Critical Reading - They don’t read do they? Sandra Sinfield - LDU – LearnHigher CETL and LDHEN Bradford University, June 2007
London Met – reading reading • Why students are not reading • What’s it for – why do we want our students to read? • Range of practical activities to encourage reading – thinking - writing
Why some don’t read • Lack cultural capital • Lack of academic capital • Studying seen as part time • Students read less than they did • Sheer amount of information… • Shift to modularity – more reading expected of less inducted students with less time • Subjects seen as vocational rather than academic • Effect of HE policy and practice
What’s it for? • Quantity? • The ability to find difficult sources? • The discovery of obscure texts? • Reading for meaning? • Reading for critical engagement? • http://www.publishinghub.net/
What we can do • Make explicit what we mean by taken for granted practices • Independent learner • Reading list • Read around the subject • Read and make notes
Activity Brainstorm: • Why do we read? • How do we know what to read? • How can we read effectively? • How much should we read? Discuss with group – acknowledge reading is difficult – but gets easier with practice
Read in the curriculum Embed opportunities for students to develop academic practices in the curriculum: • Acknowledge time constraints: specify … photocopy… • Make space for reading and reading related activities:
Model it! • Model reading yourself – breaking text into chunks – use of skim and scan & in depth • Discuss your reading – it can be difficult for everyone! • Split students into pairs/groups – give a text to read in class • Textmapping can help: http://www.textmapping.org/using.html
Support it • Make a meal of reading use your QOOQRRR • Q – Question – novice, initiate • O – Overview1 – of course • O – Overview2 – of text • Q – Question – why am I reading this now? • R – read actively and interactively • R – re-read and make notes • R – review
Active, interactive & critical reading strategy Activity: For EACH significant section: • What is this paragraph about? • Where is the writer coming from? • Who would agree/disagree with this position? • What is the argument? Who would dis/agree? • What is the evidence? Is it valid? How do you know? Annotations – marginalia - short notes. TIP: index cards of all sources – re-cycle reading
Link to writing: • We feel that students ‘cannot write’ because they do not read! • Hence increase in plagiarism? • Possibly link reading strategy to writing strategy • ‘The paragraph as dialogue’
Writing questions: • What is this paragraph about? • What exactly is that? • What is your argument? (Tell me more) • What is the evidence (for & against)? • What does it mean? • How does this relate back to the question as a whole?
Make reading necessary Read this & come to seminar with: • Three words that describe how it made you feel • A bare bones summary (25 words) • A visual summary • An object that represents something from the text – to discuss • One question that you would ask the author • A one minute presentation Value the effort that is put in when it is.
Emergency tactic: When half of them have not read the set text: • Get everyone to select one sentence from the text that they have found meaningful (a main point or an idea with which to argue) • Get them to write this on a post-it or on the whiteboard and say why they chose it. • The ones who did read should be able to make an informed choice – others have to busk it… • An interesting discussion ensues!! • Maybe they all read next time.
Research • If you want to participate in the Learn Higher CETL research into reading and notemaking • Or share your reading/notemaking resources and strategies • Contact Sandra Sinfield firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.