Effective Reading Strategies

Effective Reading Strategies - Effective Reading Strategies...

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1 Effective Reading Strategies The structure of texts When we read, we are looking at the communication of some kind of meaning in a structure. Since writers choose to organise material in a particular way, we need to be able to see this structure in the text. In texts: ideas are built up from sentence to paragraph to whole text; ideas and concepts tend to be developed from parts or segments to a whole; argument can be developed by way of amplification (ie. when a proposition is stated in some kind of preliminary form, and then expanded upon); argument can be developed by analogy (ie. when ideas are developed by comparison with a similar situation), or the writer may use illustration (ie. exposition by way of examples); argument is usually either inductive or deductive . An inductive argument is one that begins with specific facts, and uses these to establish a conclusion, while a deductive argument is one in which the writer puts forward a general proposition, and then proceeds to justify it. Clues indicating the type of argument that is being presented are usually to be found in the opening sentences or paragraphs. Understanding the structure of a text will help you to know how to read it. The two main aspects of structure to look for are: the development of ideas in sentences and paragraphs; the development of the argument. Ways of reading texts Skim reading This is the strategy we employ when we want to obtain a quick overview of a text. We may: be looking for something quite specific; be wanting to get a general idea before putting effort into close reading; have already read the text thoroughly, and be wanting to recall the main points. If you have any of the above reasons for reading a text, you will find it helpful to employ the following skim reading strategies: Read the opening paragraph and the conclusion carefully. Read the first and last sentence of each remaining paragraph to gain some idea of the main points. Look for words and phrases that act as sign posts to the main ideas or messages in the text, or that are clues to anything specific you might be looking for. Use a marker pen to mark out any items that you want to re-read, or refer to later.
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2 Specific reading This strategy is usually employed in conjunction with skim reading. It is especially useful if you are looking for specific information which may be contained in a variety of books, journals or articles. The process is one of search and discovery. It requires you to skim read, locate, mark and then return to close reading. When doing this across a number of texts, you will need to reference the materials as you proceed. In-depth reading This is the most essential of all reading skills. It involves reading a text thoroughly in order to comprehend the ideas and arguments it contains. In-depth reading is consequently much slower than skim reading, and you may find that you need to read certain sections of a difficult text more than
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Effective Reading Strategies - Effective Reading Strategies...

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