Improve reading and writing skills in higher education

I believe that in higher education, reading and writing skills are fundamental for success in school and future career.

Reading is one of the most important method to gain information and knowledge for all educational levels. However, reading becomes more and more important in higher education since besides textbook graduate students have to read variety of materials such as scientific journals, webinars, newspaper, and blogs with much higher frequency and most of the time by themselves. For graduate students, reading goes together with critical thinking rather than memorizing facts.

Everybody agrees about the significance of reading in success of graduate students, but it seems that there is lacking of efforts to strengthen their reading ability, especially for academic texts. I think students should be trained to read analytically, to distinguish between important and unimportant ideas, to distinguish between facts and hypotheses, to summarize main ideas, to compare and contrast with other readings, to find answers for their questions, to judge the strength and validity of the author’s opinions, and to enjoy what they are reading. I especially like the idea that attitude of students to reading needs to be improved. We often focus on the outcome of reading (what messages you take with you from the reading material) but underestimate the feeling of readers.

Writing is a communication tool to convey ideas to audiences. Writing is indispensable part of graduate school from a short blog or essay to a hundred-page dissertation. I believe some people are better than others in writing. But at the same time, I believe, writing can be improved through intentional training. In order to success in various types of writing, graduate student should be trained about requirements, involved factors in the writing process, audiences, writing purposes.

Improving reading and writing is not only helpful for studying and doing research but also facilitating lifelong learning.

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