Chapter 1

Effective reading for
academic purposes

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 1
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PPTs t/a Communication Skills, by Bretag, Crossman and Bordia

Learning objectives
On completion of this chapter students will
know how to:
• identify individual reading styles and
recognise their strengths and weaknesses
• understand the role of critical reading in the
Australian academic context
• develop a range of strategies to improve
reading capability, including speed and
comprehension

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 2
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PPTs t/a Communication Skills, by Bretag, Crossman and Bordia

Learning objectives (cont.)
• adapt reading styles to suit the requirements
of different texts
• recognise the integrated nature of reading
and note-taking.

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 3
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PPTs t/a Communication Skills, by Bretag, Crossman and Bordia

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 4 1-4 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Crossman and Bordia . • You will encounter new vocabulary and concepts. Why focus on reading? • Tertiary studies require you to read very widely and in-depth across a range of subject areas. by Bretag. • You might find that the reading strategies you have been using successfully are no longer adequate. • You will begin to notice that writers use different styles and structures of writing depending on the subject area.

Crossman and Bordia . discuss your own reading ability. – What makes a ‘good’ reader? – Are you a good reader? – What is your main problem when reading? – What strategies have you developed for reading? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 5 1-5 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Your own reading style • In groups of three or four. by Bretag.

g. Crossman and Bordia . topic etc. pictures. Your own reading style (cont. cover. font size. by Bretag.) • Also consider the following questions: – What sorts of reading material do you enjoy most? Why? – What attracts you to start reading a book or other text (e.)? – What are the best conditions for your reading? – Do you use the same place? – Do you need to be alone? – Do you read at the same time each day? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 6 1-6 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

 True  False 3. Crossman and Bordia . 1. indicate whether the statement is true or false. Reading is a tedious task that I do only because I have to. by Bretag. I never read (in English) for pleasure. The best way to read academic texts is to just read the abstract or summary and then pretend to have read the whole thing.  True  False 2. Reading (English) quiz For each of the following items.  True  False Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 7 1-7 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

If I could read faster I would be a ‘good’ reader.) 4. Crossman and Bordia . I have some well-developed reading strategies which have worked very well in my study experience to date.  True  False 6. by Bretag. I know I can’t read all the material assigned to me in my program. Reading (English) quiz (cont.  True  False 7. A good strategy to understand difficult vocabulary is to use an electronic translator. so I don’t even try.  True  False 5.  True  False Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 8 1-8 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

I never write notes as I read. I always use a highlighter or pencil when reading academic texts.  True  False 10. Reading (English) quiz (cont.  True  False 9.) 8. I just keep the information in my head. Crossman and Bordia . by Bretag. I find that talking about the main points of a difficult text with a classmate really helps my comprehension.  True  False Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 9 1-9 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

Crossman and Bordia . Critical reading • Students need to take individual responsibility for learning. by Bretag. • Much more reading is needed than just the lecture notes or course guide. • Developing your reading skills is of paramount importance. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 10 1-10 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

1). Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 11 1-11 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. p. • How you read will impact on your understanding of source material and the way you incorporate these sources into your own writing on a topic. Critical reading (cont. Crossman and Bordia .) • ‘…it is not simply what you read or how much you read but how you read that will crucially affect your level of reading skill’ (Boddington and Clanchy 1999. by Bretag.

) • Critical reading involves making judgments about the value of what you are reading (Boddington & Clanchy 1999). by Bretag. • Instead of simply consuming information you are expected to become a producer of information. Crossman and Bordia . Critical reading (cont. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 12 1-12 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • You need to carefully assess what you read while constantly asking yourself whether the information you are reading is useful for the particular assignment you are working on.

by Bretag.) • To develop critical thinking and reading you need to interrogate both the writer and the text. Critical reading (cont. Use the following questions to help you gain a critical perspective: – What is this document about? – Is it accurate? How do you know? – Who wrote it? Is the writer an authority in this field? – Is the writer trying to persuade you of a particular position? – Is this argument based on a broad or narrow view of the issue? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 13 1-13 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Crossman and Bordia .

by Bretag. Crossman and Bordia .) • More questions: – What evidence is offered to support the argument? – What hasn’t been included in the argument? – What would a totally opposite point of view look like? – Do you agree/disagree with the position presented by the writer? – How did you come to this view? – What do other writers have to say about this topic? – Does this text add anything ‘new’ to the topic? – Is this document useful for your present research? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 14 1-14 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Critical reading (cont.

Reading activity • Read and critically evaluate the following two short texts using the critical reading dot points on the last slide. by Bretag. • Which text would be most appropriate for the essay topic ‘Compare and contrast two brands of similar products available internationally’? • How might you incorporate information from Text 2? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 15 1-15 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Crossman and Bordia .

Crossman and Bordia . status. value for money) or abstract and emotional (e. design. Text 1 (Baker 1999) ‘Successful brands are those which create [an] image or personality. These attributes may be real and objective (e.g. youthfulness).g. packaging and effective distribution and display. by Bretag. The personality of the brand is a function of the rational characteristics but this has to be augmented and communicated to consumers through advertising. quality.’ Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 16 1-16 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. generate confidence and create the purchasing environment. These position the brand’s personality in a consumer’s mind. They do it by encouraging customers to perceive the attributes they aspire to as being strongly associated with the brand.

marketer. and distributor of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. our Company is the world‘s leading manufacturer. Crossman and Bordia . Our corporate headquarters are in Atlanta. by Bretag. used to produce nearly 400 beverage brands.’ Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 17 1-17 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Text 2 (Coca-Cola 2005) ‘The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone it touches. Founded in 1886. with local operations in over 200 countries around the world.

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 18 1-18 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. by Bretag. Crossman and Bordia . Effective reading • There are four inter-related elements involved in effective reading for academic purposes (Boddington & Clanchy 1999): – context – purpose – text – strategy.

• This context determines the attitude you bring to your reading. You should have a genuine desire to learn rather than simply to ‘get the job done’. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 19 1-19 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • All texts read within your learning environment need to be approached with a sincere desire to understand. Crossman and Bordia . • Without this basic attitude you are unlikely to gain the full benefit of your reading while studying at university. by Bretag. Context • The context for your reading is tertiary study at an Australian/New Zealand university.

Crossman and Bordia . how your study will affect your future life and so on. Activity 1 • Write down the five main reasons you decided to enrol in your current program of study. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 20 1-20 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • Consider your career aspirations. • Now consider how the reasons for embarking on your current course of study might impact on the attitude that you bring to your reading. what you hope to achieve in your particular degree or program. by Bretag. which in turn will result in more or less effective reading practices.

• If researching for an assignment. or to fill gaps in your own knowledge of the topic? • To ascertain the purpose of your reading: – pay careful attention to your lecturer’s instructions. are you looking for an explanation. evidence for a critique. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 21 1-21 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Purpose • Before you begin reading you need to define your purpose. both oral and written – ensure that you fully understand the requirements of the assignment – use the marking criteria provided to guide your reading. by Bretag. Crossman and Bordia .

• So you usually only need to skim read 80% of the document and carefully read the relevant 20%. Crossman and Bordia . 80% of what you need to know is in about 20% of the material. • This will significantly cut down your reading time. • In most reading assignments. • The purpose for your reading will dictate how much of the text you have to read carefully. 80/20 principle • Piscitelli (2004) recommends the ‘80/20 principle’. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 22 1-22 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. by Bretag.

Crossman and Bordia . 10). by Bretag. • Boddington (1999) refers to this process as ‘refining your purpose’ (p. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 23 1-23 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Refining your purpose • Your purpose will change as you work through your research tasks: – when you first receive an assignment – when you start to answer the assignment question – as your ideas start to change – when you decide you need to read different texts to fill in any gaps in your emerging understanding.

Text A text may be: • a book • a textbook • a newspaper article • a journal article • a report • an online document • a graphic/table/illustration • even a comic! Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 24 1-24 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Crossman and Bordia . by Bretag.

Crossman and Bordia . Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 25 1-25 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • Recognising the particular features of different genres helps you to skim a text and determine if it is appropriate to use for your present research. • You need to be able to identify: – different types of text you will need at university – the data or information available in each. Text and genre • Texts in the same genre have similar characteristics or conventions. by Bretag.

Consider the way you read: – a dense academic text – a newspaper – an advertising brochure – a recipe book – a novel – a comic – a personal letter. Crossman and Bordia . by Bretag. Activity 2 • Form groups of three or four students and discuss how your reading technique differs depending on the type of text you are reading. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 26 1-26 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

g. Crossman and Bordia . Activity 2 (cont. your purpose for reading or a combination of both? • List the reading techniques you have developed in your study so far. or reading as part of exam revision)? How? Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 27 1-27 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. by Bretag. • Does your reading technique change according to the task (e.) • Is your reading technique determined by the type of text. if you are reading for an assignment.

Crossman and Bordia . by Bretag. Reading strategies • Speed reading • Scanning by key words and phrases • Skimming by paragraphs • SQ3R method: – Survey – Question – Read – Recite – Review Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 28 1-28 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 29 1-29 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. charts. by Bretag. headings. SURVEY (SCAN) the text: – title. etc. subheadings – captions under pictures. SQ3R method • Before you read. Crossman and Bordia . – introduction and conclusion – summary or abstract.

) • QUESTION while you are surveying: – Turn the title/headings into questions. ‘What do I already know about this subject?’ – Ask yourself. SQ3R method (cont. ‘What did the lecturer say about this topic?’ Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 30 1-30 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. – If reading a textbook. Crossman and Bordia . read the questions at the end of the chapter. – Ask yourself. by Bretag.

– Reduce your reading speed for difficult passages (but try not to do this all the time). – Look for answers to the questions you first raised. Crossman and Bordia . SQ3R method (cont. bold or italicised words. by Bretag.) • When you begin to READ: – Note all the underlined. – Give yourself permission to ‘miss’ the meaning of some words. DO NOT check every word. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 31 1-31 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. – Check your dictionary only when you cannot determine the meaning from the context. Aim for overall comprehension.

) • RECITE after you read each section: – Orally ask yourself questions about what you have just read. Crossman and Bordia . – Underline/highlight key points. SQ3R method (cont. by Bretag. – Write a one-sentence summary at the end of each section. – Make notes in the margin (or on a separate piece of paper with the full reference included in your notes). Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 32 1-32 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.

Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 33 1-33 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. write a short summary. – Never finish an article without doing some form of oral and written review. go back through the text and ask yourself questions (flash cards work well). Crossman and Bordia . SQ3R method (cont.) • REVIEW your reading: – After you have finished the whole article or chapter. by Bretag. Keep this summary with the text. – If studying for an exam.

coherent in itself but also part of a whole argument. Crossman and Bordia . Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 34 1-34 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. Skimming by paragraphs • This approach is based on the following understandings: – The paragraph is an idea unit. by Bretag. – Signposts (single words or phrases) show the internal connections and the overall development of an argument and usually occur at the beginning of paragraphs. – Opening sentences of each paragraph usually provide an outline of the argument being presented.

Skimming by paragraphs (cont.) Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 35 1-35 PPTs t/a Communication Skills.) • Four steps in this approach (Clanchy and Ballard 1997): – Step 1: Look for signposts (in the title or section headings). – Step 4: Read the first sentences of each paragraph. – Step 2: Read just the first section in full. – Step 3: Summarise the key points in this section. Crossman and Bordia . by Bretag. (You will notice that if you put these first sentences together they will be similar to your summary of the first section.

– Do you need all the detail? Again. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 36 1-36 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. a general impression (remember 80/20) may be all you need. ask yourself the following questions: – Why are you reading? If it is simply to gain an overview of a topic. by Bretag. you may not need to know the meaning of every word. Reading difficult vocabulary • If you are constantly checking the meaning of words. Crossman and Bordia .

look up verbs. • To understand a process.) • Some words are more important than others. Crossman and Bordia . in which case you will need to consult a dictionary: – Is the word in the title? – Does it occur often? – Is it a ‘jargon’ word? • Try to work out the meaning from the context. by Bretag. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 37 1-37 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • If you want to understand an idea. look up nouns. Reading difficult vocabulary (cont.

by Bretag. Crossman and Bordia . • Scan or survey the whole text first. • Do not read every word starting from the beginning. • Read introductory and concluding paragraphs. Reading tips • Reading speed and comprehension depend on the type of text. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 38 1-38 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • Practice is the best way to improve. • Read the title: ask yourself what you already know.

) • Read the first sentence in each paragraph carefully. make notes in the margin. • Try to work out the meanings of words from the context but. • Write a one-sentence summary at the end of every chapter or section or do a simple oral review. by Bretag. Reading tips (cont. titles. • Note headings. Crossman and Bordia . if necessary. • Think while you read. Copyright  2009 McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd 39 1-39 PPTs t/a Communication Skills. • Underline. diagrams. highlight. Ask yourself questions. check your dictionary. pictures.