First-Year Preceptorial

Critical Reading Strategy

Critical reading strategy:  to clarify students’ concepts or ideas or reading.  Can also be used for assessing students’ understanding.

  1. Re-state the author’s statement in your own words.  What is being said?
  2. Elaborate on the author’s statement.  In other words, …
  3. Provide an example, illustration, or analogy to show you understand. 

Example:  Students were asked to do the above for a quote from an assigned reading.  As an in-class writing assignment, it takes only 5 minutes.  Responses can be elicited and discussed immediately afterwards, or they can be collected and a few selected responses discussed in the following class.  They could also be assessed like a quiz.   

“It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.  For every one of us, living in this world means waiting for our end.  Let whoever can win glory before death.”    Spoken by Beowulf after one of the king’s advisers was killed.

Student responses:

Beowulf is saying it is better to be a hero even if it means killing someone.  Everyone is going to die someday.  So we should accept it and not waste time in mourning.  For example, if we have the opportunity to become a hero at someone else’s expense, then do it.  I do not agree with this because life is so fragile and can be taken for granted.  In their time, way back when, this school of thought was accepted.  It still is by some people today, like in Iraq. 

It is better to kill the killer of your friend than to sit around crying.  Everyone will die.  It just depends on you to choose how and when, because that will be your remembrance.  Basically, sitting and grieving gets nothing done.  If you avenge your friend, you not only gain glory, but get rid of someone or something dangerous, and possibly help yourself move on in the process.  Although it is illegal and condemned nowadays…

Beowulf is saying you shouldn’t sit there and sulk over the death of a loved one but rather get revenge for whoever killed that person.  Most people don’t do anything in life except sit around and die off, but if you have the ability to do something great, you should do it before you die.  Beowulf is comforting the king by saying this and also using this as another way to talk himself up—he’s going to get revenge for the king so the king will love him even more.  This scenario is like taking advantage of anyone who is in a depressed state of mind.  You do something nice for them to actually better yourself in the end. 

Beowulf is saying that it is better to act rather than thinking and worrying over something and to act right away before it is too late to act.  Therefore, live life to its fullest and act, not wait for something to happen.