Some Helpful Reading Strategies
Close Reading and Connecting to the Text
This strategy is used by literary critics to illuminate different texts. The focus tends to be on the language, form, and overall theme or meaning.
The goal is to make you thoughtful readers that can analyze, connect, and find a deeper meaning with various forms of writing.
Three Ways to Connect to a Text
Close Reading Helps...
From each reading, find a word, phrase, theme, idea, etc. that you can connect to (remember the three major ways to connect)
The response should...
Close Reading of poetry follows a similar process in drawing out meaning and connections. However, there is also a focus on the form and language used, with an analysis of its contribution to meaning. For more information check out this website on close reading and the video below "How To Do A Close Reading of a Poem".
Do you need an example?
Information from Purdue OWL
In many situations, you will not have to provide the level of detail that the original writer did. At such times, you should summarize, or remove minor details. Here’s an example:
Example: Overall, the first two quarters of 2008 have been profitable to the company. Nineteen of twenty departments report cutting costs at least twenty percent, and sales from fifteen departments have risen five percent, or about $5 million. Despite these positive developments, most department heads believe that they will not be able to maintain these levels for the remainder of the year.
Revision: The company has driven profits from January to June of 2008, but the rest of the year is not expected to be as good.
Unlike paraphrasing, the basic order of the original text is maintained. However, some words have been changed to close synonyms. When summarizing, avoid cutting too much important information.
The 100% Rule
When reading, you will not know every single word. If you had to use a dictionary to look up each word you don’t know, you would read very, very slowly. In fact, it is not necessary to understand every word you read. Many words can be skipped, especially adjectives and adverbs.
Read a paragraph, skipping the words you don’t know. If you can understand the general meaning of the paragraph, then don’t worry! Remember, you don’t need to know 100% of the words.
Talk to the Text
This strategy is designed for independent engagement with a text to improve comprehension, draw connections, and create more enriching discussions about a topic or text.
When reading a text write in the margins, make notes, designate unfamiliar vocabulary, ask questions, and make comments and predictions.
The ability to create questions from a text that you read can demonstrate a deeper level of engagement and force a read to dig into the basic information as well as a broader connection.
After reading a given text generate a list of basic, or surface level questions. These are questions that have specific answers that can be found in the text. Next, create a list of critical thinking, or broader questions. These are questions that do not have one correct answer. They are questions that allow for people discuss and the contribution of multiple perspectives.
If you are reading with a group, pool your questions and go around asking your peers questions and facilitate a discussion around the text.
Chunking helps when approaching more informational and even complex academic articles/texts. It is very easy to read a text and realize that you are comprehending any of the information. Chunking forces you to check your understanding periodically while reading.
Before you read break the text up into several sections. After you complete each chunk complete to following steps before moving on to the next one.
When reading certain texts, especially media/news articles, it is important to recognize and consider the different perspectives and biases represented.
When researching a topic using news articles, search multiple sources and analyze multiple articles.
After reading each article:
After reading multiple sources of information, review and reflect on the perspectives and the potential biases about the topic. Consider, as well, the perspectives that are lacking from the conversation. Your next step would be to find those perspectives to gain a more developed, well-rounded understanding.
Resources on Plagiarism