[T]he ability to read and make sense of academic content actually entails a large number of microskills that may not be apparent to those of us who take many such skills for granted. Gunderson (1991) presented the following microskills as necessary for [...] readers who must cope with the complexity of academic materials:

1. Recognize the significance of the content.
2. Recognize important details.
3. Recognize unrelated details.
4. Find the main idea of a paragraph.
5. Find the main idea of large sections of discourse.
6. Differentiate fact and opinion.
7. Locate topic sentences.
8. Locate answers to specific questions.
9. Make inferences about content.
10. Critically evaluate content.
11. Realize an author's purpose.
12. Determine the accuracy of information.
13. Use a table of contents.
14. Use an index.
15. Use a library card catalogue.
16. Use appendices.
17. Read and interpret tables.
18. Read and interpret graphs.
19. Read and interpret charts.
20. Read and interpret maps.
21. Read and interpret cartoons.
22. Read and interpret diagrams.
23. Read and interpret pictures.
24. Read and interpret formulae.
25. Read and understand written problems.
26. Read and understand expository material.
27. Read and understand argument.
28. Read and understand descriptive material.
29. Read and understand categories.
30. Adjust reading rate relative to purpose of reading.
31. Adjust reading rate relative to difficulty of material.
32. Scan for specific information.
33. Skim for important ideas.
34. Learn new material from text.

Ferris, Dana, and John S. Hedgcock. Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process and Practice. Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Pubs., 1998. 28-9. For classroom use only.


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