Reading as part of writing

Approaching reading • Choosing your reading for an assignment • Working with your reading • Thinking about the different texts • Reading and note taking • Making mind maps from reading • Keeping records • Making meaning through reading • Reading your own and other students' work

I've done some reading but it doesn't seem to be very related to this assignment.

I take copious notes from all these books and then don't really know what to do with them for my essay.

Students don't seem to use the reading lists they are given.

In the previous chapter we saw how choosing your reading material was one important aspect in analysing the title of your written assignment. Reading is an integral part of the whole writing process, and therefore this chapter is concerned with helping you to discover new ways of tackling the reading that you have to do for your studies. Many, if not most, students find reading difficult when they first begin to study at university. This is partly because the material can seem rather unfamiliar, both in terms of the terminology that is used and because of the ways in which ideas and concepts are written. This can make reading academic texts seem very different from the kinds of reading that students are used to. If you are more used to novels, newspapers or reports then, if you want to be able to make the best use of what you read, you will need to learn new strategies for university.

One of the techniques of writing successfully in an academic environment is to be able to integrate the important points of what you have read into your own writing. To do this it is necessary to have a clear picture of what you have read, and this in itself entails active and focused reading. The tasks in this chapter will help you to work on making the best use of your reading, through examining different ways that you - the reader - can approach written texts. This is an important point to remember. Just as we have described and talked about different ways of writing, so we also want to introduce you to different ways of reading. The way that you read a text depends on your previous experiences of reading and the way that you adapt these to the new kinds of reading that you will be doing as a student. This is why one of the first activities in this chapter is designed to help you to think about varieties of reading and how you may find these similar or different. Academic reading is often hard work and we hope that as you work through the activities you will find ways which help you to unpack the text and make the most use of what you read in your assignments. We cannot emphasize enough just how important reading is if you are going to write successful assignments. There are few short cuts, but there are ways of making it more manageable and using your time more effectively. Reading is always an integral part of student writing; therefore we think that it is worth spending some time developing strategies which will help you to make the best use of your reading.

Although this chapter is primarily designed to help with the books and articles that you will need to read as part of your studies, in order to write more effectively there is another important way of thinking about reading that we want you to consider. As an effective writer, you are also a reader not only of other authors' work but also of your own. Any of the techniques that you learn in order to approach published, written texts can also be used to edit and work on your own writing. This will enable you to make sure that what you write will make sense to the person who is reading it, your tutor. We will return to this in Chapter 10.

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  • liliana
    Is reading an important part of writing?
    7 years ago

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