Adapted from a post written by former program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F
On Tuesday, October 6 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., presenter Asha Kinney gladly shared her reading expertise with a bunch of eager students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and is often joined for this workshop by Alana Kumbier, a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. Alana couldn’t attend this session, but is also a great person to know. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop and what resources were introduced, read on!
Participants were given a handout with a list of topics that were to be reviewed during the workshop. Asha began the workshop by asking participants if they had any specific questions or had any particular things they wanted to focus more closely on during their time together. They went on to provide participants with tons of useful information, beginning with low-tech options (reading and distraction-avoidance strategies) and finishing with more high-tech options like text-to-speech and dealing with PDFs.
What We Learned:
- The SQ3R reading method: SQ3R is here to help you build a framework to understand your reading assignment. It’s really helpful for retaining and digesting the information you are given. SQ3R is broken down into five steps:
- Survey: Look over your reading, look at headings, general structure and content before you dive in. Ask yourself what you’re dealing with, and then find out.
- Question: While surveying, ask yourself questions. Write them down. Turn the title, headings, and/or subheadings into questions. Ask yourself what the instructor said about the chapter or subject before it was assigned. Ask yourself what you already know about the subject.
- Read: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just go ahead and read—do it as you normally do, but consider structuring your understanding with your prior surveying/questioning. Note any vocabulary that you may not know or understand.
- Recite: After reading a section, go back over the content and tell it back to yourself or another person.
- Review: Step away from what you read, and then come back to it.
- Don’t have time to complete all of these steps? Try looking at something for no more than twenty minutes, after this time is up, ask yourself if reading the article or chapter in full is worth your time.
- Create an index for yourself. Keep notes of important concepts and save them for later.
- The Pomodoro Method: This method is here for you if you need help staying on task. The Pomodoro Method allows you to break up your work into incremented amounts of time so that the task at hand seems less daunting. Give it a try:
- Pick a task to accomplish.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes, or what ever increment of time works best for you.
- Work on the task without any diversion for 25 minutes, or until the timer rings. If anything else comes up, write it down and do it later.
- When the timer rings, take a five minute break.
- After this break, repeat!
- Making text in a PDF recognizable to your computer: If you want or need to be able to select blocks of text or use text-to-speech, your computer needs to recognize it as text. robobraille.org allows you to upload a PDF and change it into recognizable text; you can also pick what kind of file you want it to be converted into.
- Text to speech: Hearing something as well as reading it can be helpful for truly understand what you’re learning about. You can do this through robobraille.org by having the PDF converted into a mp3 file. Mac users can select a block of text in TextEdit and convert it to an iTunes mp3. You can also download NaturalReader if you have an iPad/iPhone/Android.
- Beeline Reader: Go to beelinereader.org to have the color of your text change in a subtle gradation in a way that keeps your eye flowing. It may sound weird, but it’s super helpful.
A Final Note:
Asha also noted the importance of having a backup method for documents. Hard drives die, and no matter how terrible that is, it would be even more terrible if they contained all of your work and other important files. There are several ways to backup your work such as dropbox.com or Google Drive.
Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Asha or Alana, here’s how to find them!
Can’t get enough of these great workshops? Be sure to check out our events calendar for updates on what else we have planned for the semester!