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Academic Reading Skills

You may need different strategies and skills in your reading depending on the purposes.  Sometimes you may read only one or two paragraphs in an article but for another you may need to read from start to finish.  

Everyone has different approaches in reading and it may take time to develop your own 'reading muscles'.  As with everything else, practice makes improvement. 

Using your reading in writing an assignment is a fundamental part of your academic study.  ELS recommend a '4-stages reading approach' for academic reading that proven to be efficient and effective in managing the workload of reading while building the word counts for the assignments:   

4-stages model of translating reading into writing

Stage 1. Sharpen your focus

“Why are you reading this text exactly ?”  – Identify “key words” of your essay question and use this to make quick selection (and deselection) when scanning potential useful texts.

  (‘Scanning’ means seeking out specific facts or keywords to your reading purposes.)

Stage 2. Find the ‘jewels’

Skim reading texts to confirm the relevance to specific purposes (e.g. essay title).
Read quickly and continuously, highlighting really relevant points while skim reading. 

  (‘Skimming’ means getting an overall feel for the main ideas and argument by reading only key elements of the text.)

Stage 3. Unearth crystal-clear treasure

Read the same texts again, and this time knowing that you are only re-reading those highlighted sentences or section for deeper understanding.

Stage 4. Bring your discoveries into the light

Write your interpretations (of the reading texts) into a draft document, bringing the references with you.


Below are some workshop recordings that took a practical approach in developing students' skills in target reading: 



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