Online Academic Resources - Reading

Stages of Academic Reading

Reading academic texts is a thinking process in which readers use their background knowledge and their knowledge of reading skills to help them understand and make inferences about the concepts in the text.

Reading is divided into three thinking stages:

1. Before reading

During this stage a reader previews the text to find out what the material is about, what the reader knows about the topic and what the purpose is for reading.

  • Skim the text, keeping your purpose for reading in mind.
  • Form ideas about what the text is about and how it is organized
  • Use these ideas to activate prior knowledge of content and organizational patterns
  • Decide on the best strategies to use when reading

2. During reading

During this stage a reader anticipates information in the text, visualizes ideas, integrates new concepts with background knowledge and monitors understanding in order to adjust learning.

  • As you read, think about your early understandings:
    • Confirm them
    • Change them
    • Reject them
  • Think about the strategy that you are using:
    • Is it working?
    • Do you understand?
  • Maintain an active interaction with the text
    • Recall additional information
    • Change past ideas
    • Disagree with the author
    • Anticipate additional ideas
  • Make decisions about the text
    • What is important?
    • What is not important?
    • How are the ideas related?
    • How do new ideas compare to you background knowledge?
  • Construct meaning for segments of text
    • Link new information to old
    • Stop and go back if you do not understand

3. After reading

During this stage a reader pauses to recall, record and react to information from the text.

  • Consolidate what you have read
  • Summarize
  • Record your learning
  • Ask yourself if you understand the big picture
  • Do you see how new information links to background knowledge?
  • Can you apply the new information to another situation?