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Academic reading: Module 1 - Introduction


Welcome to this guide on reading skills! You have just embarked on your university studies or you are currently in high school and considering doing so. You will find that you will need to do a lot of reading during your studies. This guide aims to help you with that by offering you insights into how reading works and how you can become a faster and more efficient reader. To that end, this guide has the following learning goals:

By the end of this guide, you will be able to...

  • understand better long and more complex specialized texts that you are likely to encounter in your academic studies;
  • recognize the text genre and structure;
  • employ a range of while-reading strategies to aid your comprehension of texts;
  • independently monitor your reading progress;
  • evaluate the quality of ideas in texts;
  • develop your knowledge of English to support your understanding of language in texts;
  • apply a range of strategies to read more efficiently making the best use of your limited time.

Why improve your reading skills?

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise when we say that reading is an important skill to have. It’s a skill you use all the time, every day of the week. You use it when looking up train departure times, when watching a subtitled episode of your favorite series, when doing some shopping online and when trying out a new recipe for dinner. But in addition to these very mundane tasks, reading also allows you to access messages and ideas that were communicated in a time long gone, and to learn about places you have never visited or to stay in touch with people on the other side of the globe. Being able to read is a major accomplishment that enables you to do things unimaginable to a person unable to read.

But let’s bring it back to the immediate need for reading. You are a freshman student, having just started your university career, or you are planning on studying at university after high school. One thing you will quickly come to discover is that studying at university relies on reading, a lot of reading. You will need to read your course books, journal articles assigned by your professors and read through book chapters, journal articles and reports to find information for all sorts of written and spoken assignments. Reading is therefore an essential skill to master during your university career. Not being able to read well means you miss information, get poorer grades, or that you need a lot more time to complete coursework than you actually have. In fact, research indicates that there is a gap between the reading skills high school students have when they graduate and the skills they need when they start studying at university. That is where this guide comes in. It will help you gain the reading skills you need to be a successful student.

How do I use this guide?

The guide is broken up into modules, each with their own theme. In each module, read the information, watch the video clips, and do the tasks to practice and apply what you’ve learned from the module at that point.

To seriously work your way through the guide, you will need about 8 hours in total.

If you are a TiSEM Tilburg University student, you will need to complete a final test at the end to prove that you have understood the main concepts from the guide and can apply your newly acquired reading skills. For all other students using the guide, the tasks in each module will provide you with plenty of opportunity to assess whether you’ve achieved the learning goals for each module.

Copyright information

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This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.