Dear First Generation College Student,

Dr. Rogers shows participants the various learning activities provided in StudyMate program

Dear First Generation College Student,

Decades ago, I was you. Specifically, I was first-generation low-income (#FLI). Now, I have a doctorate and teach and train others. As an undergraduate, this was not my goal, as I simply pursued a single college degree and a good job. Math, science, and writing were difficult topics for me due to poor reading skills and lack of academic vocabulary. Why? Several variables lead to poor reading and vocabulary, some of which may apply to you. They are as follows with my insight as a former FLI college student and developmental reading instruction specialist:

  • Lack of prior practice reading (e.g., no library visits or books around the house due to lack of funds, free time, or low priority/value);
  • Lack of K-12 homework help (e.g., no available time with a parent, parent unable to tackle homework, or no funds for tutors);
  • No direct instruction of reading skills and strategies in secondary school (i.e., generally secondary schools focus soley on writing skills in English class); and
  • Peer or family pressure for the practical status quo.

Lacking academic vocabulary is a snowball effect because with each scholastic year, more vocabulary is taught or otherwise required of you. Don’t fret, with a lot of effort and a growth mindset, you can decrease the gap between you and your high-achieving peers. Tackle your reading assignments early by previewing (skimming and scanning) and looking up unknown words. Keep a log of useful words to reuse in your writing assignments. Use software applications such as electronic flashcards and Grammarly.

Here are some reading comprehension strategies & study aids:

  • Use this online form to review, summarize, study, and think about your reading assignment: Student Guides & Strategies
  • SQ4R: Survey! Question! Read! Respond! Record! This originated from Robinson’s (1970) SQ3R study method of survey, question, read, recite, review.
  • Cornell Note-Taking was developed by Walter Paulk at Cornell University in the 1940s and is still used today. Download Cornell’s PDF to use.
  • Learn how to read a scientific article: Study Guides & Strategies.

This presentation provides some metacognitive strategies to improve your reading skills for college: (Cook, 1989)

References

Robinson, F. P. (1970). Effective Study (4th Edition). New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Author: teacherrogers

Content developer, learning designer, trainer, and researcher

One thought on “Dear First Generation College Student,”

Thanks for visiting my blog! Please leave a message.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.