Reading With Meaning: Strategies for College Reading

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9780132058735: Reading With Meaning: Strategies for College Reading

Reading with Meaning offers users an opportunity to improve their reading skills, as well as strategies important for success in any arena. It provides culturally significant, engaging selections from literature, popular books, and magazines that readers typically encounter daily. This book builds word power by teaching vocabulary skills, and provides information about such basic strategies as grasping the main idea of paragraphs and the thesis of an article, using clue words to anticipate meaning, thinking critically, studying for tests, and interpreting charts and graphs. Readings cover a range of topics, including history, psychology, economics, sociology, career planning, biology, geology, business, and literature, including poetry. An excellent resource for those involved in Continuing Education or ESL classes, this book is also a useful tool for anyone interested in improving their reading and comprehension skills.

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This text prepares students to read the kinds of materials they will use in college courses--college texts, supporting books, journals and news articles. It takes an interactive-constructive view of reading and emphasizes an active response through collaboration and writing. Students learn specific strategies for making meaning with text, including previewing and brainstorming, purpose-setting, distinguishing main from supporting ideas, using clue words to track ideas, visualizing via webbing, charting and diagramming, using one's inner voice and thinking critically. Vocabulary is developed as an integral component of the reading process.

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Reading experts define reading as an active process of thinking. To read is to develop relationships between ideas. Reading experts also explain that what you bring to the reading of a selection is as important to your understanding of it as what the author has put into it. To the reading of a text, you bring knowledge of and attitudes toward the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. You bring a purpose for reading. You bring understanding of vocabulary, your ability to figure out meanings, and your attitudes toward reading.


Maintaining the thrust of the first four editions, the fifth edition of Reading with Meaning: Strategies for College Reading incorporates this interactive constructive view of reading. It emphasizes the following:

  • Active reading, in which you respond while reading. As you read the selections in this book, you will talk and write as you construct meaning.
  • Strategic reading, in which you learn specific strategies for understanding the kinds of materials you read in college. For example, you will learn to preview before reading; brainstorm what you know before reading; set purposes for reading; talk to yourself in your mind; distinguish main from supporting ideas; use clue words to follow the author's train of thought; think critically by applying, comparing, inferring, concluding, and judging; and study for tests.
  • Vocabulary development, in which you expand your vocabulary through reading. As you read, you will learn to use the context and word elements to unlock the meanings of unfamiliar words and monitor your understanding by checking a dictionary.
  • Strategies that are especially helpful as you study assigned readings for college courses.
  • Expansion of your core knowledge so that future reading is more meaningful.

Based on the idea that you learn college reading strategies by reading and responding to meaningful content, Reading with Meaning: Strategies for College Reading contains selections similar to ones assigned in sociology, psychology, history, English, biology, earth science, and other college subjects, rather than short paragraphs that drill you on specific skills out of the context of real reading. Generally, too, you must construct your own meaning by talking or writing. In a few testlike activities, you may respond by selecting from multiple-choice items or marking items true or false. These activities provide practice in taking tests of these kinds, but on the whole you will be responding as you must do when studying an assigned text: You must wrestle your own meanings out of the text. The primary purpose of this book is to prepare you to read the kinds of materials you will have to read in your courses—textbooks, other books, journals, and newspapers—and to help you succeed in college.


The fifth edition of Reading with Meaning: Strategies for College Reading provides significantly expanded coverage of two fundamental skill areas. First, in this new edition you will find more attention to main idea, a pivotal comprehension area for those who find reading college textbooks difficult. Whereas in previous editions the material on identifying the main idea of a paragraph and the thesis of a complete selection—such as an article or chapter of a textbook—was presented in one chapter, in this edition there are two chapters. Chapter 4 deals with the main idea and structure of a paragraph and provides two new selections in which readers practice their main idea-making strategy. Chapter 5 deals with thesis development in longer selections and provides two new selections for practicing a thesis-making strategy. The result is that in this new edition, you will find a comprehensive three-chapter block that focuses on main idea:

  • Chapter 4: Grasping the Main Idea of a Paragraph
  • Chapter 5: Grasping the Thesis, or Main Idea, of an Entire Selection
  • Chapter 6: Relating Main Ideas and Details

This heightened attention to main idea and thesis is in response to reviewers' stated belief that being able to get the gist of passages is a fundamental reading skill that contributes to success in college.

Second, again in response to reviewers' suggestions, this edition of Reading with Meaning provides greater coverage of vocabulary and gives more attention to the Greek and Latin elements that make up words. Researchers such as David Corson (The Lexical Bar, Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1985) contend that students who grow up in home environments where they hear and use few words derived form the Greek and Latin languages are at a disadvantage as they approach university studies. They must " jump a lexical bar" that young people who have grown up in families where Greek- and Latin-based words are commonly spoken do not have to surmount. As a result, developmental English studies must emphasize vocabulary growth. To help students jump the lexical bar, this edition provides new strategies—word towers and webs—that help students become aware of and visualize word elements; additional margin notes that highlight prefixes, suffixes, and roots at the point where students are encountering these elements in words; and a comprehensive chart of word elements on the inside back cover for easy reference.

Third, although Chapter 9 continues to focus on test-taking and related study strategies, students learn ways to approach test questions in early chapters and apply those techniques throughout the text. Starting in Chapter 2, they learn to use the process of elimination to narrow their options as they complete multiple-choice and fill-in-the blanks questions. They are reminded to apply this test-taking strategy as they respond to test questions in chapters that follow.

Fourth, in the new edition, specific reading strategies have been set off more clearly from the running text. This enables students to check back and review strategies as the need arises. Also, workshop activities have been set off more distinctly from the running text. In this respect, the fifth edition is far more user-friendly that prior editions.

Fifth, users of previous editions of Reading with Meaning will notice that a few selections have been deleted, about eight selections have been added, a few selections have been moved to new locations to teach different skills, and the data in some charts and graphs have been updated for accuracy. However, most of the selections remain as in the fourth edition, making it easy for past users to move up to the fifth edition. Also, the principle behind the ordering of the selections within the chapters and the ordering of the chapters within the text remains the same: The early selections in a chapter tend to be less sophisticated than those later in a chapter; the early chapters in the book tend to be more basic. This arrangement makes it possible for instructors who are working with students who need more basic instruction to concentrate attention on the materials at the beginning of the chapters and of the book and to skip the more difficult selections. In the same way, instructors of second level courses in developmental or study reading may concentrate on the selections at the end of the chapters and of the text, giving less attention to basic comprehension strategies and more to specialized strategies that are important in reading the sophisticated selections that characterize college study in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

Instructors of the course will also find some changes in the instructional materials that accompany the text. Accompanying the fifth edition is an annotated instructor's guide that makes lesson preparation less time-consuming. In addition, there is a booklet of tests and teaching masters that go along with the individual chapters of Reading with Meaning. Those who have used earlier editions of Reading with Meaning will notice that the tests have been revised to bring them more closely in line with the skills taught irk the text; they will notice that many of the masters have been revised in form and substance.


You should take time to study the table of contents and the preface before beginning to read this book, which you should do before reading any college text. The table of contents of most books is really a broad outline of major topics to be covered. The preface typically explains the purpose of the book and describes its organization. In the case of Reading with Meaning, you will discover that the text starts with basic reading strategies, including vocabulary development, and then moves into more advanced strategies for comprehension, study reading, and specialized reading.

Part I has one chapter that helps you learn a strategy, useful in preparing to read.

Part II focuses on vocabulary. It has two chapters. The first chapter teaches you how to use the surrounding words in a sentence to unlock the meaning of an unfamiliar word; the second teaches you how to use word elements to figure out word meanings, especially the meanings of technical terms important in college textbooks.

Part III helps you understand what you read. The five chapters in this part teach you how to (1) find the main idea of a paragraph, (2) identify the thesis of a selection, (3) make sense out of details, (4) use clue words to follow an author's train of thought, and (5) think critically about what you read.

Part IV deals with study reading. The first chapter in this part focuses on test taking and teaches strategies such as SQ3R, data charting, webbing, highlighting and note-taking, outlining, summarizing, and remembering, which are important as you prepare to take tests. The second chapter shows you how to vary your concentration level and reading rate. The third chapter introduces strategies for reading tables, graphs, and diagrams. Any one of these three chapters can be read earlier in a course if students and their instructor prefer to do so.

Part V helps you understand the specialized materials you will be assigned in college courses. First you will find a chapter that provides practice in reading opinions and persuasive writing, a kind of writing you will encounter in history and the humanities as well as in newspapers and magazines. Next you will find a chapter on comprehending definitions and explanations, which are common aspects of college texts in the natural and social sciences. Then there is a chapter that introduces strategies for comprehending descriptions and narratives, which are commonly found in humanities and science texts. A fourth chapter in Part V helps you handle style, tone, and mood, elements most important in the novels, short stories, plays, poems, and essays you will read in college English.

Following Part V is a concluding page that provides an opportunity for you to summarize the strategies developed in the book. At the end of Reading with Meaning are the appendices and the glossary. Appendices typically provide supplementary material. In this case, Appendix A contains a lengthy segment of a chapter from a sociology text, with activities that enable you to read the segment for a variety of purposes and in a variety of ways. Appendix B provides a chart to enable you to calculate your reading rate. As in most textbooks, the glossary presents the words featured in the text. It provides a pronunciation guide and an explanation of how to use it. You can use the glossary as a dictionary, checking the meanings and pronunciation of unfamiliar words just as you would use the glossary of any college textbook.


Very often there is a pattern to the development of chapters in a college text. It generally helps to identify that pattern before you start to read. To this end, turn to Chapter 4 and identify the component parts of a chapter in this book.

In Reading with Meaning, each chapter begins with a statement of what you should learn in the chapter: the objective. Next comes an introductory discussion of the strategy to be taught in the chapter and practice in using the strategy.

Following this instructional segment are three or more selections in which you apply what you have learned in the opening segments of the chapter. Accompanying most selections are two activities to do before reading: "Expanding Your Vocabulary" and "Getting Ready to Read." "Expanding Your Vocabulary" features vocabulary from the selection so that you get continued practice in using your understanding of context and word structure clues to unlock the meaning of unfamiliar words. "Getting Ready to Read" encourages you to look over a selection before reading. You can complete these activities by yourself or with class members during workshop time.

Next is a reading selection. The selections are from magazines, books, and textbooks. Exercises follow that you can use to monitor your comprehension. These exercises are either short answer or short essay. In each case, you must apply the strategies learned earlier in the chapter. Additionally, as you read, you will often be asked to record points as margin notes or to circle or underline parts of the text—something you should do in college reading. In some instances, you will find the number of words within a selection written at the end. To calculate your reading rate on a selection, you can use that number and the reading rate chart in Appendix B.

At the ends of selections, you will find activities for reviewing featured vocabulary. In many cases, the activities include sentences using the featured words; they provide practice in using sentence clues to unlock the meaning of words.

At the ends of selections, too, you will find suggestions for writing. Sometimes you will be asked to write using knowledge gained from the selection. Sometimes you will write using the same writing approaches used by the author of the selection. Research shows that writing is a good way to learn content.

A final segment of each chapter provides an opportunity for extending your understanding of the content and vocabulary and for practicing the strategies taught in the chapter.


I want to thank the reviewers who read the manuscript for this book in each of its drafts and who provided suggestions that proved invaluable. Barbara Fowler, Longview Community College; Veronica Wardall, De Vry Institute of Technology; Helen Sabine, El Camino College.

I am grateful, too, for the careful attention to the manuscript by Kathleen Sleys, the project editor; for the suggestions of Craig Campanella, acquisitions editor; for the general helpfulness of Joan Polk, editorial assistant at Prentice Hall; and for the thoughtful attention to details by Carol Anne Peschke, copyeditor.

I also thank George Hennings, helpmate and husband, who contributed by compiling the glossary, criticizing the manuscript, and providing encouragement when the work load became heavy.

Dorothy Grant Hennings


Annotated Instructor's. Edition Written by the author, the AIE provides instructors with the answers to all the exercises directly in the margin. In addition, the author has provided numerous teaching tips in the margins of the AIE to help instructors get the most out of their classes. Bound directly into the back of the AIE is a 31-page Instructor's Guide, complete with more detailed instructional suggestions for each chapter. Free to instructors: ISBN: 0-13-041252-X.

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Hennings, Dorothy Grant
Published by Prentice Hall College Div (1996)
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Hennings, Dorothy Grant
Published by Prentice Hall College Div (1996)
ISBN 10: 0132058731 ISBN 13: 9780132058735
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Prentice Hall College Div, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0132058731

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