Contact Information
Director: Kathy Shay
Location: Center 1
 Contact Information
Director: Kathy Shay
Location: Center 1

Getting Students to Read

Getting Students to Read Textbooks

Christine Harrington and Christine Wathen


Problem: Students are not reading the textbook.

Over 78% of freshman and sophomore students reported not reading the textbook at all, or reading it only sparingly, for at least one introductory course (Sikorski et al., 2002)
• Students know reading is linked to academic performance (Elias, 2005; Stratten, 2011)
• Students are more likely to read before an exam (70%) than before class (27%) (Clump, Bauer & Bradley, 2004)

Why don’t students read?

• Lack of time
• Lack of interest in content
• Reading comprehension difficulties
• Faculty don’t hold them accountable for the reading (no quizzes, reading assignments, or “cover” everything in class)

How can faculty hold students accountable for the readings?

Quizzing is linked to academic success (Landrum, 2007; DiHoff, Brosvic & Epstein, 2003; Epsein, Epstein, and Brosvic, 2011)
• Reading assignments with feedback work (Ryan, 2006)
• Online discussions of the chapter content leads to increased student understanding of the material(Lineweaver, 2010)

Strategies to increase reading comprehension

• Teach strategies that will build basic background knowledge- scan the table of contents and read the chapter summary first
• Consider a 5-10 minute preview lecture to build background knowledge, explain complex vocabulary or concepts
• Give reading assignments and quizzes with multiple attempts
• Teach active reading approaches such as 3R – read (a small section), recite (close the book and summarize in writing what you learned), review (go back and fill in any gaps; highlight during this step)
• Consider using online tools such as screen-cast-o-matic to provide assistance with challenging readings