This retention exercise, created by John Gardner and Betsy Barefoot, was designed to highlight a retention strategy in relation to the transition to college and to help students persist in the first year.
Students who are poor readers will have great difficulty in college and, unless they improve their skills, are likely to drop out or flunk out. Ask students to bring a textbook from another course to your next class. During class, ask them to consider the following four-step plan for active reading:
- Reading with concentration
Ask them which step is the hardest and which is the easiest. The easiest may be “marking.” Ask students to check their textbooks to see if any have too much highlighting or too many marks. The hardest stage may be “reading with concentration.” Ask students to get in small groups and develop a list of ideas for “concentrating while reading.” Do any of the steps seem unnecessary to your students? Discuss the importance of each step.