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You are spot on Saundra, Nic and Jered.

I believe another major issue is textbook are one of the few sources of information in which readers are required to toggle between the various thinking levels. I have found that students, and people in general, tend to think on the same level when reading. This poses a challenge when reading textbooks because students must skillfully apply different thinking levels at different times.  They may need to engage in "analytical thinking" to sufficiently comprehend a particular segment of text and then must engage in "understanding thinking" for another. Subsequent segments may only require them to recall the information, so on and so forth.

To fully comprehend textbook material, students must no only know the various thinking levels (i.e. blooms), but also the conditions under which they must apply respective thinking skills. If they do not, then one of two outcomes are likely:

1) they pick up  nothing from the passage text
2) they pick up the wrong things from the text

I created a textbook reading comprehension technique called Textbook Mapping that has been quite effective at helping students toggle their reading levels.  I used it in the From Good to Great Study, which I intend to share video excerpts of it tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

PS - Saundra - thanks for sharing the previous link as well!


Leonard Geddes
Associate Dean of Co-Curricular Programs
Coordinator of the Learning Commons
Division of Student Life
Lenoir-Rhyne University
www.lr.edu
[log in to unmask]
(828) 328-7024
(828) 328-7274 (fax)
________________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:59 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: What many faculty tell students about reading textbooks

Hello Saundra,

You raise a number of very important issues. Not least that many students in high school don't have textbooks or can only use class copies. Thus, they can't take them home for independent reading. So, they internalize a norm or expectation (about the function of textbook reading in courses) and do not gain practice and do not develop their strategies for learning from textbooks. This is a clear example of how the level of resources in a high school advantages/disadvantages students in college.

Coupled with the highly explicit instructions of most high school classes where students are told precisely what they need to do and exams merely test reproduction, these students are often ill-prepared for courses where they have to decide how to study and do so independently.

I tell students they must orchestrate or design their own learning in college. They can't simply do what they are told and expect to learn and achieve at the level they want. They can't assume that a professor has designed the course that is going to work for them as an individual learner. They may need to go beyond the materials assigned, which means they must find these materials or resources on their own and make tough choices about what and how they will study.

In part this situation arises because faculty, like you say, possess so much background knowledge on a topic that they are poor judges of the accessibility and effectiveness of materials for novices. The reverse of the example you give is that faculty assign texts that are not accessible to students because they are written for audiences that possess domain, genre and other bodies of knowledge and skill that students do not possess. Yet the faculty  do not account for this in their teaching. Teaching with a textbook (an instructional text, written for novices) is different than teaching with a set of scholarly articles or a scholarly non-fiction book (argumentative texts, written for experts), but I don't see the corresponding change in instruction.

Another point which I think this thread makes clear is that reading does not stand alone from other aspects of a course. How students are expected to read/use a text and what they are expected to take away from it is related to
what happens in lecture and other resources in the course. There is no one way to read for a course, it depends on the design of the various course components and their mutual relationships. I'm not sure that much college reading advice takes sufficient account of this fact.

Any thoughts?
Nic


Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
Associate Director
McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
Princeton University
328C Frist Student Center
(609)258-6921


________________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Saundra Y McGuire [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 9:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: What many faculty tell students about reading textbooks

Hello Listers,



I've been following this thread with interest, and decided to let you know what I have found over the last ten years.  When I've asked students about reading their chemistry text books, many students have told me that the professor says that they don't have to use the book.  They are told that they can just use the notes that the professor has compiled and made available to the class.  This was very disturbing to me, because those of us in the learning center community all know that students need to read the textbook, which has far more information, and includes diagrams, charts, etc.



When I asked one professor (whom students told me didn't encourage reading the textbook) why he didn't encourage students to use the book, he told me that textbooks are too expensive, and that the students preferred his notes to reading the text.  Well, duh, I wonder why they would prefer to read 20 pages of notes ABOUT a chapter, rather than read the 50 page chapter!



The way I help students understand the importance of using the textbook is to do a little exercise with them.  I ask them what jumps into their mind when they see c_t.  Most readily say cat.  But it's fine if they say cot or cut.  I then ask if that word would have come to mind if we lived in a culture that had no cats, and they hadn't seen it often in books.  They all say no.  Then I explain that if the brain is very familiar with something, it immediately fills in any missing information.  That's why we can read txt msgs easily.  And that's why the professor THINKS that everything is there in the notes.  The professors' brains "see" information that is not there because they are so familiar with the topic!  But, I say to students, YOUR brain doesn't have the information stored!  This is usually enough to get students to start reading the textbook.  And EVERY ONE of them has come back to me to report that reading the book made a BIG difference.  Below are excerpts from emai!

 ls from one student who was failing the class before getting the book, and who made an A in the class after starting to use the book one month before the final exam!



From an email sent April 6, 2011:

"...Personally, I am not so good at chemistry and unfortunately, at this point my grade for that class is reflecting exactly that. I am emailing you inquiring about a possibility of you tutoring me."



From an email sent May 13, 2011:

"I made a 68, 50, 50, 87, 87, and a 97 on my final. I ended up earning a 90 in the course, but I started with a 60. I think what I did different was make sidenotes in each chapter and as I progressed onto the next chapter I was able to refer to these notes. I would say that in chemistry everything builds from the previous topic"

The student went from a 50 to an 87 after using the book!



And I learned a few years back that many students don't even HAVE books in high school.  They use the PP handouts from their teachers, memorize the information on the PP, and are tested on that information.



Listers, PLEASE continue to help students (and faculty!) understand why students SHOULD be reading the book, even if the professor tells them not to!



Sorry for the long email, but I wanted to add this to the discussion.



Happy that the end of the semester is in sight!  :)
Saundra







Semester GPA:  3.8





Saundra McGuire, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning, Teaching, and Retention

Professor, Department of Chemistry

135A T Boyd Hall

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA 70803

225.578.6749 phone

Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.

[log in to unmask]





-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Krueger, Pamela
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 7:21 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: reading levels of college graduates



I was wondering the same thing. From my experience giving workshops on study skills and tutoring students, I hear all the time that they don't read their textbooks. Often they say they don't have to, but I wonder if they just think they don't have to. I also wonder if instructors know that their students are not reading the textbooks. In my reading classes, I prepare them to read textbooks, but they keep telling me they have no reading assignments. Most students tell me that they did not have to read in high school, and they do not read for enjoyment at all.



Pam Krueger

________________________________________

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jane Neuburger [[log in to unmask]]

Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 2:06 PM

To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Subject: reading levels of college graduates



Dear Colleagues,

This interesting question was posted on the Kentucky listserv and is relevant to many of us.  Has anyone done recent work on the reading levels of graduates?



Please feel free to respond to the listserv or to Dr. Hollingsworth directly.  And thank you, all.  J. Neuburger





". . . .  It raises for me a question about the actual use of textbooks and required readings in the everyday postsecondary classroom - and series of classes toward a particular major. Has anyone done research on the reading skill levels of our postsecondary ed graduates? Do the reading levels of our successful graduates relate in a significantly statistical way to 6-year graduation rates in a particular institution?



>



> Randolph



> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



> Randolph Hollingsworth, Ph.D.



> Assistant Provost



> University of Kentucky



> 551 Patterson Office Tower



> Lexington, KY  40506-0027  USA



> 859-257-3027  FAX 323-1932



> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]:[log in to unmask]>>  SL: Bella Yan









Jane A. Neuburger

Director, Tutoring & Study Center

Syracuse University

111 Waverly Avenue Suite 220

Syracuse NY 13244

315.443.2005

Fax: 315.443.5160

www.tutoring.syr.edu<http://www.tutoring.syr.edu>





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