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Academic Reading

A Focus on Reading Assignments due this Month

Many of you will have assignments due in February and March and this is always a stressful time as you will want to do your very best. Identifying how to produce your best work is not easy especially if you are at the beginning of developing your academic skills.

Experience has shown us that those students who read extensively are able to create more in-depth discussions and arguments based on their reading. While those who simply read for their assignments a few weeks in advance of the hand in date, have less to draw upon in the formulation of discussion and arguments.

This may seem logical but an assignment which shows critical appreciation and analysis of the important literature relevant to the subject takes time. The key to digestion and integration of literature is consistency and regularity of reading.

To make the most of reading, active engagement with the material will ensure that your reading material is assimilated and understood.  The tool that I recommend to ensure you can return to any interesting or meaningful aspect of literature is a reading log.  You can create your own reading log either electronically or in a notebook.

For each book or paper you are reading, list all of details you will need for a reference, then create a column for the exact text as it appears in the paper or book. The second column should then detail why the text is meaningful or of significance to you, the third column details how it relates to what other authors have said and the fourth column details how it relates to any argument theory or claim you may be proposing. A further column can be added which details your summary of the key text.  Remember the log is your creation and must work for you, so add and remove columns as you see fit, the only one that must be there is the written text word for word.  Stating the text as it is written is helpful in avoiding plagiarism.

In your reading and writing process library services are your best and most important friend and I recommend that you contact your subject librarian if you have any questions about your subject search skills, essential text books and journals for your subject area.