n South African Journal of Higher Education - What do students do when they read to learn? Lessons from five case studies

Volume 19, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In order to complement the quantitative study of reading abilities of 1 200 first-year psychology students with a qualitative approach, five case studies of first-year psychology students were also undertaken. This article reports on the observations that were made of the reading practices, attitudes and problems of the five students. They were tracked over a three-month period during which they read their prescribed textbook in preparation for assignment tasks and the examinations. The findings indicated that the students were generally slow and non-strategic readers who struggled to make sense of their textbook. Unless such students are helped to become more skilled and effective readers, they are unlikely to process their study material at a deeper level and become independent learners.

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