Photo by Faeryan, Flickr CC

Photo by Faeryan, Flickr CC

At ACRL 2009, I attended a session by University of Wyoming librarians called “Widening the Net: A research-based collaboration to foster success among at-risk learners”. They were reporting on a survey they conducting concerning the reading skills of their students.

Here are some ideas I took away from the session:

– Studies have shown a decline in the reading abilities of college students

– At risk-readers have had less practice, have fewer meta-cognitive strategies, and are less able contextualize the information they read

– Many students lack any kind of reading strategies

– At UofW, Information Literacy is a required part of the core curriculum and the first-year composition course; librarians meet with students between 3 and 5 times during their first year.

– U of W conducting a study of students evaluating their own reading skills

– Some of the findings: most of them rated themselves as average or below average readers; students do not read in library or social spaces – mostly read at home; 74% say they read news online and 63% read wikipedia or online reference articles; 71% read less than 10 emails a day and 65% read less than 10 social networking post a day

– Students are not even reading online as much as originally suspect, most spent less than 3 hours reading a day online

– Students strongly prefered reading print vs. online

– Librarians need to provide explicit instruction on reading strategies; promote social reading goals and habits; ensure printability of online material

Som suggestions/ideas from audience:

  • Glendale Community College has gotten a tool to scan text and read it aloud to students both with disabilities and those with different learning styles – could help at-risk readers
  • Deego (sp?) is a site that creates post-it notes for websites