Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #4: Reading Support


By now, you and your students are most likely settling in to the routine of the new semester. This week’s tip includes two quick and fairly easy-to-implement activities that can make an enormous difference for you and for your students:

Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #4 – Reading Support

One of the greatest challenges for faculty is that students often come to class not having completed assigned readings. This makes it difficult for them to participate in discussion, and it may also make it difficult for them to follow the material you have planned for the day. Here are two things you can do to greatly increase the likelihood that your students will complete – and understand the essence of – the readings you assign:

  • Spend 5 minutes at the end of class going over key points in the readings you are asking students to do for the next class period, and, as appropriate, how the readings relate to what you have done or plan to do in class. This type of advance organizer will enable them to place what they read in a more meaningful and comprehensible context.
  • Spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of class having students discuss (in pairs or in small groups) two or three quick questions about the readings. Students can assist one another in clarifying the readings, or bring their collective confusion, if any, to you. You may want to have students turn in notes from their discussions, or something similar, as evidence that they had something to contribute to the conversation.
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One thought on “Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #4: Reading Support

  1. This is a great start.

    Getting students to read difficult primary texts, given the changes in popular culture and technology, is a major issue for many of us.

    I put half a dozen “Discussion Questions” based on the day’s assigned reading for each and every reading assignment, and I put them right in the syllabus. Then I stress that students should read the questions in the syllabus prior to doing their assigned reading. In that way they can “read with a purpose” and attempt to find answers as they go. It seems to help. To reinforce this I create my final examination entirely from these discussion questions–and tell them I will do so. They know that mastering the reading will be rewarded.