Turning Skimmers into Scholars: Fundamentals for Strong Writers and Critical Readers

You’ve heard the clarion calls before: ensure reading is a daily habit. But just how important is becoming a voracious reader? Are good reading habits really so closely linked with success?

You bet! The stories are true: everyone should be reading constantly—and yes, especially over the summer. Not only has reading regularly been proven to court high scores on standardized tests, studies also show it prevents the dreaded knowledge backslide that can erode confidence at the beginning of each school year.

Arguably more important, however, is the invaluable enrichment daily reading provides. How does someone acquire senses of empathy and ethics, or even a strong social aptitude? These are all vital in the oft-intimidating worlds of high school, college, and adulthood, and reading fiction is proven to build and support all of these.

And while novels, short stories, and poems may be the foundation of any future wordsmith’s development, reading nonfiction texts is equally crucial and often undervalued. By engaging with scientific studies, personal narratives, and analytic essays, students quickly amass and supplement the knowledge necessary for academic success.

Just as important as what’s being read is how it’s being read. Are you carefully picking apart the authors’ tales and arguments, or are you simply rolling your eyes over the words? Do you know how to successfully engage a text through a serious close reading session? Are your analyses superficial or of substance? Achieving this depth of study just requires taking reading seriously: dive more deeply into the text by writing a companion piece analyzing the author’s arguments. Or, team up with friends: create a weekly discussion space where you can together read fiction and nonfiction pieces and talk about exactly what each means. Spending time with readings past the mere ingestion of information is the most productive way to turn a skimmer into a scholar.

As challenging as this all might sound, the ideal solution may await you at Cardinal Education. After all, what better way to achieve all of these goals than by enrolling in a program structured around what you need most? Our Directed Reading program does all of the above—and more!

Cardinal Education’s Directed Reading program first evolved from our test prep program: after years of helping students find success on the verbal sections of standardized tests, we realized that transforming students into strong critical readers and writers required an innovative, individualized approach. We found that the most successful critical readers and writers developed their abilities through long periods—even years—of immersion in the close reading and critical thought spurred by constant exposure to complex books, articles, and editorials.

Thus, Cardinal Education’s Directed Reading program was born!

Our Directed Reading coaches instill in students a genuine love for reading through careful selection of challenging yet engaging texts, and enhance students’ critical reading abilities through additional materials that compel students to become active readers.

Using a series of modules, our Directed Reading coaches teach the foundational skills necessary to succeed in any academic endeavor requiring a sharp, analytic mind and the ability to write effectively. Each module focuses on a single skill necessary for processing complex information and formulating intelligent, thoughtful analyses, building on students’ previous knowledge and their progress through the program.

So whether you set out on a course toward challenging books above grade level, put together a local reading group to seriously engage with others about interesting ideas, or even consider enrolling in Cardinal Education’s Directed Reading program over the summer, make sure you take that age-old wisdom to heart:

Reading really is fundamental.

What will you be reading this summer?

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