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Academic Reading

What can I do to be a better reader of academic English?

Preview your textbook.

Take a look at the whole book and see what kind of information you will be reading.

Look at how that information is arranged.

The textbook is divided into three sections:
   the front,
   the body, and
   the back

The Front

The title page
The copyright page
The table of contents
The preface

The Body

The Chapters

The Back

The appendix
The index
The glossary

Survey the reading passages.

Look at the reading passage to determine how you will read the information.

Try to determine how long it will take you to read the passage.

Look for subtitles and sections, words in boldface or italics, and any graphs or charts.

Find the section that looks most interesting to you.

Look at the questions at the end of each chapter.

Determine what kind of questions they are in order to prepare your answers.

There are three types of questions that you might find:
   literal questions,
   interpretative 1uestions, and
   application questions.

Literal Questions

These are the easiest questions because the answers are in the text.

Interpretative Questions

The information is in the text, but you have to create an answer combining the relationship between the sentences in the text and your own background knowledge. Sometimes these questions are called inference questions.

Application Questions

Use the information from the text and apply it to a different situation. Analyze and evaluate what is written in the text. This is a more demanding type of question because you must really understand the reading passage.

Keep a reading journal.

Use the journal as a review strategy and as a record of your progress in reading class. There are several types of journal entries:
   personal response entry,
   self-observation entry,
   a summary entry, and
   an analysis entry.

Personal response entry

You respond to what you have read in a personal way. Did you like what you read? Were you already familiar with the topic? What new concept did you learn? Did you agree or disagree with the author? Why would you read it again? Did it affect you personally? What details did you remember from the passage?

Self-observation entry

Become aware of yourself as a reader by asking yourself if you enjoyed the reading or not. Did you have a hard time concentrating? Was the vocabulary difficult? Did the organization affect your reading? Did the length affect your interest or comprehension? How quickly could you read the passage? Is your reading improving?

A summary entry

Read the whole passage.
Underline the major points and their support.
Write a paragraph that includes the major point and its support.

An analysis entry

Different teachers will ask you to keep a journal for different reasons: to explore your feelings, to write whatever comes to your mind, to analyze what another writer means. Make sure you understand the purpose of the journal for each class.

Source: Reading at the University by Linda Harbaugh Hillman. Heinle and Heinle Publishers, 1990.

Copyright 2003 by Freddie A. Bowles. All Rights Reserved.