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