WELCOME TO the literacy program at western kentucky university

College Reading Success

The College Reading Success initiative is supported by funding from the
and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Western Kentucky University

Supporting college readers

All fees and materials are
 Sponsored by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the  CEBS

Academic Advantage Series:  Reading Comprehension (spring 2008)

College Reading Success (students) PPT

PowerPoint PResentation - August 18, 2006

Examples of Matching Pre/During/POst
- http://www.pampetty.com/320syllabusOLD.htm
- http://edtech.wku.edu/~czippay/420calendarTRfall06.html



Students:  Vocabulary Students:  Retention Students:  Test Taking
Instructors:  Volume Instructors:  Format Instructors:  Vocabulary Instructors:  Retention Instructors:
General Study Skills
Having the ability to read and being able to learn from reading are two entirely different levels of print manipulation.  Clearly students who have achieved the criteria for admission into the university can read.  It is also clear that many students struggle with the volume and intensity of assigned reading assignments at the undergraduate level.  These are students who fall behind in required readings, read passively and retain little of what they read, and who lack the study skills necessary to take notes, synthesize information, and to study for exams or other assessments. 

This webpage is intended to:

  • provide support for students who recognize they need to improve reading and study skill strategies
  • provide support instructors who are attempting to increase learning and student achievement within their courses


  Take this Textbook Study Methods Survey, click CALCULATE,  and use the scoring guide provided to gauge your proficiency in reading/studying textbooks:  (http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/AS/601.HTM)

Identifying specific strengths and weaknesses in reading and study skills can help you focus on aspects of the reading process that will yield the greatest return in deep learning. 

1)  Select one course to focus on - it should be the one that provides the greatest challenge in terms of text and required reading.  After developing strategies and confidence for comprehension in that course, select another course and so forth until you have a reading management plan for all assigned readings. 

2)  Read the following statements and CLICK ON the one which BEST describes your frustration with the reading in the course you identified in step 1:

  1. The VOLUME of assigned/required reading for this course is my biggest problem.
  2. The FORMAT of the text is confusing to me.
  3. The VOCABULARY is so unfamiliar that I don't understand much of what I read.
  4. I read the text, but RETAIN little of what I need to know for the upcoming class meeting. 


State and national attention has recently been brought upon the low literacy levels of high school graduates.  Most of these are intelligent people who can score well enough on the ACT to get into college, but who are seriously lacking the reading, writing, and other language arts skills that they need to be successful college students.  For some, high school posed no real challenges and they developed poor reading and study habits that include not reading assigned texts, not taking notes, and having few if any strategies for studying for exams.  These are deep rooted problems in our middle and high schools and they will not be remedied easily or quickly.  The outcome is that many of our college students who could otherwise gain their degrees, fail or drop out needlessly.

Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard, 2004), states:

The best educators often teach students how to read the materials.  Ralph Lynn developed extensive routines to who students how to examine and analyze a book before they read it.  Others teach students how to recognize arguments, distinguish between evidence and conclusions, comprehend the kind of evidence offered (for example, inferred or observed), recognize that agreements and disagreements can emerge in both belief and attitude, understand what kinds of questions need to be asked for each type of evidence and disagreement, identify assumptions, and explore the implications of conclusions.  "Students didn't learn how to read scholarly papers in grade school," one teacher told us, "but they usually get little training beyond that level on how to read" (p. 89).

There are simple and sure measures that faculty can employ that will support students who do not have adequate comprehension skills or study skills.  Please select from the list below the area in which you feel provides your students the MOST challenge. 

A.  The VOLUME of required reading in my courses. 

B.  The FORMAT of the text or other print documents used in my courses is difficult for my students.

C.  The VOCABULARY of in my area of study is very challenging and learning is dependent on students understanding and use the new terminologies.

D.  While students may be doing the required reading, I still do not feel that they are coming to class with enough background information to be able to fully participate in class activities and learn new concepts.  (Retention of information)

Resources for Students:

Resources for Instructors:

Resources Specific to Reading and Learning:



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Send comments or questions about this page to web master:  pamela.petty@wku.edu