Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses
87 views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

NCEE_EnglishReport_May2013.pdf

PHardman's insight:

Let's start with the grim news:  this NCEE (National Center on Education and the Economy) report found that students from community colleges in seven states did not have the reading skills to succeed in college, particularly where their textbooks were concerned, and that instructors in disciplines other than English used workarounds like Powerpoints to simplify course material rather than address their reading problems.  Only in first-year composition courses were students taught how to read more complex texts, but students clearly struggled with the increased reading and writing demands of university-parallel writing courses.  Members of the committee reached these conclusions by analyzing course syllabi, textbooks, reading and writing assignments, and actual student papers.  This is an impressive piece of research by a distinguished panel of experts. 

 

Be sure to download the Reading Complexity Scale on p. 11 and the Context Level Progression Scale on p. 12.  Then compare the scales to the reading assignments you give your students.  Are we challenging them to develop the skills they need to succeed in upper-level courses in their majors?  In the reading they will need to do in the workplace?

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Students May Be Reading Plenty, but Not for Class

Students May Be Reading Plenty, but Not for Class | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
More than 40 percent of the time students spend reading is on social media, a new study finds.
PHardman's insight:

Because this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education is available only to subscribers, I will summarize it here.  The article reports the research conducted by SuHua Huang, author of "Reading Habits of College Students in the United States," an unpublished paper delivered at a recent American Educational Research meeting.  In her survey of 1,265 students at a southwestern U.S. university, Huang found that out of the 21 hours students reported reading each week, only 7.7 hours were spent on academic reading, with the rest of the time spent on social media and personal interests.  In class, Huang observed students focusing on their cell phones rather than listening to lectures or taking notes; often they didn't even bring their textbooks to class. 

 

"As professors," [Huang] said, "we have to update our teaching methods and integrate technology and use social media in the lecture."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition | Council of Writing Program Administrators

WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition | Council of Writing Program Administrators | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
PHardman's insight:

In their 2008 update of their well-known statement of desired learning outcomes in first-year composition courses, the WPA (Writing Program Administrators) Council reiterates the importance of teaching college students better reading skills. By the end of the first-year writing course (which is often a sequence of two courses at most colleges and universities), students should demonstrate that they can “Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating” and understand “The interactions among critical thinking, critical reading, and writing.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Idea_Paper_40.pdf

PHardman's insight:

Eric Hobson's white paper is essential for faculty who want to help improve their students' reading.  He identifies common problems and provides creative but practical solutions.  For instance, one valuable observation he makes is that students are often overwhelmed by all of the reading we "assign," some of which is optional, some truly required.  He argues that we should prune our reading lists to focus on teaching the essential sources better or at least clearly delineate between what is essential and what is simply worthwhile.  For material students must master for the discipline, Hobson suggests spending 15 minutes in class having students read the text.  This is time well spent because, as Hobson notes (and our experience as college instructors validates), research

consistently shows that only about 20-30% of students will have read assignments before class--and what students call "reading" is often simply skimming a few pages. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Digital Pedagogy Unplugged

DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Digital Pedagogy Unplugged | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
PHardman's insight:

In "Digital Pedagogy Unplugged," Paul Fyfe describes two techniques to improve students' reading, both of which require them to read in class:  Stephan Ramsay's "no reading" reading sessions and Brad Pasenak's highlighting of key words in the e-book version of Pride and Prejudice.  Although Ramsay's "no reading" seminars are for graduate students, undergrads, especially first-year students, can benefit from "naked reading"--reading together in class a text which they have not seen before.  As Fyfe observes, “Because no one (save the professor) has read it before, the seminar reimagines real-time information processing in a very old fashioned way." 

 

In his literature course, Pasenak highlights keywords from Pride and Prejudice from an electronic version, projecting the text on a screen for the class, focusing on such concepts as "pride" or "prejudice" in order for students to analyze the text of Austen's novel for patterns.  This technique would work easily in a first-year comp course with frequently-taught essays that are readily available in e-versions like Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" or Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" or Virgnia Woolf's "Women and the Professions."  Analyzing a page or two of verbal patterns of these classic essays will not only teach students close reading but also expand their understanding of repetition as a means of emphasis, the value of transitions, audience awareness and writers' responses to it, and so on.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

The Little Assignment with the Big Impact: Reading, Writing, Critical Reflection | Faculty Focus

The Little Assignment with the Big Impact: Reading, Writing, Critical Reflection | Faculty Focus | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
Several years ago, I came across the Purposeful Reading Assignment that was reported to encourage students to read, reflect, and write about readings assigned for class.
PHardman's insight:

Geraldine Van Gyn describes how the Purposeful Reading Assignment (AKA 3-2-1) works:  students read an assignment and then describe the three most important aspects of it (which can be variously limited depending on the discpline), then identify two confusing aspects of the reading (in rank order), explaining why they had difficulties, and then develop one question for the author not related to their areas of confusion or details about the content--deeper-level questions.  Van Gyn uses an online template for the assignment that students can re-use throughout the term.  Included in the article is a PDF with an extended description of the assignment and its uses.

 

This assignment can obviously be used to teach better reading skills in other disciplines, not just in first-year writing courses. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Understanding Student Reading Habits through a Student Reading Survey | Faculty Inquiry Network

PHardman's insight:

This blog post links to David Reynolds' description of a reading survey he gives his students to identify those who have problems.  If you're interested in finding out what your students read, you don't have to reinvent the wheel.  The survey also can be used in first-year writing courses as part of a unit on college student literacy:  students can survey students in other classes or at other colleges and summarize their findings, giving them good experience conducting primary research.  Do note, of course, that the Student Reading Survey provided here is copyrighted.  In my college student literacy unit, we use a survey students and I developed and edited over several years to examine literacy issues we are especially interested in, which vary from year to year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Finding the main idea in a text: example one

Visit the Skills@Library reading page for further information on this topic: http://library.leeds.ac.uk/skills-reading
PHardman's insight:

This YouTube is the first in a series of three produced by the Leeds University (UK) Skills Center on how to do close reading of an informational text.  It's pretty basic, but covers important details about transitions, repetition of key points, pronouns as connectors, etc. that students in a first-year composition course at a two-year college may need to review to get more from their reading.  I've watched all three videos and will post them on my Blackboard course sites for our first composition course.  Too often we assume students know the fine points of reading an informational text when they don't.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Annotating a text

Video transcript: The first part of note taking while your reading is annotating. Annotating is making marks on what you're reading, either by underlining or...
PHardman's insight:

This is another great video from the Leeds University (UK) Skills Center on how to annotate an informational text.  Having taught first-year college writing for almost 40 years, I believe we cannot emphasize the practice of annotating texts too much.  When I first started teaching, students would bring heavily annotated textbooks to class, but now I see students staring at bare, naked textbooks--nary a mark on them!  When I show them my own messy, annotated textbooks and ask them why they don't mark in their books, they respond that (1) they were taught in high school not to mark in textbooks because they had to turn them back in and that (2) they didn't want to mark in college textbooks lest they harm their resale value. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

LiteracyTA

LiteracyTA | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
PHardman's insight:

This link takes you to the LiteracyTA series on YouTube, which cover a number of essential college student literacy skills like Marking a Text, Writing in the Margins, Organizing Information, Charting a Text--all short and visual and thus all appealing to our current crop of first-year college students. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Now E-Textbooks Can Report Back on Students' Reading Habits - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Now E-Textbooks Can Report Back on Students' Reading Habits - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
PHardman's insight:

Marc Perry reports on the research being conducted on students' reading habits and engagement with course material through their use of electronic textbooks.  Although e-textbooks are not yet in wide use, they do offer us still another window into students' reading habits; just as Amazon knows what readers highlight on their Kindles, so publishers know how students use e-textbooks.  However, I wonder how many students would be eager to use e-textbooks knowing that their reading practices can be tracked.  At least with my Kindle, I know Amazon is tracking my every move, but I doubt students know Big Brother is looking over their shoulders when they read a textbook. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
More than eight in ten Americans ages 16-29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. Many say they are reading more in the era of digital content, especially on their mobile phones and on computers.
PHardman's insight:

Here is a rare piece of good news:  a recent Pew study on young people’s uses of libraries and reading habits found that college-aged students had the highest reading rate of any age group, noting an increase in their reading beginning at age 18, especially where e-books were concerned.  We need to figure out ways to connect their increased reading with the more critical reading skills they need to succeed in college.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

CE0706Texts.pdf

PHardman's insight:

Jolliffe and Harl's research on college student reading, originally published in College English, is an essential source for faculty who want to understand how and why college students read (or don't read) assignments for their classes.  Their research is seminal, the best journal article I've read on the topic of college student reading practices and resistance to reading. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

On Reading Aloud in the Classroom

On Reading Aloud in the Classroom | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
One of the greatest mistakes we make in literary studies---and as teachers of literature---is privileging one form of literacy above all others. Namely, literacy as silent reading. In our classroom...
PHardman's insight:

In this blog post, one of the founding ProfHackers, Mark Samples, describes several methods for improving student reading by having students read out loud in the classroom.  Of particular interest is "jump-in" or "popcorn" style reading, based on the work of Sheridan Blau, in which students take turns reading sentences of a text out loud.  Students next vote on the section of the text that is the most significant and reread it. Be sure to read the comments following Samples' blog, especially the one from Sarah, who writes, "What you’ve done in having them hand off reading aloud is to create a community of readers. That’s way more powerful than simply having one student read to other students.” 

 

And pay attention to the pullout quote above:  we should not forget that reading silently came relatively late in human literacy development.  For centuries, reading meant reading aloud.  Perhaps our students might "get" more out of their reading if they did more reading aloud--in class.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

How to notice things in an English class: Read aloud | The Salt-Box

PHardman's insight:

ProfHacker Jason Jones makes a case for having students read out loud in class in this blog post.  What students call "reading" means, in Jones' words, "that they cast their eyes over the page once or twice."  But when he has students read an assignment out loud in class, good things happen.  As he notes,

 

"In part, we do this to focus our attention on that chunk of text. But we also read aloud because, if you do it right, you begin to notice more and more how the details of a text start to work together. You might not yet have the technical vocabulary to analyze the passage, but successfully reading a passage aloud (i.e., not in a flat, hurried monotone) represents a significant step toward producing a close reading.

 

Students so frequently say that they didn’t understand a passage until they heard it read aloud that I’ve stopped keeping track.”

 

Jones' observation that students understand what they hear better than what they read makes perfect sense when we consider that humans innately acquire language through hearing but have to be taught how to read and write.  We are not pre-wired to read OR write. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Why I Support the Common Core Reading Standards

Why I Support the Common Core Reading Standards | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
This English professor thinks the program's approach to reading could fix the problems she sees among her college students.
PHardman's insight:

Karen Swallow Prior describes problems every college English instructor recognizes--students who don’t read assignments in depth before class and don’t understand the purposes of reading beyond to skim and then write their “reactions” to the text, sticking to practices they learned in high school and resisting learning the critical reading skills we expect in college classes. Swallow’s solutions include requiring students to bring textbooks to class and annotating reading assignments.  Be sure to read the comments to this article.  I was shocked at how many Atlantic readers thought Prior was dumbing down the course by requiring students to bring textbooks to class or blamed her problems on the fact that she taught at Liberty University, a faith-based institution.  Clearly, people outside of academic--people who are not employers--have no idea of the challenge we face in getting college students to become more sophisticated readers of texts--any text.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Frequent, Low-Stakes Grading: Assessment for Communication, Confidence | Faculty Focus

Frequent, Low-Stakes Grading: Assessment for Communication, Confidence | Faculty Focus | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
After going out for tacos, our students can review the restaurant on a website. They watch audiences reach a verdict on talent each season on American Idol.
PHardman's insight:

Scott Warnock, perhaps best known for his NCTE publication, Teaching Writing Online:  How and Why, here explains how to use low-stakes writing assignments to encourage students to read and be prepared for class; he argues that such assignments work particularly well in online writing courses.  He explains the types of low-stakes assignments he gives, which include short responses to readings, notes on key points and questions or areas of confusion, annotations, and reflections, and also explains how he scores such assignments. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Using Reading Groups to Get Students Reading | Faculty Focus

Using Reading Groups to Get Students Reading | Faculty Focus | Improving Students' Reading Skills in First-Year Composition Courses | Scoop.it
Given how difficult it is to get students to do their assigned reading, we continue to share strategies that encourage students to read, that develop their reading skills, and in this case, that also develop their abilities to work with others in...
PHardman's insight:

Faculty Focus editor and writer Maryellen Weimer explains how to use reading groups--with assigned roles--to encourage deeper student reading and engagement with texts.  Although these reading groups were used for outside reading of articles on controversial topics in a sociology course, this technique would work well in any discipline and is perfect for first-year writing courses where students already do a lot of collaborative work.  Students will like the structure of the assigned roles--discussion leader, passage master, creative connector, devil's advocate, and reporter--and instructors will find the transparent group work easier to grade. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Textbook Reading

PHardman's insight:

Although there are a plethora of YouTube videos on how to read textbooks, I especially like this one from Land Community College because it really speaks to the needs of two-year college students.  Just look at the questions on the first page--my students would say "yes" to most of them. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

Reading Your Textbooks Effectively and Efficiently

PHardman's insight:

This list of resources for college students who want to improve their reading skills was compiled by the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College.  Includes in the list are links to close-captioned films on improving reading and handouts on classic tips for better textbook reading, notetaking, and so on. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PHardman
Scoop.it!

How to annotate a text

intro and examples of annotations
PHardman's insight:

Although this YouTube video on how to annotate a text is directed toward HaynesEnglish's world literature students, she provides an excellent overview of the various types of annotation and how they can improve students' reading skills in general, not just in an English course.  At just over 13 minutes, this is longer than the usual YouTube video, but students will find it's worth their time because they can apply these skills in so many courses. 

more...
No comment yet.