Title: Critical Reading for Learning and Social Change: A Panel Discussion
Discussion Conveners: Hannah Gascho Rempel, Associate Professor, College of Agricultural Sciences Librarian, Graduate Student Services Coordinator, and Anne-Marie Deitering, Associate University Librarian for Learning Services, both of Oregon State University
Joined by panelists:
- Anne Jumonville Graf, First Year Experience Librarian/Associate Professor, Trinity University
- Rosemary Green, Graduate Programs Librarian; Adjunct Professor, Conservatory Academics, Shenandoah University
- Stephanie Otis, Associate Dean for Public Services, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Virtual Discussion to take place on Wednesday, June 6 at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST.
At first glance, saying librarians care about reading sounds like a lazy stereotype. No, we don’t have time to read all day! However, scratch the surface of the issues taking up our time — from the rise of fake news to the impact of No Child Left Behind to the challenges of first-year transitions to the wicked problem of critical thinking — and you find a common root: the ability to read critically.
Teaching librarians work with students and teachers who need to do more than find sources. They need to use those sources to learn, and to act – to make a difference in the world. Critical reading includes both reading to learn and reading to become more socially engaged. As we work with students and their teachers on these deeper goals, librarians need strategies for developing reading experiences that create a deeper understanding of how information is constructed, valued, and embedded within larger conversations.
In this session, we will examine a variety of factors that can inhibit (and foster) the environments that support critical reading from multiple perspectives.
We will discuss:
- How the research in student development intersects with critical reading. Teachers and librarians who recognize the role development plays in reading can begin to provide safe transitional opportunities for engaging with reading in new ways.
- The challenges that arise when we try and use traditional research paper assignments to teach critical reading skills. We will discuss research from educators who contend that the way these projects are usually structured, graded, and assessed actually discourages critical reading!
- How to design assignments and activities that provide the scaffolding needed to encourage students to read and struggle with unfamiliar and sometimes difficult information sources.
- Integration of critical reading into one-shot instruction sessions in ways that engage both students and faculty.
- Helping students to develop metacognitive awareness of their own reading practices and to learn to read like writers, to read with purpose, and to attend to the scholarly dialogue present in literature.
- Librarians as partners in curricular change focused on critical reading and construction of knowledge.
In this session, participants will actively explore their own assumptions about learners’ reading abilities, as well as their assumptions about the purpose of reading. Participants will brainstorm and discuss ways librarians can be engaged in meaningful efforts to encourage critical reading habits. Participants will leave the session with a variety of pedagogical approaches for developing critical readers.
What are your reading goals for your learners?
How do you define critical reading, especially in terms of the learner audience you typically work with?
What assumptions do you think college-level instructors have about their students’ reading skills?
What roles do academic librarians have in introducing critical reading strategies?
If you had to choose just one strategy to help learners begin to read more critically, what would it be?
Recommended Reading list
Freire, P. (2005). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare teach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Manarin, K. (2012). Reading value: Student choice in reading strategies. Pedagogy, 12(2), 281–297. https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-1503595
Manarin, K., Carey, M., Rathburn, M., & Ryland, G. (2015). Critical Reading in Higher Education: Academic Goals and Social Engagement. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Mickelson, N. (2018). Cultivating critical reading: Using creative assignments to promote agency, persistence, and enjoyment. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 11(1), 1–14.
Tomasek, T. (2009). Critical reading: Using reading prompts to promote active engagement with text. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 21(1), 127–132.