You know how to read, of course. But do you know how to read well enough to ace your college classes? They’re two different skills. However, I learned this the hard way. I used to go through books as a kid and absorb as much information as possible, but what I didn’t know is that I could do more with the skill of reading than by, well, uh, merely reading! I had no clue I could take reading comprehension to this great high Zen level that could make college and my future job not only easier but make me more successful in the process.
In college, you’re required to make sense of difficult material, much of it written in technical, less-than-clear language sometimes. Even comparatively easy reading material will test powers of concentration. So, I went to our resident expert, Professor Pittaway – a reading expert and instructor who coaches students through the challenges you’ll face as you tackle college-level reading assignments. I was enlightened to say the least, so much so, that I decided to write a blog about it and share the information. Here are some of the advantages of upgrading reading and studying skills:
Maximize your studying time is something that is very important considering how much studying is required when one has a large course load. The reading assigned in high school was just a warmup. Keeping up with reading assignments and making sure you understand the material is expected in college. At this level, it will no longer suffice to simply read and regurgitate material. Reading well allows one to spend less time figuring out the words, and it increases speed and concentration.
No books are required to take READ C102 (Critical Reading), a 16-week standard online course (which is a critical thinking CSU transfer course that is still very new…it is being offered for the first time this and most students don’t know it’s an important transfer option!) The READ C102 course essentially provides students with the increased ability to read confidently in any discipline area with precision and efficiency. The professor in this course essentially “tutors” students to strengthen their reading abilities across all curriculum. This is the first term it has been offered, and students are saying this class is changing their outlook on themselves and their ability to be successful in their other coursework.
There is a critical thinking transfer requirement (A3) that is needed to go to a CSU. Associate degrees in arts or science (AA or AS) are some of the most popular offerings at Coastline. That’s because of the incredible flexibility we provide. Certain AA and AS programs are designed for transfer to four-year institutions, which means a critical thinking course is required. Coastline even has collaborative partnerships to get you on the fast track to a bachelor’s degree. But transferring is just one of your options. An associate degree can also launch your career, or lead to that big promotion.
In our social-media-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions. People multi-task through every day through mobile, whether it is paying bills or watching a movie. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, talking with Siri (or Alexa), a couple of people (via messenger, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on Instagram stories, monitoring their smartphone for notifications, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behavior causes stress levels to rise, and lowers productivity. You will learn how to conquer this in this course.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face. The better you are at facing challenges the more confidence you gain. The more you become efficient in these realms the more self-sufficient you become. Professor Pittaway says, “Learning how to read critically not only saves you time and money, but it gives you that edge that leads to success, to winning confidently in all areas of your life.”
Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you. It is the most valuable thing you can invest in and own. It is always there, keeping you prepared for anything.
This complements the expansion of your vocabulary. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on your own writing. You will notice the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors and that will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another with sounds and prose and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
If you are a new college student, school may be a bit intimidating. You have made it to that next level. Will it be too hard? Will you look ignorant in front of others, etc.? Professor Pittaway says, “Learning to read critically pulls back the curtain on how good students become great students. It is also the secret ingredient that will separate you from the pack when you go for that job, that promotion, or that program of study. Reading critically not only puts you in the game, but it hands you the ball and gives you the opportunity to be the star.”
Learning doesn’t end when you become an adult or leave the college campus. The simple fact is you can always improve your learning skills. Reading skills are the fundamental tools the brain uses to perform mental tasks, including learning, remembering, and paying attention. These skills include auditory processing, and memory, along with visual processing, logic and reasoning, and processing speed. It just makes sense that when these skills are stronger, life and learning are easier and you thereby gain more confidence in yourself. As you get older, it’s important that you maintain these skills so you can use them in every aspect of your life. An example of how this worked for one of Professor Pittaway’s students is that it gave her the enhanced ability to help her children with their homework in addition to bolstering her confidence to complete her own college-level coursework.
Yes, at Coastline you can train your brain, or rather, upgrade your reading skills by taking the class online. Earn your degree anytime, anywhere at Coastline College, a recognized leader in online education, offering over 70 fully online degree and certificate programs. Online education gives you the ultimate flexibility to earn an associate degree, transfer your associate degree to a four-year university, fast track your career with a certificate, or complete a collaborative partnership towards your baccalaureate (BA) degree. Now you can upgrade your brain and maximize your reading skills as well. Check out Read C102 now. Coastline has distinguished faculty, e-Counselors and their online library prepares online students for ultimate success. All online courses are available through your desktop and tablet, making our online education student-centered. Selected courses may be accessible through your smartphone as well. With family or work obligations, students have options on course length and start date to personalize their schedules and goals. Coastline College online instruction is designed to let you learn while living your busy life.
Feel stressed at the end of a long day? Cracking open a book is a good way to wind down. A 2009 study found that reading for just 30 minutes has similar stress-reducing effects to doing 30 minutes of yoga. According to a study by the University of Sussex, reading for as little as six minutes can reduce stress levels up to 68 percent! For all of us encountering any kind of struggle at any stage of life, anything to take your mind off things for a few minutes while still working your brain is encouraged.
Now that you know some of the benefits, like a computer, having an “Upgraded Brain” will work in the same way as the memory framework to manage how information flows into and out of your computer. From a computing perspective, memory involves three key elements:
For example, when setting up a new account on an application or a website, you’re usually required to come up with complicated passwords with special characters that you don’t normally use in everyday life. As a result, you now have to remember this new password (Record), associate it with the other passwords that are stored in your brain (Organize), and enter that password the next time you log in (Recall).
Even though this seems like a simple example, it is still all too easy to forget, right? Because this new password is unique, we have a hard time recognizing it. And if we don’t use the password every day, it’s easy to forget. One day you’ll try to recall the password but enter the incorrect one over and over again. Sound familiar? Is it because the information is complicated? Nope. It happens because our brains are not made to memorize. With an upgraded brain, you can train it to do the heavy lifting.
Now, this blog isn’t going to take you to that high Zen level to not only make achieving your college and career aspirations easier but make you more successful in the process, you’ll still need to take the class for that! But I am telling you if you take this course you will be able to make sense of difficult material, even if it is technical, or in a less-than-clear language sometimes. Even comparatively easy reading material will test powers of concentration as you know, but you can come through it all with the right tools and training.
That is why Critical Thinking is so important and a transfer requirement, and READ C102 Critical Reading is your course. So, get on board with our resident reading expert, Professor Pittaway, and get a coach that helps you meet the challenges you’ll face as you tackle not only college-level reading assignments but anything else that comes your way in life.