A Community of Readers: A Thematic Approach To Reading by Roberta Alexander and Jan Jarrell is an excellent book which covers the dynamics of critical reading for college. The authors describe reading as a process which consists of reflection, the need to know or discriminate, the use of a dictionary, main ideas, evidence, inferences and plenty of exercises demonstrating critical thinking.
The book provides a very extensive tool kit which includes visual aids, how to take class notes, test taking, writing tips, navigating websites, reading circles of students and sample book projects. This section is extremely valuable because it deals with facilitating learning transfer for college students.
The authors present an extensive section on how to use a dictionary. In addition, the text points out the necessity of frequently utilizing the glossary for texts. There is an area which isn’t emphasized, though: English literature often contains advanced vocabulary that is not listed in the back of the book. In those instances, students must refer to a standard dictionary.
The easy way around this is to peruse the book, extract the advanced vocabulary and research meanings in the dictionary prior to actually reading the full volume. These steps will assist in enhancing your vocabulary. Too often, students just gloss over unknown words and lose the meaning intended by the author. In addition, students in all grades should research all unfamiliar vocabulary as preparation for exams like the SAT, GRE and entrance exams in professions like law or medicine.
The authors provide at least six pages of suggested readings, as well as suggested websites. The readings are aimed at developing skills for potential student projects and other advanced work in college. In addition, the authors provide a considerable section on applying what you read in small group discussions and forums.There is an instructor’s version of this work which has the instructor’s manual, power point slides, instructor links, a test bank and student companion website.
A Community of Readers is an important work for developing reading skills with a view toward college applications in a variety of important settings.This work can be helpful because department chairpeople are getting away from course grades based solely on examinations. Currently, there is a move toward having students develop work products which reflect critical analysis, class participation, field work, small group participation and extensive data analysis for subjects like econometrics. This book is an important resource for these would-be students.