"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge."
Daniel J. Boorstin,
The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself
In a recent discussion about students and metacognition, an instructor talked about the “illusion of knowledge.” Nowhere is this more prevalent or frustrating than when college students are attempting to comprehend what they read. They are unaware of what they don’t know, so many are reluctant to ask for help. They spend hours poring over academic texts only to discover they have failed to achieve the objectives required of them.
Though we know how to read ourselves, teaching reading can seem intimidating. How does one explain what comes so naturally to us? Below, are many excellent resources to help us coach students through their reading issues. It is recommended that you begin with this first one. It is lengthy and comprehensive but worth the effort.
Building Reading Comprehension: Strategies That Work: A group of 14 learning modules for teachers who have not been trained in reading comprehension.
Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory (MARSI): This is the instrument the QEP is using for part of its assessment. The survey includes 30 reading strategies and helps students assess their own reading strengths and weaknesses.
Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies: This article provides a better understanding of what students actually know about their own academic abilities.
Some Tips for Reading Difficult or Challenging Material: This article discusses how to be an active reader.
Active Learning: Learn the difference between active and passive learning and how you might be tricking yourself into thinking you are studying effectively when you are really wasting your time.
Active vs. Passive Textbook Readers: Take a test to determine if you are an active or passive reader, then learn to read more actively and productively.
Making Sense of Confusing Sentences: Sometimes a single sentence makes the difference in how well you comprehend a textbook passage. Learn strategies that will help you understand long and confusing sentences.
Strategies to Facilitate Comprehension among College Transition Students: This article describes specific strategies to teach students to improve their comprehension.
Five Keys to Helping Students Read Difficult Texts: This article from Brigham Young University explains how to ask questions before, during, and after reading text.
Checklist for Reading Fiction and Nonfiction: Check to see if you are following simple steps that will help you better understand both fiction and nonfiction reading.
Think-Aloud Strategy: This article defines what is meant by think-aloud, explains why it is important, and provides examples.
(Marking pages with marginal notes, symbols, and highlighters.)
Beyond the Yellow Highlighter: Teaching Annotation Skills to Improve Reading Comprehension: This article discusses the purpose and benefits of annotating and proposes a marking system to be used.
Marking the Text: This resource explains why, when, and how to mark text. Also included are examples of how to mark a science text, a mathematical word problem, and a history text.
Annotating Textbooks: Learn how to effectively mark you textbooks as you read.
Highlighting and Marking Textbooks: Discover how to highlight your textbooks so that important information and possible text questions are easier to locate and study.
The Writing Process: Invention: Annotating a Text This resource from the Hunter College Reading/Writing Center, CUNY, provides a sample of annotated text.
Classes: Note-taking, Listening, Participation: Effective note-taking involves reviewing, reciting, and reflecting. This site includes handouts, learning links, and videos on note-taking.
Taking Notes in College: What Not to Do: : This handout will help you avoid common mistakes that cause your note taking to be ineffective.
Study Guides and Strategies: This site, available in 39 languages, provides extensive coverage of all things related to student success.
SQ3R Reading/Study System: This site, developed by Virginia Tech, explains the components of the strategy and provides a
SQ3R Textbook Study Method: Learn how SQ3R can help you read with purpose and comprehension.
Increasing Comprehension by Activating Prior Knowledge: This article discusses teaching methods for developing and activating prior knowledge.
What is College Level Reading? In this blog, an instructor details the skills she uses to read difficult material.
Inference: Reading Ideas as Well as Words: This site will help teachers explain inferencing and how it is used.
Paraphrase, Summary, Description: From the Norton Introduction to Literacy StudySpace, this site gives examples of how to paraphrase a literature text.
Effective Paraphrasing: From Walden University, this site shows examples of effective and ineffective paraphrasing samples.
Interpreting Texts Critically: Asking Questions: This resource from Empire State College, explains how readers question as they read, think about what the author wants them to believe, and make decisions about the author’s points.
How the Language Really Works: The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing
Critical Reading and Writing: The site includes handouts and worksheets to help teach critical reading.
The following handouts offer strategies for reading and comprehending textbooks as well as how to study for tests in a variety of academic subjects.
How to Study for the Sciences
Math and Science Test Taking Tips
Implementing MARSI Strategies with Non-native Speakers: This handout offers tips for tailoring specific reading strategies to better meet the needs of non-native English speakers.