How a student should approach Academic reading in order to make the process as efficient and effective as possible. A student has to be serious interms of his/her academic work because that is the only way he/she can make it out of the university successfully.
When a student is new to university study,the amount of reading he/she is expected to do can be overwhelming.However,one can learn how to prepare him/her self in advance and find ways to make the going easier.As time goes on,what seems impossible appears to be possible when the student starts being an active reader.
First and formost,A student can not read academic articles the same way he/she is going to read a novel or a short story,or even a newspaper report.Some materials for example a technical manual can not or may not be read from beginning to the end.Although,a reader might read a newspaper article from beginning to end,the reader probably will not read the newspaper itself in that way.He/she will look for items that interest him/her or probably jumping back and forth between items in the newspaper.From all these examples sited,each example requires an apprioprate way of approaching the reading depending on the purpose for which the text was produced and ones interest.
As a student,one will read academic articles to be able to grasp what the author is presenting as their "key argument".Arguement in academic terms does not mean 'quarrel'.It means the presentation by the author of what they claim as valid knowledge,with the claim being supported by logical reasoning based on either theory or evidence.What needs to be noted is,a student needs to read in such a way that he/she can recognise the structure of the article.
When a student adopts an apprioprate approach to reading an academic artile,he/she can identify the structure of the author's argument both "efficiently" and "effectively".Efficiently here means that the student should not waste his/her valuable time reading something that is not understood.Either the student makes research or should ask for help from the tutor for further explanation rather than just reading the article with no understanding.Effectively here means that the student is successful in understanding what the article is talking about.
Reading an article has to be a skilful practice.If the student wants to make the reading efficient and effective,he/she needs to constantly practice reading and by this,the reading can become better but only if the practise is done effectively.If one reads in an apprioprate manner,the student will not have the urge to read further thereby,making reading a stressful and boring act.(As it is being said,'practice makes perfect).
Successful study in the university is often about meeting competing demands and deadlines. So, one needs to get the most out of the reading in a limited time available.When or before reading,the student has to know the purpose for reading and what he/she needs to achieve at the end.
There will be times when he/she is required to read an entire article or chapter in detail.At other times,the student may be looking for specific information relating to an assignment's topic and only a couple of pages or even a couple of paragraphs in a text will be useful.Once he/she locates the parts of the text that are going to be most relevant,the student does not need to bother to read the rest.
When selecting what to read,the student should;
know what he/she is lookin for(i.e the purpose of reading).
identify keywords to help his/her search.
Obtain an overview to further narrow down the possibly useful field.
Some reading can be overwhelming, so to make reading effective and efficient,the easiest thing is to break the reading into manageable segments.(e.g chapters,individual articles,a specific number of pages).Doing this will help in;
Identifying the purpose and time one has available
Setting a goal e.g decide to read for a set length of time or a certain number of pages.
Rewarding oneself with a break when completed.
A student is expected to do some pre-reading in order to prepare for lectures.When this is done,the student has an idea of what the topic is about before hand.this can be called previewing.When previewing,the reader has to start by reading the title and author detail,the abstract,reading the main headings and sub heading,chapter summaries,examining any illustrations,diagrams,captions and lastly,the first sentence in each paragraph.
The next thing is skimming.This is required for reading to be efficient and effective.It involves running ones eyes very quickly over large chunks of text.It is different from previewing because skimming involves the paragraph text.It allows the student to pick up some of the main ideas without paying attention to details so,reading a single chapter should only take few minutes.
Skimming can be done by noting any bold prints and graphics.The student should start at the beginning of the reading and glide the eyes over the text very quickly,reading the first and the last sentences and also gaining an overview of the reading material.
After skimming,then comes scanning.This is the sweeping of the eyes over part of a text to find specific pieces of information.A student can use this method to quickly locate specific pieces of information from a large quantity of written material.When scanning,one needs to identify the sections of the text that is needed then scanning the text by allowing the eyes or finger to move quickly over a page and as soon as the eye catches important words or phrases then the reading can be stopped.After scanning,the student is needed to read the relevant section more thoroughly.
NOTE:scanning and skimming are no substitutes for thorough reading and should only be used to locate materials quickly.
The last process is intensive reading.This kind of reading is more detailed,focused,study reading of those important part of pages or chapters.It is done after the student has used the skimming and scanning techniques to find what he/she needs to concentrate on,then the reading can be slowed and do some intensive reading.
Intensive reading is done by starting at the beginning and underlining any unfamiliar words or phrases but not to stop the flow of the reading.If the text is relatively easy,then the student can underline,highlight or make brief notes but if the text or article is difficult,the student should read it through atleast once before making notes.
One thing a student has to also note is,main ideas.Each paragraph should have a main idea often contained in the topic sentence(usually the first sentence)or the last sentence.When the student is done with the reading,he/she should then go back to the unfamiliar vocabulary and look it up in a dictionary and if still,the meaning doesn't make sense to the student,the best thing is to move on.Perharps as the reading continues,the meaning will become clear or he/she should seek the tutor's help.
Finally,revision reading which invovles reading rapidly through material with which you are already familiar,order to confirm knowledge and understanding.After reading,one must think over what they have read and later summarise points on to small system cards.
So all in all,when a student is approaching reading in the university,he/she needs to make intelligent decisions about what he/she chooses to read,being flexibeld in the way of reading and also the student should think about what he/she is trying to achieve in undertaking each reading task.When all this is put in to consideration when reading,a good student will find reading effective and efficient and it will also make reading a fun rather than boring and difficult.