Activity Twelve Global reading

Choose something that you need to read for your studies or for completing an assignment. If the text has headings then use these to guide you with your understanding.

Read what feels to you a manageable chunk of text. This may be a headed section, a chapter or a complete article. Do not try to read more than you can easily manage at any one time. There is no point just going on and on reading, hoping that somehow the content will sink in. When reading an academic text you will often find that you need to read a manageable section before taking stock of where you are. What seems manageable will depend on your own reading style and the kind of text that you are reading. In one case it may be as much as 20 pages, in another situation it may be as little as one or two. Only you, as the reader, can decide what is a manageable chunk.

When you have completed your chosen section write down in one sentence and in your own words what the reading was about. Try to do this without referring back to the text, if possible. Then move on to the next section.

By the time you have finished your reading you should have a number of very general summary sentences which should be able to give you an overall picture of what your reading is about. Be warned, this is not easy to do. It is often very hard indeed to tease out the key ideas from academic writing but this exercise is a starting point for any new piece of reading. It is what we call a 'global reading strategy' and it should point you in the right direction for making initial notes. Once you have mastered this global strategy you will need to begin to read with a more specific and focused strategy and your note taking will reflect this.

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