Building Strong Reading Skills


black and white photograph (by Yuma Hori) of a tree reflected in a street puddle
Water reflection by Yuma Hori is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Whenever you finish a bit of college reading, it’s worth your time to stop and reflect on it. This not only helps you think about the content and what it means to you, but it also helps cement it within your memory, allowing you to recall the key ideas later and to apply them in other reading and writing situations.

Here are two ideas for post-reading reflection:

  • Write in a personal reading journal.
  • Angelo and Cross suggest writing a “minute paper.” To do this, take one minute to jot down a few sentences about something you learned or discovered while reading. Or ask yourself a question about the reading and write an answer.  (See the entry for Angelo and Cross in the Appendix, “Works Cited in This Text.”)

check mark iconCheck Your Understanding: Reflecting on What You’ve Read

First, read the New York Times article, “Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style” by Dan Bilefsky (found at

Next, write a minute paper (see description above) by jotting down a few sentences in response to one of these questions:

  • Do you agree with the idea that the period is going out of style? Why or why not?
  • Do you agree that ending a text message with a period affects the meaning of the message? Explain.
  • What does the author mean when he suggests that leaving the period out of text messages is the “the punctuation equivalent of stagehands who dress in black to be less conspicuous”?

See the Appendix, Results for the “Check Your Understanding” Activities, for answers.


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The Word on College Reading and Writing Copyright © by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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