Ten Steps to Improving College Reading Skills, 5/e
• Focus on the basics. The book seeks to explain, in an extremely clear, step-by-step way, the essential elements of each skill. Many examples are provided to ensure that students understand each point. In general, the focus is on teaching the skills—not just on explaining them and not just on testing them.
• Frequent practice and feedback. In the belief that progress is made largely through abundant practice and careful feedback, this book includes numerous activities. Students can get immediate feedback on the practice exercises in Part I by turning to the limited answer key at the back of the book. The answers to the review and mastery tests in Part I, the reading questions in Part II, and the combined-skills tests in Part III are in the Instructor’s Manual.
The limited answer key increases the active role that students take in their own learning. Also, they are likely to use the answer key in an honest and positive way if they know that they may be tested on the many activities and selections for which answers are not provided. (Answers not in the book can be easily copied from the Instructor’s Edition or the Instructor’s Manual and passed out at the teacher’s discretion.)
• High interest level. Dull and unvaried readings and exercises work against learning. Students need to experience genuine interest and enjoyment in what they read. Teachers as well should be able to take pleasure in the selections, for their own good feeling about them can carry over favorably into class work. The readings in the book, then, have been chosen not only for the appropriateness of their reading level but also for their compelling content. They should appeal to a wide range of students—developmental students, students for whom English is a second language, and Adult Basic Education students. They also take into account the diverse backgrounds of such students.
• Ease of use. The logical sequence in each chapter—from explanation to example to practice to review tests to mastery tests—helps make the skills easy to teach. The book’s organization into distinct parts also makes for ease of use. Within a single class, for instance, instructors can work on a particular skill in Part I, review another skill with a mastery test, and provide variety by having students read one of the selections in Part II. The limited answer key at the back of the book also makes for versatility: it means that an instructor can assign parts of each chapter for self-teaching. Finally, the mastery tests—each on its own tear-out page—and the combined-skills tests make it a simple matter for a teacher to test and evaluate student progress.
• Integration of skills. Students do more than learn the skills individually in Parts I. They also learn to apply the skills together through the reading selections in Parts I and II, and through the combined-skills tests in Part III. They become effective readers and thinkers by means of a good deal of practice in applying a combination of skills.
• Online exercises. As they complete each skills chapter, students are invited to go online to the Townsend Press website to work on two additional practice exercises that reinforce what has been taught in the chapter.
• Thinking activities. Thinking activities—in the form of outlining, mapping, and summarizing—are a distinctive feature of the book. In addition, four discussion questions at the end of each reading selection encourage student reflection, as do the writing activities that are provided for each selection.