▶ ask questions about what they read, ▶ take notes, ▶ try to connect what they are reading to what they already know, ▶ analyse and evaluate.
STRATEGICreaders: they use
▶ pre-readingstrategies (e.g.predict, survey, skim) ▶ during-reading strategies (e.g. scan, look for main ideas) ▶ after-readingstrategies (e.greview, summarise)
The SQ4R study method ▶At university, first and foremost, you read for meaning and understanding. But you also read to learn for exams and to collect research for your writing assignments. ▶ The SQ4R method is an effective strategy for academic/textbook reading because it engages the reader during each phase of the reading process. ▶You may find it difficult to put into practice on a regular basis, but try it out. You do not need to follow the steps rigidly. Experiment and modify methods that best suit your needs. Students who learn to use SQ4R typically find it well worth the effort.
S = Survey Psyche yourself up! Active reading Survey the chapter/text before you read Read quickly through the text to get an overall idea of the content and purpose of the text. Practice: ELSAC resource: Effective Reading. Unit 22 (Skimming); Unit 37 (predicting) Survey the title, headings, subheading, diagrams captions under picture, charts, maps any questions/study notes to determine what you already know about the topic comprehension questions to give you a sense of what to focus on as you read the introductory and concluding paragraphs of article table of contents/index/abstract (if it’s a book)
Q = Question Active reading Use previous knowledge. Predict new knowledge. Ask... What do I want to find out from the text? What do I predict I might learn? What did the lecturer say about this chapter/topic when it was assigned? What’s the author’s purpose-informing, persuading, comparing, etc? What is the problem? Why is it a problem? How does it affect people? Turn title, headings into questions. Questionwhile you are surveying. Asking questions helps you read critically and with purpose. Practice: Effective Reading. Unit 37 (Inferring)
R1=Read Active reading Be selective! When you read, don’t slide your eyes over the words, but actively engage with the text. Practise skimming: reading quickly for general meaning, main ideas and purpose of text Practise scanning: looking for a specific fact or detail or word. Practice:Effective Reading. Unit 2 (Dealing with unfamiliar words); Unit 22 (Understanding Text organisation Do not say words under your breath. Try to focus on groups of words (clustering/chunking-see Reading Skills 1) Slow down slightly for key information, such as definitions, underlined, italicised or bold printed words/phrases Speed up for less important information, such as examples and details. Look for answers to questions raised. Make notes in the margins/on paper. Understand the writer’s purpose (e.gargument, research procedures, problem-solution, cause and effect, comparison and contrast) . Guess at general meaning of words.
Activity 1: Skimming for general information Survey the questions. Then skim the passage in 30 seconds. DO NOT spend more than this amount of time on your first reading. Circle the correct answer to each question. 1 This passage is about A) a person B) a place C) an animal D) a time. 2 This passage discusses A) a problem B) a solution C) an opinion D) a policy. 3 The author of this passage expresses A) love B) concern C) joy D) anger. 4 The topic of this passage is A) the cougar B) mammals of the Western Hemisphere C) endangered species D) a threat to livestock Sometimes called puma, panther, or mountain lion, the agile cougar has a greater natural range than any other mammal in the Western Hemisphere except humans. However, long viewed as a threat to livestock, it has been intensively hunted since the arrival of European colonists to the Americas and was almost extinct by the early twentieth century. While protective measures have been implemented in the United States, humans continue to destroy the cougar’s habitat, further endangering this solitary cat.
Activity 2: Scanning for Details (same passage) Allow yourself ONE minute to do this exercise. Read the questions below about the passage in Activity 1. Then, using the related words in bold print below, QUICKLY scan the passage to find the answer to each question. Write your answer in the space provided: 1 The cougar is know by how many other names? 2 In what part of the world does the cougar live? 3 At what point in time did the cougar face extinction? 4 What country has measures to protect the cougar?
Answers to Activities 1 and 2 Activity 1 C2)A3)B 4) A Activity 2 three the Western Hemisphere the early twentieth century the United States
R2 = Recite Put ideas in your own words. Active reading ▶Restating something in your own words improves memory and checks understanding ▶Could be done orally (talking with others), or in writing. Practice: Effective Reading. Unit 22 (Writing summaries) ▶Summarise, in your own words, the main ideas. (This could be an outline or a mind-map or notes) ▶Make notes in the margin under your own headings or key words after each paragraph ▶Look up the meaning of recurring key terms and underline them.
R3=Reflect/Relate Make connections. Active reading This is the phase where you ask how you will use the new facts and concepts. Make connections with what you already know about the topic. Check your memory by reciting and quizzing yourself again. Ask: Do I agree or disagree with the author(s)? What did I find interesting/confusing? How can I use this new information? What else do I need to know more about ?
R4= Review Active reading Further reduce the information Skim over the chapter /text or read over your notes. Use 3-5 (or more, if it’s a long text/chapter) key vocabulary from the text to write a summary. This is an effective strategy for retaining information for study and exam times.
Other Reading Strategies ▶Understanding text types and their characteristic language features ▶Understanding text organisation and cohesion (linking words, signposts, sentence structure and other grammar features, context clues) ▶ Dealing with unfamiliar words
Other Strategies: Understanding text type and structure Most text types have characteristic features of language and style according to their purpose. Expository texts – aim to define, clarify, describe, inform and explain. (a feature of scientific/technical writing/reports) Argument /Discussion texts – aim to do all the above but also seek to express opinions, put forward ideas and persuade or change views through convincing discussion or argument.
Other Strategies: Understanding Cohesion (logical relationships) in a Text Every text has a structure. It is not just a random collection of sentences which are related to each other in a meaningful way. Notice linking devices or transitions used in the text to increase reading effectiveness and comprehension, e.g ▶addition: Those is favour of legalization …(3 arguments). ……They argue that… Further, they argue that…. Finally, …. ▶pronouns and repetition of key noun/synonym as cohesion devices, e.g. The number of drug overdose deaths and drug-related homicides has also increased. This (pronoun) is in spite of the fact that the government has spent to solve the drug problem (repetition). The fight against drugs (repetition) is…., and most experts NOTE: Learn more about cohesion in Module Three : Writing: Paragraphs
Unpacking long sentences to find the main idea The following sentence is a complex sentence but the main sentence is the one underlined. The clauses in between are the subordinate idea. The cold, dull truth is that when self-loading weapons are fired in confined spaces, even if they are being used by trained men firing single, aimed shots, innocent people can very easily get killed. NOTE: Learn more about Complex Sentences in Module Three: Writing: Sentences
Other Strategies: Understanding Paragraph Structure In most academic writing, the first sentence of each paragraph is the topic sentence (T). The topic sentence is the most general, most important sentence in the paragraph. It contains the controlling idea(s) that need to be described, explained and supported in the sentences that follow (E). These could be an explanation, an example, or further evidence. NOTE: Learn more about TEE in Module Three: Writing: Paragraphs [T] Those who oppose legalisation respond that, if drugs are legalised, drug use and addiction will skyrocket. [E] They point to the experience with alcohol, which was prohibited in the United States in the 1920s. [E] Others feel that the use of drugs is a stepping stone to other crimes. [E] For example, the use of marijuana leads to the use of heroin or cocaine, and on to more serious crime.
Other Strategies: Dealing with unfamiliar words Use context/language clues Study how the meaning of the bolded words in each of the following sentences can be understood from the context or other techniques, before reaching for the dicitonary.