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My original letter received a very enthusiastic response from high school teachers and students. Some teachers even had their students write their own letters back to me in response to what I said. It was great getting feedback directly from high school students. There were many areas of agreement expressed in the letters I have received from students over the years, but one rather consistent area of resistance was about reading.
In my letter, I told students that if they wanted to be ready for college they needed to love reading, they needed to read for pleasure, and they needed to do a lot of reading overall.
A number of the students I heard from did not like this advice one free essays for high school students. In the years since I published that open letter, I have done a great deal of research on reading and learning, and I am in the process right now of coediting a scholarly book about reading, Deep Reading: One study that has shaped my thinking on this subject was conducted by Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown.
This study was based on data gathered from six thousand students in the United Kingdom. It may seem counterintuitive that reading can help you with math, but if we think of reading as an activity that by its very nature—regardless of what you are reading—helps us develop more sophisticated ways of understanding the world, then it makes good sense.
Another important study that has helped shape my understanding of the importance of reading to college readiness was conducted by French sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron.
And the benefits go much deeper than vocabulary: Reading, then, can literally help determine the way we are able to think. As I mentioned in my first letter, science has begun to play an important role in our understanding of learning, and some fascinating discoveries have been made in this regard related to reading.
We now know that the brain actually changes as a result of engaged, effortful learning and that when we challenge ourselves to learn something new, the brain forms new neural pathways.
These new pathways make us smarter. New evidence suggests that intelligence and IQ are not fixed but rather can be strengthened through effort and activity.
In fact, researcher Maryanne Wolf has shown that reading itself has had a profound impact in shaping human history and the development of the human brain: A key variable in this research is how students position themselves as readers in classrooms. Some ways of engaging with texts provide very powerful opportunities for growth, while others provide very limited opportunities.
In one study, sociologists Judith C. Roberts and Keith A. Many students often read only to finish rather than to understand what they have read. Students may favor this kind of approach to learning because it requires minimal effort.
Obviously, however, with minimal effort comes minimal rewards. Why not start developing them now? Reading researchers have also found that we read for all kinds of different reasons, and readers often have to adjust their reading strategies for different purposes and contexts.
When we read for pleasure, we often read a text just once, and rather quickly, focusing on the enjoyment and the pleasure.
When we read a complex text or sophisticated research, we may still focus on the enjoyment of encountering new ideas and challenging content, but we often have to change our approach and read more carefully, more slowly, and more deliberately.
We also have to assume that we will likely need to reread key passages in order to understand them fully. I do this myself almost every day in my professional life as a scholar and teacher, even though I am a fairly skilled reader.
Strong readers expect to make situational adjustments in how they read, depending on context and purpose—and on what they are reading and why they are reading it. This understanding can be a very useful component of your repertoire of college-level reading skills and strategies. I also have to admit, in the interests of full disclosure, that we as teachers have probably helped create some of the aversion to reading that many students feel.
It certainly helps explain the disturbing results of a large research study conducted by the American College Testing Program ACTwhich found that barely half of all high school graduates possess college-level reading skills. A Question of National Consequence—confirm the disturbing scope and nature of this problem.
You need to know about this research, because it can provide guidance—and motivation—for you as you prepare for college. So much of college is built around reading. You want to be going in as strong readers who enjoy reading and can handle the volume and complexity of college-level reading material.
So what am I recommending? I recommend that you start to find a way right now to enjoy reading and to make it an important part of your life.Free high school students papers, essays, and research papers.
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