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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?

  • 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
  • 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.