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Languages and Speech Division

Reading (ENG)

Readers are of two sets: one who goes carefully through a book, and the other who as carefully lets the book go through him. --Dougas Jerrold


You may be thinking, "Why are there reading classes at a college? Don't college students already know how to read?"

Sure they do. But the reading demands placed on college students are unlike almost any other kind of reading adults will ever do. As a result, most colleges and universities in America have been offering reading courses for more than thirty years.

Actually, the average adult reads at a seventh grade level. Newspapers and magazines are nearly all written at seventh or eighth grade reading levels; however, college textbooks will obviously be written at much higher levels. If you usually read only newspapers, magazines, or novels, your reading skills may not be in shape for college reading. Probably at no other time in your life will you have as much reading to do as you will have in college, unless you go into law or medicine. To be successful, you may need to brush up those reading skills in order to handle the intensive, extensive reading required in most college classes. In fact, we have found that about 50 to 90 percent of college students need to take brush-up courses of some kind.


The English Department at the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College regularly offers three reading courses designed to prepare you for the reading assignments you must do in your college courses. Of course, none of these reading courses deal with beginning-level reading skills because we know that you know the basics. What we do is teach you strategies and concepts which you will be able to use in your college classes and even in the work world.

As in any brush-up course, you will find that you already are familiar with many of the strategies and concepts we cover, but we will refresh your memory in some cases and strengthen your skills in other cases. Although you may be familiar with the subjects we cover in our reading classes, they are not the type of classes in which you can just read the book and pass. We use class time primarily for learning and practicing the strategies, and the quizzes and tests are designed to reflect the class work. We have a lot of success with our reading classes, and students who participate in class will become better college readers.

We believe that we have some valuable reading and study skills to offer you, and we look forward to meeting you in one or more of our classes.

Robyn Browder, Associate Professor of Reading

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. --Groucho Marx