Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Foreword

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pp. vii-x

This book offers a pair of welcome gifts. The first, as promised by its title, is a sustained examination of the character of that mostly invisible, often taken for granted but essential capacity that the authors call “critical reading.” As teachers who care about that capacity from quite different disciplinary perspectives, Karen Manarin (English), Miriam Carey (political science), Melanie Rathburn (biology), and Glen Ryland (history) have much...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

This book addresses a significant issue in higher education: how students read critically. Indeed, it is hard to think of an area of concern shared by more faculty across the disciplines. Faculty are concerned that students are unable to read and comprehend material, that students are unprepared to read for academic purposes, and that students do not seem to be...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xv

We would like to thank the following organizations and individuals. The Mount Royal Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning served as a collaboration broker for this inquiry; in particular, we would like to thank then director Richard Gale, who started on this journey with us, and current director Janice Miller-Young. We would also like to...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

It is customary to begin a discussion about reading in higher education with lamentation— lamentation about declining skill levels, participation, and engagement. To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence, a 2007 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, makes three alarming, though not surprising, claims: • Americans are spending less time reading. • Reading comprehension...

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1 Different Courses, Common Concern

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pp. 15-28

Any scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project must grapple with the issue of generalizability. On the one hand, the scholarship of teaching and learning is strengthened by its grounding in real classrooms, with the messy, ill-structured, fascinating, and rich glimpses of student learning they provide. However, these classrooms, situated in messy, ill...

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2 Can Students Read?

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pp. 29-46

Can students read? On one level the answer must be, Of course, they wouldn’t be in university if they couldn’t. Usually we think of reading instruction as something that happens when children are young. Emergent literacy, the process by which toddlers make crucial connections between world, sounds, and print, sets the stage for the decoding processes...

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3 Critical Reading for Academic Purposes

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pp. 47-64

While the majority of our students displayed comprehension of required texts with at least the benchmark level of proficiency—and remember these are first-year courses, after all—we have all worked with students across the levels of an undergraduate degree who just don’t seem to “get” the required readings despite being able to comprehend all the words...

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4 Critical Reading for Social Engagement

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pp. 65-85

We have talked about the difficult choices that are necessary when we promote critical reading for academic purposes given the variability of those purposes. The situation becomes even more complicated when we consider critical reading for social engagement within the context of the postsecondary institution. After all, critical reading for academic purposes...

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5 So Now What?

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pp. 86-104

We conclude with our own “What?” “So What?” and “Now What?” reflection on lessons learned through this inquiry into critical reading; we also consider the purposes of undergraduate education. This inquiry has challenged many of our assumptions about how students read and what we are doing in the classroom. In response we have changed many...

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Introduction to the Appendixes

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pp. 105-106

These three appendixes offer more details about the collaborative scholarship of teaching and learning project explored in this book. Appendix 1 contains the two rubrics we used when examining our students’ writing: Critical Reading for Academic Purposes and Critical Reading for Social Engagement. We built...

Appendix 1: Rubrics and Worksheets

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pp. 107-120

Appendix 2: Taxonomy of Absence Regarding Social Engagement

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pp. 121-122

Appendix 3: Coda on Collaboration

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pp. 123-128

Notes

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pp. 129-142

Bibliography

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pp. 143-154

Index

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pp. 155-164

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About the Author

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pp. 165-165

Drs. Karen Manarin, Miriam Carey, Melanie Rathburn, and Glen Ryland teach at Mount Royal University, a public undergraduate university in western Canada. Trained as a nineteenth-century British literature scholar, Manarin teaches English and general education...