Learning Outcome III

Employ techniques of active reading, critical reading, and informal reading response for inquiry, learning, and thinking.

Reading is a learned skill that has taken years to perfect. As humans, we are so prone to this ability that we can merely glimpse at a word and our mind processes it before we even notice. When it comes to reading critically, however, the simple, “perfected” skill no longer seems simple. Susan Gilroy, in her text “Interrogating Texts: 6 Reading Habits to Develop in your First Year at Harvard”, describes active reading as taking “information apart, [looking] at its parts, and then [trying] to put it back together again in language that is meaningful to you” (Gilroy). An excerpt is shown below.This technique can be done through a number of ways. First, I partially read the text in order to get an idea of what it is about. Second, I read the text thoroughly. During this process, I add notes in the margins. I think of annotation as a “‘dialogue’ with an author and the issues and ideas [I] encounter in a written text” (Gilroy). In my post for Blog VII, I discussed the topic of annotation in depth, giving specific details I pulled from the article I thought were imperative points. I have attached images of my annotations for the article, “Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education” by Yo-yo Ma on Annotated Pages under the English Portfolio heading. The images portray that I often found myself relating back to texts I have read in the past. For example, Ma states that “humans have dual neural pathways, one for critical thinking and one for empathetic thinking” (Ma). This reminded me of the metaphor of the ‘upstairs brain’ and ‘downstairs brain’ referenced in Michael Erard’s “See Through Words”. Text-to-text connections can be helpful because it leads to the formulation of ideas that aid in better understanding an author’s claim. Also in the process of annotation, I “gloss” the text. This process involves making note of words or concepts I don’t understand, so that I can go back to them after reading the text and define them or make sense of them. I find this very useful in achieving a full understanding of a piece of writing. My Informal Reading Response Evidence page displays my reactions to reading and annotating as well as other information I took from this experience. Annotations in general are helpful because they allow me to fully involve my mind in the text and pinpoint ideas so that I can refer back to them quickly in the future.