- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The experience of reading
- 2 Getting round obstacles
- 3 How quickly should you read?
- 4 Reading actively
- 5 Reading critically
- 6 Are you a good reader?
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Reading is an essential skill for all of us and developing our skills in reading is a...
Reading is an essential skill for all of us and developing our skills in reading is a good investment. This unit is packed with practical activities which are aimed at making reading more enjoyable and rewarding. This unit also includes sections on how to read actively and critically.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- ask questions to make yourself think about what you read;
- think about what the key concepts and issues are;
- detach yourself from disagreements with the author's views.
Reading is easy, isn't it?
On any ordinary day without even noticing, you read shop signs, newspaper headlines, TV listings, a magazine, or a chapter of a paperback. So why would a message like this one appear in an online student chat room in the early weeks of a course?
Clearly, reading for higher level study is quite different from everyday reading. The most obvious differences are:
Quantity As a student you can find yourself reading for many more hours a week than usual.
Difficulty Instead of the message slipping easily into your mind, as when you read a newspaper or a paperback, you find yourself having to concentrate to grasp it.
But there are also more subtle differences:
Purpose Instead of reading to pick up information, or to be entertained, with studying your aim is to introduce yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking, which will enable you to understand the world differently.
Active engagement Studying involves actively working with new ideas, not just racing through the words. You have to look for the meaning as you read, asking yourself ‘what is the author trying to say?’
Research into how students read (see, for example, Entwistle 1997, p. 19) has shown that to be successful you need to understand these more hidden aspects of the reading process.
This unit is an adapted extract from the
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 18th July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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