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Reading in College: Checklists and Examples

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Timothy Burke

on 21 August 2017

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Transcript of Reading in College: Checklists and Examples

Pre-Reading Checklist
a.What is this professor like? What are their real expectations versus their declared expectations regarding reading and preparation? How important is this class to the student?
b.What is the average or typical reason why reading is assigned in this class? (background, supplementary material, ‘re-emphasis’, or as a focus for discussion)
c.Why has this particular reading been assigned? How important is it? (is it going to be used for a paper?)
d.What kind of reading is it? (textbook, scholarly analysis, testimony or document, novel or poem, web page, etc.)
Not suitable: creative writing, first-person testimony, documentary evidence
Not needed: 'pre-skimmed' textbooks
Closer to science: argument, evidence clearly separated and easily extracted, but also highly technical
Closer to humanities scholarship or journalism: variably friendly to skimming, but argument, evidence and rhetoric cannot be separated and may be highly idiosyncratic or personal
Suitability for Skimming
a.Find the overall argument of the reading. If no argument, then a justification.
b.Find the argument of each chapter or section of the reading.
c.Outline the sequence of the overall and specific arguments.
d.Get a feel for the kinds of evidence or reasoning the author prefers.
e.Find some interesting, discussable passages or sections.
f.Assess your own level of interest and proceed from there.
Be able to summarize the importance or meaning of the text in relation to the class content
Be able to describe something you know as a result of reading the text
Bring something to the class with you that’s discussable
Easiest: a question
Easier: an observation or response
Harder: a critique
Hardest: demonstrating ownership through reapplication
Best Outcomes
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