“This study sought to assess how college students spend their time communicating and what impact, if any, communications devices may be having on how that time is spent. Undergraduates (N = 696) at four southeastern colleges were surveyed. Results revealed that listening comprises 55.4% of the total average communication day followed by reading (17.1%), speaking (16.1%), and writing (11.4%). Each of these communication behaviors includes some aspect of Internet use. College students spend as much time listening to media as they do engaged in interpersonal interactions. New technology is changing the way mediated communication activities are perceived. A different paradigm of expressive, receptive, and interactive communication is offered. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)” ¹ Emanuel, R., Adams, J., Baker, K., Daufin, E. K., Elington, C. Fitts, E. … Okeowo, D. (2008). How College Students Spend Their Time Communicating [Abstract]. International Journal of Listening, 22, 13 – 28. doi: 10.1080/10904010701802139 Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10904010701802139 ² OECD (2013), OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264204256-en
This may be a good opportunity to remind/discuss with students how to “chunk” and schedule their reading assignments into study time. For Example: If you have a Psychology test in 2 weeks covering chapters 5, 6 and 8, first total the number of pages you need to read. (Let’s say it’s 175.) Next, subtract a couple of days from today until test day. (2 weeks = 14 days; subtract 4 days so you are not reading the night before the test and you have time to review your reading) OK. Now you have to read 175 pages in 10 days. Divide 175 by 10 and you get 17.5 or 17 ½ pages a day. Now, isn’t it easier to imagine 17 ½ pages a day instead of 175 pages?!?
Slide will appear blank, with only the title visible initially. ASK: What – if anything – do you do to Prepare to read? Allow time to participants to consider and maybe even jot down a thought or two on scrap paper. Alternately, you may provide participants with a list of ideas from the slide and ask them to check off all the ones they do. [*The reason for the ½ hour rule is that even if you are only able to read a section of text in that time, it is still text you’ve read; something is better than nothing. As you grow as a reader, you will be able to better estimate how much time you need for different subjects. Also, brain research shows that ½ hour segments of time are the most effective for subject retention. Students should always switch subjects every 30 minutes or so to facilitate/maximize learning and retention.]
PURPOSE – Activity: Have participants take out a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter. Distribute copies of “The House”. Instruct students to read through the passage and underline everything they think is important or which might be asked on a test. Allow 3 – 5 minutes for the class to read through the passage. Next, direct the students to take out their pen and read through the passage a second time. This time, instruct the participants to circle the things in the text which would be important to a robber or thief. Again, allow a few minutes to for them to complete this process. Finally, direct the class to use a highlighter to highlight everything in the text which would be important to a real estate agent who might be selling the house. Once completed, ask participants which time was the easiest. - - Most likely, the 2nd and 3rd readings were easiest. Ask why. (ASNWER: The purpose for reading the text the 2nd and 3rd times was clear and specific; the first time was too general.) “Having a purpose helps readers remember what they read and helps them determine what is important” (Tovani, 2000).
ASK: How do you know when you’ve stopped making meaning of the text and are now just reading the words on the page? - - Allow time for students to consider this question. Possibly provide participants with an example from a textbook or other literature to practice with in order to frame their answers.
Answers will vary, but some possible responses may include: “What I’m reading no longer connects to information I already know”; “I can no longer ‘see’ a picture in my head”; “I can’t imagine what is being described”; “It’s like reading or listening to a foreign language”; “I can’t ask or answer questions about what I’m reading”; “I can’t explain or summarize what I’ve just read in my own words”….
Reading without comprehension is called “decoding” and it is something every literate person is capable of. Think about the teacher in the classroom scenes of Peanuts comics/cartoons. What does she sound like? “whah-whah-whah-whah-whah-whan…” There’s intonation, but no meaning. Or, consider the first stanza from the poem, Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll: “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.” We are all capable of reading the words, but can we make sense of them?
Informational (college) texts often use superfluous language. Key information is not likely to be contained in prepositional phrases. On the other hand, reading or skimming too quickly just to “get through” material without comprehending it is a waste of time.
Visual aids are not put in the text to just make it “look pretty” or to break up the writing. Most graphics can significantly improve comprehension by providing the reader with an image s/he can relate the text to. Remember: A picture is worth 1,000 words!
Invite participants to volunteer any additional suggestions for studying/retaining the information.
•Identify the importance of reading –
effectively, critically – in college and the
•Recognize the three stages of reading
•Implement a reading success strategy for
each stage of reading to improve
comprehension and retention
How Important is Reading Anyway?
• After listening, reading is the most common form of
communication in which college students engage.¹
• Reading doesn’t end with graduation; reading in the
workplace is directly connected to productivity²
• In other words, the better reader you are, the more
productive you are. The more productive you are, the
greater likelihood you will be promoted and the higher
one is promoted, the more money s/he earns.
Steps in the Reading Process
•Prepare to read
• Set a goal or calculate how many pages you need to read
• Set aside sufficient time to read – for college reading plan on half-
an-hour segments at least
• Turn off/eliminate ALL distractions – music, cell phone, TV, etc.
• Have materials for reading convenient – pencil, pen, highlighter,
sticky notes or notebook paper, lecture slides, dictionary, …
• Establish a PURPOSE for reading
Image credit: http://www.huntsvillelibrary.ca/en/booksCollectionsMore/resources/Parent_Teacher_Resource/books_on_their_side.jpg
•How do you know
what you’re reading?
•Identify when & where
you first disconnect
with the text
Image Retrieved from: http://www.mediccast.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Frustrated-student-white.gif
During Reading – continued
• Do mark the text by
writing in the margins or
• Don’t simply highlight text
• Questions (I wonder… What
if… How does this…)
• Examples from lecture/lab
• Prior knowledge (This
reminds me of… This is a
result of… )
• Personal experience(s) or
knowledge (I saw a movie
about… I heard on the
news… I remember visiting…
Image retrieved from: http://www.textbookdollars.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/highlighted-textbook-300x225.jpg
During Reading – final tips
•Read out loud – engaging additional senses
improves comprehension and helps pinpoint when &
where disconnections occur
•Speed up or slow down reading speed
•Re-read a passage or section of text
•Be sure to look at the pictures, graphs, and other
•Continue reading even if you are a little confused;
sometimes additional examples will help clarify
• Review your text notes and make connections to
• If you have questions about the reading, write them
down to ask in class
• Answer any questions in the text, at the end of the
section, or at the end of the chapter whether the
questions were “assigned” or not
• Summarize the notes, questions, predictions, or
connections you wrote while reading and summarize
Emanuel, R., Adams, J., Baker, K., Daufin, E. K., Elington, C. Fitts, E. … Okeowo, D. (2008). How College
Students Spend Their Time Communicating [Abstract]. International Journal of Listening, 22, 13 –
28. doi: 10.1080/10904010701802139 Retrieved from
Gardner, J. N. & Barefoot, B. O. (2016). Your College Experience: Strategies for Success. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.
Gore, P. A., Leuwerke, W. & Metz, A. J. (2016). Connections: Empowering College and Career Success. Boston, MA:
Myth vs. Truth: How to Read a Textbook. (2013, September 26). [Web log]. Retrieved from Aristotle Circle Peers at:
OECD (2013), OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Publishing.
Piscitelli, S. (2015). Choices for College Success (3rd ed.). J. McPherson (Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Tovani, C. (2000). I Read It, But I Don’t Get It. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.