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Reading academic text genres

Brief description

This exercise can be used to prepare students for academic reading and provide them with a deeper understanding of their field of study. The exercise introduces the students to the different text genres they encounter and will be working with in the course.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

The objective of the exercise is for the students to become aware that texts are written for different purposes and can therefore be read in different ways. You can assist your students in the process by guiding them in their reading, by for instance explaining the purpose of the text and not least asking some questions that will make the students focus on the importance of this particular learning context. By working with the text at a meta level (what is the purpose of the text, and what is then important to notice), the students discover that different academic texts are read and used differently.

Performing the exercise

  • You must bring different examples of text genres from the course syllabus. These might be excerpts from textbooks, a complete work, an academic article, a communicative text, a ministerial order etc.
  • Divide the students into pairs. Each pair should discuss the differences between different text genres from the syllabus, taking the following questions as their point of departure:
    • Which genre are we reading?
    • Who is writing to whom?
    • What is the purpose of the different texts?
  • Conduct a summary in class Talk about the differences between the genres, and how these affect the reading of them. You may use this handout as a point of departure: Academic reading: examples of genres (in Danish)


  • You may ask the students to compare the texts to other similar texts they have read previously at the university and remember particularly well.    


    Examples of practice

      You will need:

      Worth considering:

      • Which and how many text genres are the most important within this field of study?
      • How much time should be set aside for the exercise?