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Scott's Story


Scott is taking an introductory political science course because it is the first required course in his major. Each week the required reading is approximately 150 pages. This is very problematic for Scott. He struggles to find the time and to do the reading. Scott frequently has difficulty (1) knowing what is important in the text, (2) recognizing the main ideas and the important details, (3) maintaining concentration while reading, and (4) remembering the information after reading. So each time he sits down to do the reading, he sets a goal for how much reading he wants to complete and doesn't stop until he has achieved it.

Scott's first exam in political science was a multiple-choice test and he failed it. After looking at the exam it became obvious that most of the information in the questions was taken directly or indirectly from the texts. There was a heavy emphasis on terms and their definitions as well as applying the information to situations beyond those described in the reading. Scott explained his lack of success on the exam by saving, "I can't concentrate. It is so boring. There are so many facts to learn. I don't know where to begin learning this stuff or even what stuff I need to know." He is thoroughly frustrated. Scott was sure that the instructor told the class "everything you need to know is discussed in class." So he thought that his reading difficulties would not negatively affect his grade. "Boy, was I wrong."

Scott is a sophomore. Studying is something that Scott has to work hard at doing. He learns best when he is involved in the learning process and when he writes the information. When he goes to his political science class, he takes comprehensive notes. The class has about 30 students enrolled so he is comfortable asking questions. Listening to the professor and taking notes in class help him learn the material. As a result, he rarely misses a class. The class provides an opportunity to review material covered in the reading assignment but, in addition, the professor enhances the topic and goes beyond the text.

Think about these questions and share your answers!

  • What specific strategies might you suggest to Scott for reading the textbook?
  • How would you change your suggestions for Scott if he disliked reading?
  • What text aids were described an how could Scott use them?
  • What steps in a reading strategy would be effective for Scott to use?
  • How can Scott relate his reading and his note-taking so that studying becomes more efficient

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