Expanding student authority through active reading

By Staff Writer Tamendy Raymond.

On Wednesday April 17, in LARTS 215, students and faculty were able to join the conversation about the importance of annotating, presented by English Professor Meghan Fair.

It was a professional environment, while being in a room full of various professors from the Arts and Sciences department, creating a diverse atmosphere. Professors’ now seen as students was a mind-blogging scene, which was very enjoyable and pleasant to take apart of.

During the workshop, the audience was able to educate while simultaneously understand the importance of annotating.

Annotation is fundamental to reading in a sense that it increases student involvement. Everyone has once been a “frustrated reader.”

Questions asked were, “Have you ever come to the end of reading a section and realized that you have no idea what have you just read?” and “Have you ever arrived in class and been afraid or uncomfortable raising your hand out of fear that your response would be judged incorrectly?”

The majority of the classroom raised their hands for both questions.

The fact is that both questions correlate with each other.

A failed or incomplete understanding of keywords, definitions, and main points gives room for mediocre evidence in critical reading.

“Students do not see themselves as stakeholders as their reading,” which creates an un-relatable experience for the reader. Essentially, when reading, the reader is basically understanding the authors’ point of view which occupies outside knowledge.

Without annotation, an individual is simply hovering over existed text.

An exercise that helped understand the importance of active reading was a poem distributed to every audience-member. We were told to read the poem a total of three times, and during that time, we had to rate our comprehension on a scale from one to ten.

Ten being able to fully understand and explain the poem to our peers.

During this activity, the audience was allowed to quantify their experience and further generate successful, productive classroom engagement.

Issues with students’ authority when it comes to reading is that as students, we naturally challenge thoughts and opinions.

Especially, when thoughts and opinions aren’t ours, it becomes somewhat difficult to comprehend.

Because the text is the authors’ authority, students’ are simply outsiders looking in. Allowing the text to be un-relatable and confusing.

This further implicates classroom agency, limits participation and cultivates poor classroom discussions.

With the advancement of technology, we have applications that allow people to retweet, like, share and post without any issue. Most of the ideas are concepts students already agree with and understand.

This could potentially disengage our classrooms.

The goal should be to read and discover new knowledge, while challenging these claims, marking words that we do not understand, while enhancing our journey with annotation as a resourceful tool to do so.

Re-reading, taking notes, asking questions, feeling and observing grants exploration for understanding the text and development.

It is okay to recognize things you don’t know, as failure is an opportunity to grow.
Permit yourself to relieve the pressure of knowing and understand that sometimes you are not the intended audience.

This is a practical tool that helps ultimately bridge the gap between reading and writing.

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