What scholarship (articles, books, reports) did you consult and how did it inform your project?
Our research process made clear a few key challenges students in the United States are struggling with right now, and this directly informed our project. Specifically, we found that:
- Students have difficulty reading challenging texts. Most students will read the first few pages and make assumptions about the main point of a text then, without considering the entire text. This lead to summaries that are vague, surface level, and often inaccurate.
- Approximately half of the college students in the United States are reading at the remedial level. Therefore, critical reading strategies need to be taught at both the high school and college level.
- Students who can read effectively will be more likely to succeed in all college classes.
- The ability to write a clear and accurate summary of a text is a transferable skill that will help students better understand and work with texts in any college class.
- Ultimately, the key to writing a clear and accurate summary is critically reading and accurately understanding the text.
Rebecca Moore Howard, Tricia Serviss, and Tanya K. Rodrigue – Writing from Sources, Writing from Sentences – Abstract Instead of focusing on students’ citation of sources, educators should attend to the more fundamental question of how well students understand their sources and whether they are able to write about them without appropriating language from the source. Of the 18 student research texts we studied, none included summary of a source, raising questions about the students’ critical reading practices. Instead of summary, which is highly valued in academic writing and is promoted in composition textbooks, the students paraphrased, copied from, or patchwrote from individual sentences in their sources. Writing from individual sentences places writers in constant jeopardy of working too closely with the language of the source and thus inadvertently plagiarizing; and it also does not compel the writer to understand the source.
Alice Horning – Reading Across the Curriculum as the Key to Student Success – Abstract Hand-in-hand with the current renewed emphasis on student success and a resurgence of Writing Across the Curriculum, instructors in all disciplines need to refocus on Reading Across the Curriculum to address students’ needs, to achieve instructional goals, and to prepare citizens for full participation in our democracy. It seems clear that a refocused emphasis on reading as the process of getting meaning from print to be used for analysis, synthesis and evaluation, in the context of critical literacy across the curriculum could potentially address the difficulties of students, the goals of teachers and the needs of the nation for an educated, informed, fully participatory democratic population. These goals can be achieved through four specific strategies that can make faster, better reading possible for everyone, including, first, an understanding of the nature of the reading process; second, a consistent focus on direct classroom teaching of critical reading skills that go beyond comprehension; third, opportunities for modeling and practice of these critical reading skills; and fourth, the development of an understanding of the conventions of disciplines and the genres used in an array of academic areas.
Rebecca Hill – Common Core Curriculum and Complex Texts – Abstract From primary to secondary to higher education, reading and reading comprehension remain the lynchpins of a successful American education. But they are also where most of our failures in education lie. Throughout the United States, we have leveled reading. We have computerized reading. We have delineated reading lists. We have even depredated reading to an assigned number of pages per grading period. Experts will tell us that reading is the most critical skill that a student needs to be successful in college and the workplace. And yet, of incoming college freshmen, 51% read at a remedial level. Studies have found that American students start out as good readers, but by the time they are ready to go to college they no longer possess the skills for deeper reading. And while K-12 textbooks are now written at a simpler level, periodicals, journal articles, and other reading materials have become more complex. Even the newspaper is harder to read than the typical student textbook.
Danah Henriksen, Chris Fanhoe, Punya Mishra – Abstracting as a Trans-disciplinary Habit of Mind – Abstract We have previously described seven “tools for thinking” that are part of transdisciplinary thinking and creativity: Perceiving, Patterning, Abstracting, Embodied Thinking, Modeling, Play, and Synthesizing (Mishra, Koehler & Henriksen, 2011). The last two articles in this series focused on the skills of Perceiving and Patterning, respectively. This article highlights the third trans-disciplinary habit of mind: Abstracting. In our conceptualization, this involves a multisensory approach, emphasizing analysis of the domain and seeking analogies across domains, to discover the core essence of some phenomena or object of study.
John Collins – Summarize to Get the Gist – Abstract The 10 percent summary strategy costs little in teacher time, and it prepares students for the common core state standards in literacy. As schools prepare for the common core state standards in literacy, they’ll be confronted with two challenges: first, helping students comprehend complex texts, and, second, training students to write arguments supported by factual evidence. A teacher’s response to these challenges might be to lead class discussions about complex reading or assign regular in-class argument essays. Yet the reality is that after discussing a difficult article with a class of 20 or more students, even the most engaging teacher cannot guarantee that every student will understand it. Meanwhile, one would be hard-pressed to find an English teacher who has not inwardly cringed at the thought of having to routinely grade stacks of in-class essays. Some teachers may even neglect to assign such essays, wanting to avoid the work that follows. I would argue that frequent written summaries of complex texts are a great way to develop students’ reading comprehension and argument-writing skills, while minimizing the time the teacher spends correcting. Let’s look at the benefits of this strategy as well as how the process works.
Mary Lou Odom – Not Just for Writing Anymore: What WAC Can Teach Us About Reading to Learn – Abstract The writing across the curriculum movement has rightfully gained recognition as a transformative force in how teachers conceive of, use, and assign writing in their classes throughout various disciplines. Drawing on data from the first three years of an ongoing study of faculty “WAC fellows” at a large, comprehensive state university, this article takes the view that, at its best, writing across the curriculum involves students deeply in writing as a social practice and that similarly applying WAC principles to student reading—and how teachers assign reading—is our best hope to address the problematic nature of how students do or do not read for school.
Lynne A. Rhodes – When is Writing Also Reading? – Abstract Students who demonstrate perennial difficulties with researched writing typically have poor reading skills. Those who do not improve significantly as readers and writers in first year composition, if they do not drop out, often struggle throughout college. Even when students are given explicit and enhanced instruction in reading and adjustments are made to curriculum to address demonstrated student weaknesses, a lack of synthesis skills is still evidenced in student researched writing for upper-level writing. Teachers at all levels across all content areas must realize that many students misunderstand or cannot understand the content being taught, and strategically unwrap assigned readings so that students can progress as writers and readers of complex texts. Instructors who want students to read for content should teach summary skills. Instructors who want students to read structurally and analyze conventions of genre must explicitly direct students how to analyze and interpret complex text. Post-secondary instructors must reach agreement on how to coordinate instruction in reading and writing, especially in writing intensive classrooms where students are assigned complex texts.
Åste M. Hagen, Jason L.G. Braasch and Ivar Bråten – Relationships between spontaneous note-taking, self-reported strategies and comprehension when reading multiple texts in different task conditions – Abstract This study investigated note-taking during multiple-text reading across two different task conditions in relation to comprehension performance and self-reports of strategy use. Forty-four undergraduates read multiple texts about climate change to write an argument or a summary. Analysis of students’ spontaneous note-taking during reading showed that intertextual elaboration strategies, as indicated by the notes, were related to deeper-level, integrated comprehension for students reading to construct an argument, whereas no such relationship was observed for students reading to summarize information. Relations between note-taking and self-reporting of strategies suggested a heightened awareness of strategy use among students reading to construct an argument, with this, possibly, explaining why their note-taking strategies accounted for variance in their comprehension performance. Discussion focuses on the unique contributions of the current work to multiple-text strategy research.