FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING
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appreciates the context of the material; and resolves confusion regarding
a paragraph of text before moving on to the next paragraph. In addition,
readers will understand the text best when they: ask questions about the
text; talk back to the text as they read; make predictions about the text’s
outcome; hypothesize about potential arguments; and link the text to their
purpose for reading the text
.
9
The 2011 NSSE study reports that as undergraduates, many students
have not developed the reading comprehension strategies they will need
to effectively prepare for law school. Only 58% report that they take care-
ful notes while reading. 53% report that they create their own examples to
help them understand course materials; 51% stated they created their own
course outlines; and 40% reported they created visual representations of
what they read
.
10
Again, this data suggests that when students are pre-
sented with their reading assignments during their first semester many do
not have well-developed reading comprehension strategies.
3. Students struggle with legal Synthesis
Entering law students also struggle to synthesize the meaning of multi-
ple texts. Legal synthesis is fundamental to success in law school and the
legal profession. For example, in a traditional casebook course, students
read a series of cases that discuss a single legal topic. In addition to com-
prehending the meaning of each case, the reader must think collectively
about each line of cases. In selecting the line of cases, the casebook edi-
tor’s goal is to provide the reader with the tools to generate a composite of
9 Leah M. Christensen,
Legal Reading and Success in Law School: An Empirical Study
,
.
10
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