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
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
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
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