9 Reading Effectively

Every time you read, you’re exposed to someone else’s ideas and their style of writing: word choice, vocabulary, knowledge base, use of language, etc. Reading can make you a better writer. Think about what makes a piece of writing compelling, engaging, believable, and rigorous versus dull, unconvincing, sloppy, and mediocre. Many good writers say they became better writers by reading other peoples’ work: they try to write like those they respect and avoid making the mistakes of others.

Reading effectively involves understanding, evaluating, and reflecting on a text. These skills are important because various types of literature inform nursing practice – this is what you will learn to refer to as evidence-informed nursing. So, how do you become a better reader?

First, accept that becoming a good reader is a journey. Some of you have loved to read from childhood – keep it up. Some of you have avoided reading and dread reading assignments. Don’t worry – this textbook will help. There is hope, and it starts right here! P.S. keep reading.

Second, try to read different things: books, magazines, blogs, and peer-reviewed journals. Try reading things that are a little challenging for you. In nursing, you are expected to read many different types of text such as narratives, reflections, research articles, theory-based articles, and book chapters, so exposing yourself to a variety of texts is important.

Third, learn and practice the skills of reading critically and reflecting – these will be explained later in this chapter.

Fourth, have a primary goal in mind with your reading, and then break it down into numerous simple tasks or chunks of reading. It will seem less overwhelming and it will help you stay focused.

Fifth, keep reading. Every day. The more you read and the more effectively you read, the easier it’ll be, the less time it will take, and the more you’ll enjoy the experience. See Table 2.1 for more skills related to effective reading, which will be discussed in detail later.


Table 2.1: Effective reading skills

Setting Start by creating an optimal setting for reading: pick a good time and place without distractions.
Pre-reading strategies Engage in pre-reading strategies, such as skimming the text, before reading the text in full.
Efficiency Read material efficiently: pick up a piece of material, engage actively with it, and finish. And yes, you can finish it in a reasonable amount of time and still have time to YouTube a favourite clip of yours before bed!
Annotate Annotate written texts (in other words, write directly on the texts) or take notes about the main points as you read. By doing this, you enter into a discussion with the text.
Research Research or investigate content/concepts you don’t fully understand.
Discover Work to discover the central meaning of the piece and ask yourself: What is the author’s point? What is the text trying to say? How does the author create and build this meaning?
Reflect Reflect on what the text means to you, internalizing the meaning: How are you responding to this text? Why are you responding this way? What does this information mean to you?

Activities: Check Your Understanding


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Content from this page was re-organized into a table, remixed with our own original content, and adapted from: (with editorial changes)

The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Download for free at: https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/wrd/



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The Scholarship of Writing in Nursing Education: 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © 2019 by Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; Andy Tan; Arina Bogdan; Frances Dimaranan; Rachel Frantzke; and Nada Savicevic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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