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5.2: Developing Cross-Disciplinary Literacy

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    Much like the literacy example provided in section 5.1, you may encounter situations in different disciplines where you discover your literacy strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand that cross-disciplinary literacy, or developing literacy in different subjects, is crucial to your success. If a professor gives you a novel in a Literature class, you may excel at it because you’ve had a lot of experience reading novels in your personal time. However, another professor may give you an article in a Sociology class that may provide greater challenge because you’ve had less experience interpreting statistics. It’s important to remember that you may have to approach readings differently depending on the class – you may have to pose different questions or focus on certain details over others to understand what a reading is trying to say.

    Reading and thinking critically is a process. Deep comprehension of information requires your full use of the reading process, as well as time and patience. The following tips for high level comprehension should be helpful whether you’re reading in a Math, English, Sociology, or any other class.

    Tips for high level comprehension

    • Give yourself adequate time to use the reading process.
    • Plan on marking up the text or making extensive notes.
    • Accurately summarize the information to assure you have the message right
    • Be attentive to your responses as you read.
    • Process the information in a way that is useful to you (graphic organizer, notes, outline, etc.)
    • Analyze to determine not only what the author directly/literally says, but also for what the author indirectly says.
    • Determine the value of this information for your purposes.


    In-Class Exercise 5.2: Cross-Disciplinary Reading Strategies

    Read the following text which provides an overview of cross-disciplinary literacy. Read this carefully, taking notes, and be sure to take the self-assessment quiz at the end. We will discuss this in class.

    Specialized Reading Strategies (

    Write a 2-sentence summary of the most important points for each section of the “Specialized Reading Strategies” article.

    • Online Reading Comprehension
    • How to Read Effectively in Math
    • How to Read Effectively in the Social Sciences
    • How to Read Effectively in the Sciences
    • 5 Step Approach for Reading Charts and Graphs

    This page titled 5.2: Developing Cross-Disciplinary Literacy is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amee Schmidt & Donald Winter.

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