Part One: College Reading and SQ4R
This module will focus on the myths of college reading, the principles of active reading, and a textbook reading method called SQ4R. Your assignment will be to read and reflect upon these concepts and then set up a meeting with another student to assist him or her in also understanding these three components.
The Myths of Reading
Please use this link from Dartmouth University, to download and read a .pdf document, which explores six myths of college reading.
Principles of Active Reading
Active Reading versus Passive Reading
This link from the City College of San Francisco that makes the distinctions between active and passive reading. Please be able to make the distinction between active versus passive reading strategies and understand the reasons for these designations.
Don’t Read Everything the Same Way
Everyone’s time is limited. Nonetheless, some college students spend hours reading every word of a textbook or article thinking that this is the way to ensure learning and mastery of the course content. However, we now know from this course and Dr. Chew’s CPEL videos that time spent studying does not necessarily equal time spent learning. When reading college materials, it’s essential to understand that not everything that has been assigned for students to read is important nor requires an equal amount of attention. Please click here to download a Microsoft Word handout from Dartmouth University that helps define when to slow down and when to speed up with course readings.
Getting to Know Your Textbook
Each semester, when you have a new textbook, do you take the time to understand how the textbook is written and has features that assist readers? Textbook authors and textbook companies spend time and money incorporating features for students that are often ignored or not noticed until later in the semester. Click here to download a Microsoft Word handout prepared by Dartmouth University that provides a step-by-step strategy for exploring the textbook features.
The Reading Environment
As the last component of improving college reading, consider your reading environment using this link from Dartmouth University, which downloads as a Microsoft Word handout.
SQ4R is an effective technique for reading traditional textbooks. It is designed to work with how most textbooks are formatted with the use of introductions, headings, maps and diagrams, study questions, etc.
Let’s begin with this video describing the steps of SQ4R. A transcript of this video is also available. Here’s another video describing the steps of SQ4R. The video’s captioning is correct. You’ll notice that they use different terminology in this second video—SQ4R has several variations, and it is sometimes simplified to SQ3R. For a final comparison, have a look at this video on SQ3R, and if you wish, the transcript. The third video is clearly designed for high school students, so you’ll be able to determine whether the further simplification of SQ4R to the three steps of SQ3R might be beneficial.
Part Two: Your Assignments
Assignment One: Conversation about Reading
Your assignments is to have a guided conversation with another student about all of the components covered in this module’s readings, videos, and handouts and then write an essay describing the conversation.
It is up to decide with whom you would like to speak, but the person must be a student. You may pick a family member, partner, classmate, or, if you are adventurous, a stranger at the library. The person should be at least 12 years old and be receptive to the conversation. Plan the conversation in advance, and then set aside at least 20 minutes, talking in a quiet place to talk with a table or desk. When you arrange your time to have the discussion with the person, ask if she or he has a textbook, and if not bring one of yours to demonstrate the information.
Before you have the conversation, prepare a brief outline of what you wish to discuss. It must have these elements:
- The myths of reading.
- The principles of active reading.
- Active reading defined.
- Don’t read everything the same way.
- Getting to know your textbook.
- The reading environment.
- The steps.
- Be prepared to demonstrate and discuss the steps using an actual textbook.
This outline will be submitted to the first Module Five dropbox.
Once you are prepared for the conversation, you will use this outline as a guide, and, if you wish, prepare resources to share, such as the videos or handouts. Remember, too, that you need to have a textbook with you during the conversation. The conversation should last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
At the end of the conversation, take a photo of the two of you with some of the resources, such as the textbook or a handout.
When you are finished with the conversation, write a reflection of at least 500 words describing the interaction. In the reflection, please don’t to repeat the factual information on things like the steps of SQ4R or the definition of active reading. Instead, focus on the person’s response to the information you provided. For example, what was the person’s perception of active reading and did you either change it or modify it? How did the person currently read a textbook and was knowing SQ4R helpful to him or her? Did the person have any ideas to contribute that will be helpful for enhancing your reading? Other considerations you might wish to include are how it felt to prepare this information for someone rather than just using it for yourself or how discussing the ideas with someone enhanced your understanding of the concepts. In other words, it’s a reflection on your interactions, the impacts, and the reactions to your conversation rather than a repetition of the module’s information.
The photo will be included at the end of this reflection paper. If you have a SmartPhone the easiest thing to do is take the photo, email it to yourself, save the attached image file from the email, and insert that image into the Microsoft Word document. If you do not have a camera, see if the person you have the conversation with can take the photo. If it’s still not possible to get a photo, send me an email to let me know before the assignment due date.
The reflection paper with the embedded photo will be submitted to the second dropbox.
Here is how your grade for the conversation about reading will be determined:
Did you submit the outline with an overview of the conversation topics?
Did you submit a quality reflection on the interview, which was not a recap of the information, but a description of the interaction, impacts, and reactions to the conversation?
Did you embed the photograph of the two of you in the essay?
Other considerations that will be reflected in overall grade:
Assignment Two: CPEL Video 4
Dr. Chew’s fourth video applies the principles of deep processing to common study situations, including note taking and highlighting while reading. This video will be the basis for a discussion question and four quiz questions.
Assignment Three: Discussion
Follow this link read about the concept of obedient purposelessness. Your discussion response should summarize and interpret on this concept. You have the freedom to decide how you would like to do so but make sure the response is a reflection and interpretation of the obedient purposelessness concept.
In the video, Dr. Chew discusses the use of highlighting readings as a study strategy. Also read this article by Annie Murphy Paul that describes highlighting as a study technique.
What are important key points about highlighting as a deep processing task versus highlighting as a shallow processing task? How does your method for highlighting reflect a deep or shallow processing task? If you are currently using highlighting as a deep processing tasks, what characteristics of your highlighting make it so? If you you are currently using it as a shallow processing task, how is it shallow and how might you improve your highlighting?