A student reading

Reading for a course

Reading for your course

In the UK, you need to read a lot to find information to support ideas for your essay. - Mei-Xing

Reading is an important part of study at university in the UK. You will need to be able to locate useful reading materials for your course and you may also need to develop certain reading skills to help you find the information you need quickly and effectively.

In these activities you will think about the best approach to using a reading list as a starting point for writing an essay, and explore some reading strategies that can be used to help find information quickly.

Activity 1How to manage reading lists

At university in the UK, students may receive reading lists consisting of 30 or 40 books, journal articles or other kinds of reading relevant to a particular course. Reading lists usually provide background reading in a subject area as well as relevant literature for course assignments. Whilst you will not be expected to read all of the items on a reading list, you will need to be able to select what is useful to your own needs, and decide in what order to read it. You are going to practise doing this with an extract from a student's course reading list. The student has been asked to produce an essay on the following topic: Discuss the reasons for migration to the UK in the twentieth century.

Lars, an international student

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Study the different items on Lars' reading list for his course and think about them in relation to the essay topic. Decide which general item he should read first and highlight this in green; then decide which other three items are important for him to read and highlight these in blue. Finally highlight two less important items in red and then read the feedback.

Blake, P. (2005). An Introduction to Human Migration. London: Waterhouse Publishing.
Brown, F. and Kennedy, T. (2002). Immigration and the United Kingdom. In Dudley, A., Global Identities. Reading: Real Publishing.
Roser, G. (2007). A qualitative analysis of migration patterns in the USA. Journal of World Migration, 3(1). pp.56-78.
Davies, S. (1952). Migration and its Economic Consequences. London: Whitelane Publishers.
Peters, F. (2006). A study of recent migration trends in the European Union. Journal of Migration, 24(4). pp.24-32.
Turner, B. (2003). Cultural, Economic and Political Factors in Human Migration, 2nd Edition. Manchester: Waterhouse Publishing.

Activity 2Reading efficiently

As well as being able to identify useful course reading material, you will need to use different ways of reading to help you find information quickly and effectively. In this activity you are going to consider how you can read, or which part of a text you should focus on, in order to read more efficiently during your studies.

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From the dropdown list, select which part of a text or way of reading is being described in each sentence. Then check your answers and read the feedback.

can be used to locate the pages where particular key words and phrases are used in a book.

can be used to get an overview of what an article is about.

is used to find chapters of a book or the section of a journal that might be useful to you.

can be used either to gain an overview of what a book or article will focus on or to see what conclusions have been reached by the end of it.

is a way of reading a text that helps you to understand quickly and generally what the main ideas are.

is a way of reading quickly which helps you locate specific points of information or details that you need in a book or article.

Would you like to review the main points?