Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Assignment Design > Reading
If we want our students to be accountable for their reading, it's important to think about what role reading play in our course. This often means that the readings should add to our classroom experience, not merely duplicate it. In Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, Linda Nilson (2003) explained that, “It is important that your students can’t expect to pick up the knowledge in your lecture. This means that you cannot rehash the readings in class ... You can spend class time answering questions on the readings, elaborating and extending them, and leading activities that make students think about and use the knowledge” (p. 138).
Nilson (2003) then recommends many strategies that hold students accountable for reading well, including:
Technology tools and strategies are available to help us design and assign reading responses, reflections, journals, or quizzes:
IDEA Paper #40, Eric Hobson (2004) suggests a ideas for helping students prepare to read and give meaning to a text:
In some classes, it might make sense to organize our readings by source or importance. Students tend to prioritize the amount of work required to succeed in a course, and this often means a large group of texts lumped together as “required reading” will appear to have equivalent weight and/or importance. Organizing readings into groups will differentiate the texts from one another, making sure that students not only read what is absolutely essential, but also give meaning to how texts relate to one another.
Hobson, E. H. (2004).
Getting Students to Read: Fourteen Tips. IDEA Paper, 40.
Jabr, Ferris. (2013). "The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screen."
Nilson, L.B. (2003). Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Piper, Andrew. (2012).
Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
"What is a Reader?" (2010). Mills College, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, and U.C. Santa Cruz.
Wolf, MaryAnne. (2008). Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. New York: Harper.