Toolkit Item Overview
Our tool is a template designed to help students do a “straight” read of a text before jumping in with their own ideas, connections, or commentary. Students who are good readers do this internally, but many students need help identifying the main claim of a reading. Template divided into Author’s Ideas, Author’s Purpose, Language (Terms, Style, Tone), Other Voices, and Thesis.
Learning to read objectively is fundamental for success in a first-year credit bearing college course. It is also fundamental for writing coherent responses to texts.
Resources Used to Inform this Toolkit
Both of the texts below helped inform what we chose to include in our reading comprehension template as they identify critical components of reading.
Leist, Cathy W., Mark A. Woolwine, and Cathy L. Bays. "The effects of using a critical thinking scoring rubric to assess undergraduate students' reading skills." Journal of College Reading and Learning 43.1 (2012): 31-58.
Paul, Richard, and Linda Elder. "Critical Thinking... and the Art of Close Reading, Part III." Journal of Developmental Education 28.1 (2004): 36-37.
Key Lessons We've Learned
Students struggle with keeping their own values separate when interpreting a reading. Using a template like this helps keep students accountable and prepares them better for class discussions, but they seem to enjoy it more when they can do it in groups. Focusing on the “straight” read then paves the way for the next discussion— ie, now tell me what you think. Also, the template commands a certain respect for the text since students can’t give their own opinion right away. As a group, we learned the importance of vocabulary when bridging the gap between high school and college reading and writing.
Comprehensive Guide to Utilizing Our Tool in Your Classroom