The US comedian and film director Woody Allen once quipped: “I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” How to read a pile of journal articles efficiently. It’s a conundrum. The Library is a wealth of information but how do you read fast without missing any of the detail? Andy Gillett’s useful website ‘Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education’ says that reading involves way more than the use of the eyes and the brain. To read fast, you need to use more of your brain. Reading fast means reading efficiently which means not wasting time and using your eyes and brain together well. To do this, you need to read with purpose and interactively. What Andy means is that we need targetted reading to be successful readers at university. To read more see: http://www.uefap.net/reading/reading-efficiently/reading-efficiently-introduction
How do you learn new words and especially use academic language suited to a university? Expanding your vocabulary can make writing assignments easier and more enjoyable. Here are a couple of tips:
- Firstly it is important to read as extensively as you can; absorb the language used in a scholarly journal article. Get into the ideas the author (s) is expressing and learn how to convey an academic argument.
- When searching a scholarly database like Science Direct take note of the language used and how the paper is written. Investigate the themes and how they are threaded together to deliver a convincing argument, or not (!).
- Buy a good quality dictionary and an extensive thesaurus to identify synonyms and antonyms. Remember to always keep them at your side when you are drafting your assignments.
- Read a quality newspaper like the Guardian or Independent regularly. Newspapers are subsidised at the SU shop in the Main Building.
- For the slightly more ambitious reader fine literature penned from literary masters like Donne, Faulkner, Montaigne, Tolstoy, Zola or Flaubert to name just a few would be worth delving into, and get inspired to write more fluently.
- For anyone interested in the power of the written word it is certainly worth regularly visiting Maria Popova’s well-crafted Brain Pickings blog and particularly her piece on Kurt Vonnegut called ‘How to Write with Style: Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Keys to the Power of the Written Word‘.
screenshot of the most renowned thesaurus available….