READING INVENTORY

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There are many ways that people adapt when having difficulties with their reading.   Thinking about what you do as a reader can lead to a better understanding of the entire reading process.   Read the following questions and select one response that you feel is NOT the best strategy for good reading practices.  Keep track of your choices and then check your answers to see if you are aware of strategies that better assist college learners with textbook reading.

1.   What do you do if you encounter a word that you don't know?
        a.   Use the words around it to figure it out.
        b.   Use an outside source such as a dictionary or expert.
        c.   Pass over it and assume that you will understand it later.
        d.   Sound it out.

2.   What do you do if you don't know what an entire sentence means?
        a.   Read it again.
        b.   Sound out all the difficult words.
        c.   Think about the other sentences in the paragraph.
        d.   Disregard it completely.

3.   If you are reading science or social science material, what would you do to remember the important information you've read?
        a.   Skip parts you don't understand.
        b.   Ask yourself questions about the important ideas.
        c.   Realize you need to remember certain points more than others.
        d.   Relate it to something you already know.

4.   Before you start to read, what kind of plans do you make to help you read better?
        a.   No specific plan is needed, just start reading toward completion of the assignment.
        b.   Think about what you know about the subject.
        c.   Think about why you are reading.
        d.   Make sure you allow yourself enough time to preview, read, and review when sitting down to complete a reading assignment.

5.   Why would you go back and read an entire passage over again?
        a.   You didn't understand it.
        b.   To clarify a specific or supporting idea.
        c.   It seemed important to remember.
        d.   To underline or summarize for study.

6.   Knowing that you don't understand a particular sentence while reading involves understanding that
        a.   you may not have developed adequate links for new words introduced in the sentence.
        b.   the writer may not have conveyed the ideas clearly.
        c.   two sentences may purposely contradict each other.
        d.   trying to find the meaning for the sentence will needlessly slow you down.

7.   As you read a textbook, which of these do you do?
        a.   Adjust your pace depending on the difficulty of the material.
        b.   Generally read at a constant, steady pace.
        c.   Skip the parts you don't understand.
        d.   Continually make predictions about what you are reading.

8.   While you read, which of these are important?
        a.   Realize when you know and when you don't know key ideas.
        b.   Understand what it is that you know in relation to what is being read.
        c.   Know that confusing text is common and usually can be ignored.
        d.   Know that different strategies can be used to aid understanding.

9.   When you come across a part of the text that is confusing, what do you do?
        a.   Keep on reading until the text is clarified.
        b.   Read ahead and then look back if the text is still unclear.
        c.   Skip those sections completely; they are usually not important.
        d.   Check to see if the ideas expressed are consistent with one another.

10.  Which sentences are the most important in the chapter?
        a.   The sentences that develop key concepts by using examples.
        b.   The sentences that contain the important supporting details.
        c.   The sentences that are directly related to the main idea.
        d.   The ones that contain the most details.


ANSWERS

1.   c
    (Passing over unknown words too often may result in a loss of comprehension.   Sometimes a reader can pass over a difficult word and be able to figure out the author's point from the other words in the sentence.  This is called "Using Context Clues."   But, a better approach is to highlight the word and check its meaning after reading the paragraph or the section of a chapter.)

2.   d
    (Disregarding an entire sentence may jeopardize your understanding of a key concept in a passage, especially if the sentence you skip gives the main idea.)

3.   a
    (How can you remember key information if you skip parts?   This is an illogical approach to reading difficult text.)

4.   a
    (Not having a reading plan in mind before reading is like going on a vacation without knowing where you are going.  A plan establishes your purpose for reading and creates the framework of the task)

5.   a
    (You shouldn't ever have to go back and reread an entire chapter if you use good reading strategies like previewing, questioning, making margin notes, highlighting, underlining, and reviewing.   You should only need to review your text markings and review notes that you created.   A good approach to remember is if you read the paragraphs under one heading without understanding the concepts, you need to go back to the heading and start again.   Never think that comprehension will magically happen after you close your text.   Comprehension needs to be occurring during the actual reading experience.)

6.   d
    (Not knowing what one sentence means may affect your understanding of an entire paragraph.   Be sure you get the meaning of a sentence before totally skipping over it, even if it does slow you down for a short time.)

7.   c
    (Never skip parts of a chapter unless you have determined through skimming that the sections contain information that you already know or feel is not essential for your understanding of the main idea.)

8.   c
    (Once again, avoid skipping parts of a text which seem confusing.   The author may be trying to make an important point and may be using challenging vocabulary to do so.   Find out what the author is saying, even if you have to look up a few words.)

9.   c
    (Once again, skipping over confusing material may lead to more confusion and a "Lack of Concentration.")

10. d
     (Facts and details are important, but only as they relate to the main ideas that the author is making.   Many sentences are written to support main ideas, so they may be filled with details that are important primarily for the reader to understand the main point.)