A Reading Strategy for a UK university: Reviewing the literature on reading, literacy and libraries, with particular regard to the HE sector

Diana Garfield
2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. pp.18 - 31

Abstract


This paper represents a starting point in an information literacy research project by academic librarians in a UK university. The research project explores ways of enabling and encouraging quality student reading through the development of a University Reading Strategy, a set of best-practice ideas and guidelines drawn from discussions with academics, support staff and librarians.

The purpose of the paper is to review current issues around reading, particularly in the HE sector, in contemporary literature. The literature review is intended to provide a backdrop for the research project, giving benchmark information against which the developing Reading Strategy may be considered.

The literature review considers the UK Government’s current agenda for enhancing skills levels throughout the adult population. Economic and social challenges to traditional understandings of autonomous learning in HE are reflected in changes in learning and reading styles, and in the changing use of academic libraries. Alongside this the digital environment, within which most young people are comfortable and competent, continues to change reading habits and demand different information seeking skills. Public and academic libraries have to find ways to survive and grow in the new Web 2.0 world. Academic learning through new modes of reading has to be increasingly recognised.

In spite of these changes the printed book remains a key element in academic library services. Students continue to demand print texts and the textbook market appears to be thriving. This literature review suggests that traditional reading skills remain at the heart of university education, but that new modes and media for reading can be used creatively to enhance student learning.

Keywords


Reading ; reading skills ; Higher education ;

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