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Reading is an essential skill for all of us and developing our skills in reading is a good investment. This free course is packed with practical activities which are aimed at making reading more enjoyable and rewarding. The course also includes sections on how to read actively and critically.
After studying this course you should be able to:
- ask questions to encourage analysis of personal reading material
- think about what the key concepts and issues are
- detach from disagreements with the author's views.
- 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?
- 7 Conclusion
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
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 OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 9th March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 9th March 2016
- 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 and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
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*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.