Obviously, your IQ isn’t intended to stay at one number throughout your life. Instead, it’s influenced by what you do. If you actively read and absorb new material, you learn. You gain new skills and your increase your general intelligence overall. This is what neuroplasticity is. Your intellect can be exercised and improved through the intellectual activities you pursue.
This includes reading for fun. In school, you have to read assignments and explain to your teachers what you learned after reading them. All the way through the end of high school it’s likely that you are only required to memorize and commit basic facts to your short-term memory. After you take a test on the material, you may forget most of it.
However, your brain reaps the most benefits from deep learning. When you take part in deeper reading, you use your curiosity and give long-term attention to what you’re reading. You interact with it more fully to gain deeper insight and interrogate the material to not only learn the facts or what someone else believes, but to make your own decisions on the concepts involved. This is what is required of you in most college-level courses and a major part of college-level reading.
Resources for Before and After College
The shortest definition includes a slew of higher-level foundational reading skills: summarizing, paraphrasing, annotating, identification of thesis ideas, arguing with the work, illustrating text-to-text connections, and building reading stamina. By developing these skills, you’ll be able to break down difficult passages and even entire difficult chapters in your texts.
You also need to be willing to look up words you don’t understand and question the parts of the text you don’t understand well enough. By looking further into the complex language and asking questions, you can learn enough to either agree or disagree with what you’re reading. Because you buy your textbooks in college, you can highlight and mark them up, which strongly supports a greater understanding of what you’re reading and can help you identify and track what you’re going to need to review for tests.
You’re going to encounter some pretty challenging reading in college, so it’s best to learn what reading skills you need so that you can begin practicing them now. That way, by the time you begin your college studies, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the reading that’s required.
In all of your college or university classes, you will be responsible for keeping up with the reading yourself; understanding it by using any or all of the reading skills above; and possibly even doing some outside reading. You will not learn everything you need to in the classroom and may actually be a little lost if you ignore the reading between classes. That means you’ll constantly be playing catch-up if you don’t take the trouble to work through your more difficult texts.
If you find any particular takeaways here, it is this: In college, you are teaching yourself. That is, you are learning in a new way, at a higher level, so that you can pick up where your professors stop. They will give you the material you need. They will explain and outline it and plan to build on it in future class periods, but it’s up to you to take that material and absorb it in such a way that it becomes a part of your understanding.
You’re going to fall into one of a few groups in your college classes. You could be a motivated student who absorbs the material, no matter how difficult it seems at first, and some of it certainly will, and you’ll have an easier time understanding your professors in the long run. Or you might be the student who struggles with the material, even reading it much less understanding it. If you fall in the first group, it might be that you don’t really even need your professors. You’ll be much more able to learn class material on your own. If you are having trouble, you’ll need to focus in on the time outside of class that you spend on your texts. If you can’t understand them, then no amount of class notes will fully prepare you for tests and new material that will come up.
The short answer is, generally not. A little less than half of the students who took the ACT in 201 were more ready for college classes than they had been in 2017. More tellingly, more students slipped toward the bottom when it came to being prepared. They had little to no readiness for college courses, much less college-level reading requirements.
One indicator of the lack of college readiness (including reading) is the frequency with which students are placed into remedial courses in English or math when they enter college. This lack of readiness is costly to students, taxpayers, colleges, and universities. As recently as the 2014-2015 academic year, 96% of postsecondary schools enrolled students into remedial classes.
When it comes to underserved students (minority, first-generation college students, or low-income students), readiness levels for college classes are even more discouraging. Less than one-quarter of underserved high school graduates showed that they were ready to handle classwork at the college level.
Whether you went to college or not, you know that your college-bound child is going to experience a significant increase in the difficulty of their classwork. A large part of their preparation for university-level classes is in developing appropriate reading skills such as comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.
Your child needs to be able to read well and decode what they are reading, even when it is beyond anything they’ve read before. It will help if they can read quickly, due to the volume of reading assignments they will receive. They need a vocabulary that enables them to understand, communicate well, and understand through context. Consider using some of the following tips to improve your child’s reading before they leave for college.