Introduction to reading in law school
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Introduction to Reading in Law School. Ante-Law School Camp session 3: Energize & Monitor. Reading in the Legal Domain. What differentiates Experts from Novices? Experts engage in the following behaviors: Working with Speed “Chunking” Problem-Solving Elevating Above the Minutiae

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Introduction to reading in law school

Introduction to Reading in Law School

Ante-Law School Camp session 3: Energize & Monitor


Reading in the legal domain
Reading in the Legal Domain

  • What differentiates Experts from Novices?

    • Experts engage in the following behaviors:

      • Working with Speed

      • “Chunking”

      • Problem-Solving

      • Elevating Above the Minutiae

      • Self-Awareness


Reading strategies
Reading Strategies

  • There are several types of reading strategies employed by readers of varying competency

    • Default Strategies (novice readers spend too much time here)

      • decoding, structural annotations, highlighting, paraphrasing, strictly linear progression

    • Problematizing Strategies

      • readers solving problems within the text; ask self questions, make predictions, and hypothesize about the developing meaning

    • Rhetorical Strategies (expert readers spend most of their time here)

      • evaluation of the text and relating the text to personal experiences


Mastering reading in a law school casebook
Mastering Reading in a Law School Casebook

  • Engage with Energy

  • Monitor Your Reading and Read for the Main Idea

  • Always (Always!) Read with a Purpose

  • Get Oriented and Own Your Prior Knowledge and Experience

  • There’s More to the “Five Ws” (Who, What, When, Where and Why) Than Meets the Eye

  • Evaluate What You’re Reading: Your Ideas Matter

  • Review, Rephrase, Record


Engage with energy
Engage with Energy

  • It is more difficult for a novice to do things than an expert

    • Not just the lack of knowledge but a different expenditure of energy occurs when an expert does something compared to when a novice does that same task

      • Domain knowledge changes the size of the pieces that your short term memory can manipulate

      • The bigger the piece of the information needed to manipulate the fewer pieces to move around

      • A fully developed schemata means it takes fewer steps to access the appropriate knowledge

  • “Reading is intellectual weight-lifting.”


Cultivating energy
Cultivating Energy

  • Fostering and maintaining personal wellness is crucial to keeping the energy levels necessary for law school success

  • Create a “Life Plan” to refer to for those times you feel you’re getting off track or worn down

    • Surround yourself with loved ones, regularly

    • Sleep like you should (~8 hours a night)

    • Eat healthfully

    • Exercise

    • Take care of your spirit


Preflight assessment
Preflight Assessment

  • Energy Assessment (see p. 66)

    • If you don’t have enough energy to read well, spend your time on a less demanding study task and come back when you have the right amount of energy

  • Emotional Assessment

    • Am I dealing with anything that is likely to interfere with my reading?

  • Mechanical Assessment

    • Do I have everything I need to complete my reading?


Chapter 5 exercises
Chapter 5 Exercises

#5 – When your energy drops, what can you do to raise your energy that will not hurt your health in the long run?

#6 – What type of exercise program can you participate in at least twice a week throughout this semester?


Monitoring
Monitoring

  • Time is a finite resource

  • Be intentional but flexible

  • Anticipate

  • Recalibrate

  • Don’t abandon your common sense at the door

  • Be aware of contextual cues

  • Different materials require different speeds and level of attention

  • Be true to yourself

  • Remember that reading is a solitary social activity

  • Read for the main idea



Resources
Resources

  • Michael Hunter Schwartz, Expert Learning for Law Students

  • Ruth Ann McKinney, Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert

  • Leah M. Christensen, “The Paradox of Legal Expertise: A Study of Experts and Novices Reading the Law,” 2008 B.Y.U. Educ. & L.J. 53.

  • Leah M. Christensen, “Legal Reading and Success in Law School: An Empirical Study,” 30 Seattle U. L. Rev. 603 (2007).

  • Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading.


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