve your skills for reading academically in order to study and learn more effectively.

10 “A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.” (Mark Twain)

11 How do “good” readers read academic texts? Good readers make use of various reading strategies and reading techniques ◦ Before reading ◦ During reading ◦ After reading These strategies can be learned by all students

12 Before reading Good readers ask themselves the following questions: ◦ Who is the author of the text? ◦ When was the text written? ◦ Who is the audience? ◦ Why was it written? ◦ What do I already know about the topic? ◦ What don’t I know? ◦ What do I need to know?

13 During reading Good readers do not read all texts in the same way - different texts invite different ways of reading Experienced readers identify a purpose for reading and adjust their reading speed accordingly

14 After reading *It is important to remember what you have read and to further develop and clarify ideas and concepts from your reading. Good readers summarise, discuss, respond to and ask questions about what they have read Experienced readers often formulate graphic representations of ideas with lines, arrows and shapes to indicate links and connections between them ◦ Mind maps ◦ Concept maps

15 Reading techniques Effective readers employ different reading techniques ◦ Speed reading ◦ Skimming ◦ Scanning ◦ Study reading

16 Speed reading Reading quickly to get a preliminary understanding of a text or to find background information on a topic The more familiar you are with advanced reading texts the more quickly you will be able to access information - reading improves with practice!

17 Skimming To preview or get an overview of a text - reading quickly to gather as much information about a text as possible in the shortest amount of time When you skim, you do not read everything ◦ Read only the following:  Title  Introduction and/ or first paragraph  Headings/ sub-headings  First sentence of each paragraph  Key words in bold or italics  Pictures, diagrams, graphs or charts  Conclusion or summary

18 Scanning Reading quickly to find specific information in a text ◦ Names & dates ◦ Words in a dictionary ◦ Definitions in glossaries ◦ Table of contents ◦ Timetables & directories

19 Study reading Study reading is deep reading The purpose of study reading is to understand and remember Good readers also struggle with difficult texts in order to make them comprehensible Good readers read academic texts slowly and re-read often (sometimes two or three times) Study reading involves reading interactively and critically

20 How do we read interactively? We relate what we are reading to our own experience and knowledge of the world We read actively and have a “conversation” with the text We annotate the text ◦ Identify main idea & topic sentence in each paragraph ◦ Make notes in the margins; paraphrase & summarise key points; ask questions & make comments ◦ Highlight key words/ concepts in the text ◦ Highlight unfamiliar words and work out possible meanings from the context; look up words you still do not understand

21 How do we read critically? We read “against the grain” We do not believe everything we read; we ask questions and challenge the writer’s assumptions We analyse arguments We weigh an author’s claims against evidence We discount arguments based on faulty reasoning We distinguish between fact and opinion We form our own opinion on the topic

22 SQ3R Method Does anyone know what these letters and figure stand for?

23 SQ3R Method SURVEY: Pre-read chapter. Look at titles, headings, words in boldface and italics; graphs & diagrams; summary and/ or conclusion and questions at end of chapter QUESTION: Formulate questions before you read. Convert titles & subtitles into questions. Write these down. READ: Read chapter thoroughly and write down the answers to your questions section by section RECITE: Try to recite the answers to your questions. Use your own words and give examples REVIEW: Check your notes against the text; this is an on- going process *SQ3R will help build a framework to help you understand your reading assignments.


25 Reading ahead It is important to read ahead so that when you get into a lecture you are able to Listen actively Engage effectively with the content of the lecture Compare what is in the lecture with what you already know Take meaningful notes

26 Note-taking Work with a partner and answer the following questions: What is active listening? What does taking notes help you to do? How do you think you can take clear and concise notes?

27 Purposes of note-taking To consolidate information – integrate the new with the old To discover what is important and what material will most likely be included in the exams To have a permanent record to use for assignments and to study for exams *Class assignments and other important information is also frequently given during the lecture.

28 Active listening THINK Listen with a purpose Select most central points & ignore irrelevant points Understand Analyse Evaluate Anticipate Review

29 How to integrate new and prior knowledge Before the lecture: Read the textbook/study guide Read the lecturer’s slides on uLink Read your previous lecture notes Read the assignments Read around the topic and in the field generally

30 Building knowledge New information (incoming text) New knowledge / understanding Prior knowledge (frames of reference) Integrate with

31 Active listening Compare lecturer’s presentation to information in textbook/study guide Apply what you hear to your own personal experience (prior knowledge) Reserve judgment when something controversial is said

32 Active listening Think about questions you have Check for accuracy Shift your attention between the lecturer and your notes

33 Use cues Get to know your lecturer’s style of teaching ◦ Visual clues – headings, notes, drawings, summaries, examples ◦ Vocal clues – emphasis, pauses, slowing down, questions ◦ Body language – position, gestures

34 Lecture features Introduction Conclusion Repetition Rephrasing Linking expressions

35 Introduction Introduction Explains the lecture structure or outcomes Highlights main ideas Helps to categorise the information Summarises the previous lecture and links to the present lecture Announces tests, due dates, changes, cancellations

36 Conclusion Reveals connections between ideas Brings closure and summarises main points Links to reading material Previews next lecture

37 Repetition and rephrasing Emphasises main ideas Creates opportunity to record important information

38 Linking expressions Linking words and phrases logically organise ideas in lectures which will help you to ◦ Organise your own notes ◦ Identify main ideas

39 Note Taking: Reasons for taking notes Making yourself take notes forces you to listen carefully and test your understanding of the material. When you are reviewing, notes provide a gauge to what is important in the text. Personal notes are usually easier to remember than the text. The writing down of important points helps you to remember then even before you have studied the material formally.

40 Important things to write down Material written on the blackboard. Repetition Emphasis  Emphasis can be judged by tone of voice and gesture.  Emphasis can be judged by the amount of time the instructor spends on points and the number of examples he or she uses. Word signals (e.g. "There are two points of view on... " "The third reason is... " " In conclusion... ") Summaries given at the end of class. Reviews given at the beginning of class.

41 Find your own method of making notes Make your notes brief. ◦ Never use a sentence where you can use a phrase. Never use a phrase where you can use a word. ◦ Use abbreviations and symbols, but be consistent. Put most notes in your own words. However, the following should be noted exactly: ◦ Formulas ◦ Definitions ◦ Specific facts Use outline form and/or a numbering system. Indention helps you distinguish major from minor points. If you miss a statement, write key words, skip a few spaces, and get the information later. Don't try to use every space on the page. Leave room for coordinating your notes with the text after the lecture. (You may want to list key terms in the margin or make a summary of the contents of the page.) Date your notes. Perhaps number the pages.

42 Making Notes: What to include? A4 paper (think about where you will file this later) Date and title Record the bibliographic details of your text. Answer questions:  Who will use this summary?  What is its purpose?  What form is appropriate? Do an overview of the text.  Introductory paragraph  Conclusion  Scan for the main ideas Read text in detail. Look up the words you do not understand. Make a list and compare with your partner. Identify the main ideas.

43 Examples of linking expressions Emphasis words: most importantly, especially Summary words: in brief, in conclusion Amplification words: for example, in other words Contrast words: however, but, despite

44 Successful note-taking Write down the heading Write down main ideas Follow main argument or focus of lecture Leave space for elaboration, examples Beware of repetition- you need the essence, not alternatives Use abbreviations – create your own if necessary

45 Note-taking method The Cornell note-taking system is used all over the World.  Divides note pages into three columns  notes  review  reflection  Uses abbreviations (after lecture complete phrases as much as possible)  Allows for recording notes in paragraph form, skipping lines to show new thoughts

46 Cornell method To review, cover your notes leaving the main ideas exposed Say the main ideas out loud, adding as much as you can remember about each


48 Pictorial notes Diagrammatic way of organising key ideas from lectures Shows interconnection of main concepts and supporting details A great deal of information can be included on a single page Key words and phrases can be further developed in your review column or in mind-maps

49 Economics Two kinds Macroeconomics Microeconomics Factors of production Land Labour Capital & Entrepreneurship Choices & tradeoffs Give to get Guns vs butter Definition Choices Scarcity Incentives

50 After the lecture review regularly recite (repeating key concepts from lecture) reflect (connecting lecture ideas to other notes and readings)

51 Summary It is important to develop academic reading proficiency in order to study and learn more effectively Good readers make use of various reading strategies and reading techniques These strategies can be learned by all students During lectures listen actively Draw on your prior knowledge Know your lecturer’s style Learn the features of a lecture Use an effective system of note-taking

52 Exercise: In pairs, make notes from the following text:

53 Understand your assignment title Understanding your assignment title fully and precisely is vital in producing a successful piece of writing. *Give yourself plenty of time (preferably at least a week) to analyse and just think about the title before you start doing anything with it. Discuss it with other students and with your tutor. Shorter titles may look simpler, but can actually be more vague and therefore more difficult to interpret than longer ones. Try to read the title objectively rather than seeing what you want to see or expect to see. MAKE NOTES HERE Main topic Key words Unfamiliar words Ask questions Paraphrase/ summarise Find examples Definitions Outline of the text Etc.

54 Good luck in your first year at UJ! Hard work! More hard work! Rewards…

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