Friday, July 1, 2011

Making the Most of the Common Reading Experience (CRE)

With this year's Common Reading Experience kicking off, both incoming freshmen and upperclassmen involved with K-Week will be diving into No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. For suggestions on how to make your CRE as valuable as possible, check out this excerpt from Idaho State University's Dr. Kathleen King's "Reading Strategies." 

Read sitting up, with a good light, at a desk or table.

Keep background noise to a minimum.  Loud rock and roll music will not make you a better reader.

Keep paper and pen within reach.

Before beginning to read, think about the purpose for the reading.  Why has the teacher made this assignment?  What are you supposed to get out of it?  Jot down your thoughts.

Write as you read.  Take notes and talk back to the text.  Explicate (explain in detail) and mark up the pages.

Write down what interests or bores you.  Speculate about why.

If you get stuck in the reading, think and write about where you got stuck.  Contemplate why that particular place was difficult and how you might break through the block.

Record and explore your confusion.  Confusion is important because it's the first stage in understanding.

Read prefaces and summaries to learn important details about the book.  Look at the table of contents for information about the structure and movement of ideas.  Use the index to look up specific names, places, ideas.

Translate difficult material into your own words.  Create an alternative text.

Answer these questions in your own words: What's the author talking about?  What does the author want me to get out of this?

Mark up the text, bring it to class, and ask questions about what you don't understand.

Think about the text in three ways.  1. Consider the text itself; the basic information right there on the page.  (This is the level of most high school readers and many college students.)  2.  Next think about what is between the lines – what does the author want you to draw from the text? 3. Finally, go beyond thinking about the text.  What creative, new, and different thoughts occur as you combine your knowledge and experiences with the ideas in the reading?

For her full list of tips, click here.

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