Basic Skills and Strategies for College Reading: A Text with Thematic Reader (2nd Edition) (McGrath Developmental Reading)

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9780131848986: Basic Skills and Strategies for College Reading: A Text with Thematic Reader (2nd Edition) (McGrath Developmental Reading)

Would you like a book that can help you focus while reading, allowing you to easily retain the main gist of articles, essays, and other material? This basic skills reading book addresses the needs of those who would like to improve their reading, comprehension, and vocabulary-building skills, preparing users to meet the demands of their tasks at work and in life. This book describes the skills necessary and introduces strategies that allow for effective reading; it includes numerous articles, essays, and other selections with varied themes. Skills topics include: previewing books, understanding vocabulary, understanding main ideas, understanding implied main ideas and supporting details, and reading multi-paragraph selections. Because it presumes no advanced inference skills, this book provides an opportunity to learn how to read efficiently and effectively. As such, it's a perfect resource for those involved with Continuing Education and ESL classes; also, managers, executives, and others who need to read manuals, reports, and business-related articles will find this a useful and informative book.

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About the Author:

Jane L. McGrath earned her undergraduate degrees in education and mass communications and her Ed.D. in reading education from Arizona State University. During her more than twenty-five years with the Maricopa Colleges, McGrath taught a variety of reading, English, journalism, and computer applications courses. McGrath has received Innovator of the Year honors from the Maricopa Colleges and the League of Innovation in Community Colleges. She has also received Outstanding Citizen awards from the cities of Phoenix and Tempe for her community service work. McGrath now combines talents with her husband Larry on a wide range of writing and computer projects from travel articles to cookbooks to technical pieces for the high-performance automotive industry. She is a member of the National Association of Developmental Educators and the College Reading and Learning Association.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Basic Skills and Strategies for College Reading is for college students in a first-level reading course. The text focuses on the essential reading skills necessary for effective comprehension.

The content and structure of this text, like the next-level text, Building Strategies for College Reading, are guided by the research on the "best ideas for teaching developmental reading." These principles closely mirror the findings of N. Stahl, M. L. Simpson, and C. G. Hayes—as outlined in their 1992 article "Ten Recommendations from Research for Teaching High Risk College Students" in Journal of Developmental Education 16 (1)—and include the following:

  1. Adopt a cognitive-based philosophy, assuming that students are active participants and in control of their own learning—capable of becoming effective independent learners.
  2. Use a course model that stresses transfer of skills to authentic college classes.
  3. Help students realize that "the fundamental avenue to college success is the ability to quickly expand their vocabulary, and that students must immerse themselves totally in the language of the academy."
  4. Teach learning strategies that have been research-validated and insure students know how to choose among them and use them.
  5. Systematically train students to select and use appropriate strategies.
  6. Use reliable, process-oriented assessment procedures rather than relying too much on standardized tests.
  7. Broaden the students' conceptual background knowledge.
  8. Teach students to plan, monitor, and evaluate their own learning.

The text provides authentic reading tasks to help prepare students to meet the demands of the texts and tasks they will encounter in future classes. The paragraphs and mufti-paragraph expository pieces come from texts, magazines, and newspapers. Subject areas include computers, the Internet, personal finance, music, communications, personal development, environmental science, sociology, health occupations, earth science, career exploration, geography, psychology, biology, art, English, history, health, American government, and human relations.

I hope students will see themselves as active participants in the reading process—readers who can set and accomplish reading and study goals and objectives.

ORGANIZATION

The text has two main parts—six instructional chapters and three thematic reading units—plus the Appendix, Glossary, Suggested Answers, and Index sections.

The six chapters provide instruction in the essential reading skills necessary for effective comprehension. These skills include previewing, understanding vocabulary, identifying and understanding main ideas, identifying major and minor supporting details, identifying the way an author organizes details and/or sentences, distinguishing between facts and opinions, making valid inferences, and determining a thesis.

The development of each chapter is true to instructional design principles: explanations, examples, and practice—lots of practice. The explanations are concise with a constant emphasis on application to college material. The sequence of development and instructional language encourages students to connect and integrate the new skills and information they are learning with what they already know.

Students can self-check odd-numbered exercises with the Suggested Answers section at the end of the book, while even-numbered exercises and Putting It All Together exercises can be used to monitor progress.

Each chapter begins with a Chapter Preview and Chapter Focus and ends with a review section that includes a summary of key ideas and the objectives self check. After the review, students have the opportunity to test their skills in Putting It All Together. For more practice, students can complete the Crossword Puzzle, Log on to the Web, and Ideas for Writing and Discussion sections.

The three thematic reading units each include a full textbook chapter—personal development, American government, biology—plus related articles on the unifying topic.

Each theme begins with an introduction to the topic and the readings. Each reading is followed by vocabulary and comprehension questions. The themes end with three activities to encourage students to continue reading and thinking about the topic: Crossword Puzzle, Log on to the Web, and Ideas for Writing and Discussion.

Because the thematic approach supplies multiple exposures to a topic, it provides a scaffolding of knowledge that allows students to handle more sophisticated material than isolated readings. This approach also encourages a more meaningful and connected understanding of a topic and promotes critical thinking as students view a topic from several perspectives.

Although many of the ideas in the Appendix may help students prepare for and take any type of test, the ideas are specifically intended for standardized reading tests, for which students cannot study specific content. Tips for preparing for and taking content exams are available on the Companion Website at www.prenhall.com/mcgrath.

SUMMARY OF KEY FEATURES

  • The content and structure of this text are guided by the research on the "best ideas for teaching developmental reading."
  • The focus is on instruction in the essential reading skills necessary for effective comprehension.
  • The logical development of each chapter—explanations, examples, practice—helps students progress smoothly.
  • The sequence of development and instructional language encourages students to connect and integrate the new skills and information they are learning with what they already know.
  • The text provides authentic reading tasks to help prepare students to meet the demands of the texts and tasks they will encounter in future classes. Students read a variety of high interest paragraphs and multi-paragraph expository pieces from texts, magazines, and newspapers. Subject areas include computers, the Internet, personal finance, music, communications, personal development, environmental science, sociology, health occupations, earth science, career exploration, geography, psychology, biology, art, English, history, health, American government, and human relations.
  • The three thematic reading units each include a complete textbook chapter—personal development, American government, biology—plus articles, with questions, on the unifying topic.
  • End-of-chapter and end-of-theme Web exercises direct students to Internet sites appropriate to a specific content-related task. In addition, students can gain additional vocabulary and comprehension practice on the Companion Website at www.prenhall.com/mcgrath.
  • Students can self-check odd-numbered exercises with the Suggested Answers section at the end of the book, while even-numbered exercises and Putting It All Together exercises can be used to monitor progress.
  • The Preparing For and Taking Standardized Reading Tests section in the Appendix may help students prepare for and take any type of test, but is specifically for standardized reading tests where students cannot study specific content.

Jane L. McGrath
Paradise Valley Community College

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