Oxford University Press organises a webinar on ‘Reading Strategies to Crack Your Exams’

Shefali Ray, ELT Consultant and OUP author shares invaluable tips to emerge as an efficient reader in order to ace any exam

New Delhi: Oxford University Press India (OUPI), a department of the prestigious University of Oxford organised a webinar on “Reading Strategies to Crack Your Exams” on 10th December, 2021. The host Shefali Ray, ELT Consultant and OUP author, shared insights and important tips to improve reading strategies for better exam outcomes. Shefali Ray is an ELT professional who has worked both at the school and the college level, has authored several books, and has been training teachers since 1990.

During the webinar, Ray brought the concept of critical reading into focus in the light of the academic expectations from college students who have to go through texts that are voluminous, dense, and complex. She mentioned that students have to hypothesize about the content of the text before reading. They need to make connections and draw analogies with real life by inferring, interpreting, analysing and synthesizing the content with what they already know and then critiquing it and finding new ways to look at the content. It was an interactive session conducted in an engaging style wherein Ray modelled the desirable behaviour of the teacher by providing clues and cues, helping the participants draw analogies with real life and waiting for their response through an increased wait time.

Before taking the participants into the realm of critical reading, she did a comprehensive review of basic reading skills and strategies which the students are expected to master at high school. She defined critical reading as reading objectively by distancing oneself from the text and trying to find out the purpose of the text; the underlying biases and assumptions or cultural, political colour of the text, if any.

Additionally, she demonstrated the deconstruction of a text through questions by taking up examples of expository and discursive texts. She also dwelt upon study skills that include mind maps and graphic organisers which she demonstrated with the help of a text. Further, she provided the participants with reading tips such as the SQ4R (Survey, Question, Read, Respond, Record, and Review) and touched upon a few of the reading mistakes they need to avoid. Ray concluded the webinar with suggestions and tips for teachers and professors to encourage their students to read independently and critically.