Why It Matters: Reading Strategies

Why should we analyze academic reading strategies?

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Our society takes basic literacy skills for granted. Much of our culture relies on the ability to read (and write) and take part in the communication that reading allows. Imagine for a few moments if your ability or freedom to read were stripped from you. What would you miss out on?

Rhetorical readers understand that authors make choices about content, structure, and style based on the rhetorical context in which they are operating. Furthermore, rhetorical readers recognize their own context for reading, match their reading strategies with the text, and vary their reading process according to their purpose for reading. Since academic reading and writing represent an evolving conversation in which both the author’s and the reader’s rhetorical context come into play, it is important for college students to know how to read rhetorically. Additionally, college reading encompasses a wide variety of texts, offering students opportunities to expand their vocabularies.

Consider what you would like to be able to do that your current reading ability doesn’t allow for right now. In what areas could your reading skills improve? Perhaps you’d like to learn more vocabulary words, better understand scientific articles, or better recognize arguments in what you read. What benefits will stronger reading habits bring you in the next few years?

In this module, you will learn what rhetorical reading is as well as strategies for becoming an active rhetorical reader. You’ll also take a closer look at types of readings you may encounter during your college experience.

Watch It

The following video demonstrates what life is like when half of adult society is excluded from reading.


You can view the transcript for “For these women, reading is a daring act” here (opens in new window).

The video discussed how these women’s lives changed, or were in the process of changing, because they gained the ability to read. Take a few moments and reflect on what you’re able to do now because you can read. What daily activities of yours rely on this skill?

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