Reading and writing workshop for first-year students

Degree programme: Bachelor’s degree programme in Aesthetics and Culture. Course: Intermedial Analysis. Study level: Semester 2. Size of class: Approximately 30 students.

Motivation for the activity

After observing that students read too little during the early semesters of their degree programme, we carried out a small-scale survey of the issue which led to the hypothesis that the problem is not due to laziness, but to a lack of reading strategies and reading culture. This reading and writing workshop is designed to rectify this problem.

Central learning objectives for the course

The students should learn to analyse multiple art forms and produce a final written assignment.

Central learning objectives for the activity

  • The students should gain awareness of their own reading strategies
  • The students should learn specific alternative reading strategies
  • The students should gain motivation for developing their own reading strategies
  • A culture of reading in groups should be supported
  • This activity can be used in the first year of degree programmes in all subject areas

Description of the activity

Lecture on reading strategies (30 minutes)

Identification of the students’ reading strategies. The students spend five minutes discussing and sharing ideas with the person sitting next to them: How do you read? Exactly when do you read? How much do you read? And what do you expect of the lecture in terms of your own understanding of texts?

Joint summary on the board: What are the reading strategies of the class (reading from A-Z, skimming, looking up words etc.)?

The teacher presents reading levels (overview/skimming/reading/intensive/selective) and active reading strategies: a) taking notes as you read; b) looking for the arguments in texts; c) making a list of key dichotomies and concepts; d) mind mapping; e) defining key concepts; and f) writing a summary (see strategy b).

Exercise (four hours)

The students are divided into groups and read two difficult texts from the course in order to practise these reading strategies, especially b), c) and f).

Assignment

The groups must hand in a written summary of the main arguments of the text (15 lines) as well as a list of dichotomies and/or key concepts. You can then summarise or evaluate the assignments in class. 

Summary exercises during the rest of the semester

Then the groups take turns to hand in a summary of two texts from the syllabus (approx. 15 lines) in each class which are used as the basis for reviewing the texts in class. It is important that the teacher uses these summaries and asks the groups to correct any unclear aspects identified in class.     

Outcome of the activity

This workshop is most suitable for first- or second-semester students because it can be assumed that students will have developed a good reading culture later on in their studies.

Slides from the course

You kan use the slides from the course (in danish) as an inspiration for your own teaching.

SEARCH