As you enter college, you may be required to take a remedial reading course. Usually, this class will not count toward graduation, but rest assured that it is not a waste of time. A study published in the "Journal of College Reading and Learning" indicates that remedial reading classes improve student retention and graduation rates. You will learn a number of skills that will assist you with all your college-level work.


In college you will be assigned a large amount of reading, and some of it is likely to be very complex. A remedial reading course will provide tools so that you can better comprehend what you have read. In this course, you will be assigned texts that you will be asked to respond to in various ways, such as writing a summary or analyzing main points. You will learn to recognize typical rhetorical patterns, such as argumentation, description and comparison and contrast. The course is likely to begin with relatively simple pieces, such as paragraphs and short articles, and move on to more complex works.

Active Reading Techniques

In your class you will learn how to be an active reader, which means interacting fully with whatever text you are reading. Excellent readers do not passively absorb what they read. Rather, they participate in the process by asking questions and challenging the author's assumptions. Your teacher will likely encourage you to mark your text with effective highlighting and notes to help you more fully digest the content. By learning to identify key points, you will learn to recognize the most important content in a written piece.

Vocabulary Building

College-level texts often contain sophisticated language. A remedial reading class will help you expand your vocabulary. In addition to vocabulary lists to study, you will use strategies to help you grow your vocabulary as you read. You will practice determining a word's meaning based on its context in a sentence, and you will learn the meaning of various suffixes and root words, which can help you guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word. You will, of course, be encouraged to use your dictionary regularly as you read.

Writing about Texts

You will undoubtedly be given writing assignments in your reading class. Reading and writing are two closely related skills -- good writers are usually good readers. Your writing assignments will likely be related to the pieces that you read, in which you will be asked to respond in some way. Early in the course, you may be asked simply to summarize or paraphrase what you have read. As your skills improve, you will be required to analyze a work, examining its themes and structure, or you may be asked to argue for or against an author's point of view.