English for Academic Purposes
A few important considerations:
Reading textbooks can be boring, hard, and dry.
Undergraduate students need to read about 30 pages per night (= one chapter). Necessary target reading speed: 250 wpm.
Graduate students need to read about 50 pages per night. Necessary target reading speed: 300+ wpm
· Decide how much of the information you need and adjust your reading speed accordingly:
a) If the information will be tested later, use a CAREFUL READING technique (Use SQ3Rè Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review; use Vocabulary Strategies).
b) If you only need to know whether this reading (article, chapter) is useful, use a SKIMMING technique (Read the introduction and conclusion).
c) If you need to find particular information in this reading (article, chapter), use a SCANNING technique (Move your eyes quickly over the page, looking only for answers to questions—who, what, where, when, how, why; look for names, dates, locations, reasons.)
For academic reading (college/university classes), you should choose the CAREFUL READING Technique (SQ3R = survey, question, read, recite, review):
2. Question as you read.
· Ask yourself, “Why am I reading this? What questions should I be able to answer about this reading?”
· Remind yourself of the study questions.
3. Read and mark.
· Break the reading (chapter, article) into smaller segments, according to the headings/subheadings you identified in the survey.
· Read one section at a time.
· As you read, highlight (underline) thesis statements (one per section), topic sentences (main idea of each paragraph). Highlight important (key) words or phrases.
· Make outlines in the margin for a series of items: first (1), another … (2), third (3), etc.
· Ask yourself the main idea of each section. Formulate it in your own words in one sentence.
· Write a brief summary in the margin (= annotating) or take notes on a separate sheet of paper.
· Reread your annotations for each section.
· Try to answer the study questions.
· Summarize the reading (article, chapter) into 4-5 sentences in your own words.
© 2005: Christine Bauer-Ramazani; last updated: November 17, 2017