Unit 4: Reading to Learn
At first glance, you may think that the topic of this unit, reading, is unnecessary. You may think you already know everything there is to know about reading. After all, if you have successfully completed the previous units of this course, you are doing it quite well right now! However, before you skip to the next unit, consider how often you will be asked to read something in college. The truth is, if you approach every reading assignment you receive in college by reading one word after another, you will probably never finish in time.
The amount of reading material a college student is responsible for requires types of reading skills that are different from what you likely have been taught in elementary, middle, and high school. This unit will explain how you can learn more in less time during your reading sessions by scanning the body of a text and taking notes before you read, identifying the most important passages to read closely, and then reviewing the important material afterwards.
Reading comprehension is actually a skill that you can improve upon for a lifetime. As you read this unit, keep in mind that the goal of effective learning is not to read the text as quickly as possible, but rather to read it as effectively as possible. If, in the past, you have not been able to remember the main points of a text after reading it, you can use the skills presented in this unit to ensure that the time you spend reading future assignments is used in a valuable way.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- explain the purpose of reading in college and how college-level reading differs from other types of reading;
- describe how reading fits into the learning cycle;
- define active reading and describe each of its four steps; and
- describe strategies for finding and focusing on the important parts of a text.
4.1: Assess Your Current Knowledge and Attitudes
Complete the first two self-assessments of Chapter 5, titled "Where Are You Now?" and "Where Do You Want to Go?" You already know how to read, but there are different skills that can enhance your ability to learn through reading. These self-assessment tools, and the brief section that follows, titled "Reading To Learn," will help you measure where you are now and identify ways in which you can improve your own reading skills.
4.2: A New Way to Approach Reading
Read the chapter introduction and Section 5.1. This section will help you understand the ways in which reading is going to be different in college. In order to accomplish the maximum amount of learning while reading, you must take a different approach to a text than you did in high school or when you have read for pleasure in the past.
4.3: How Do You Read to Learn?
Read Section 5.2. This section presents the four steps of active reading, an approach to reading a text that will allow you to absorb more information from a text in a shorter amount of time. This is a valuable skill you should work to acquire because you will be responsible for a great deal of reading as a college student! Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
4.3.1: Preparing to Read
Complete this activity, in which you will practice active reading and the Cornell Method on a text of your choice. Be sure to answer reflective question at the end of this activity.
4.3.2: Reviewing What You Read
Watch the video under the heading titled "Learn." Take notes as you watch, and then review your notes as well as the graphics under the webpage's heading titled "Visualize." Finally, complete the exercise under the heading titled "Apply" and email the answers to yourself.
4.3.3: Practice Your Advanced Reading Skills Now
Complete this activity, in which you will continue working on the reading selection you chose in the first part of this activity. As you read, you will follow up on the previous activity, answering the questions you wrote down. You will also write a brief reflection on your reading experience.
4.4: Dealing with Special Texts
Read this section. Reading in college is unique because, in addition to having a different overall goal for reading, you will also be reading different types of texts. This section discusses the main types of texts you will encounter in college and give you some special strategies for getting the most out of each.
4.5: Building Your Vocabulary
Read this section. Learning new vocabulary is not all about flashcards and memorization. When you read effectively, you absorb the meanings of many words quickly. However, one of the main objectives of many college-level texts, especially in introductory courses, is to provide you with new vocabulary that is specific to the subject matter you are studying. Therefore, you should have a strategy for how to learn and incorporate new words into your writing and verbal communication. Additionally, if one of your reasons for achieving a college education is to advance your career or socioeconomic status, you will want to pay particular attention to eliminating what this text refers to as "lazy speech," which many people consider to be an indicator of lack of education. Make sure to complete the activities and checkpoint exercises within the text.
For an even more accurate measurement of any "lazy speech" you may use, consider recording a conversation with a friend (with their permission, of course) and listening to yourself, noting any verbal expressions you may want to eliminate.
In your notebook, make a list of the specific types of new words you may be interested in acquiring through your undergraduate reading.
Unit 4 Assessment
- Receive a grade
This quiz will test your understanding of the definition and elements of active reading.