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Critical Reading Strategies

Critical Reading Strategies: A Review of What Students Learned at Orientation

By Professor Michele Santamaria

Reading Robots: Review

  • Visualizing the main points can really help you understand a reading.
  • You can do this visualization by drawing something like a concept map.
  • A concept map, sometimes called a “mind map,” places the key concepts in relation to one another in a diagram that looks something like this:

Making Poetry: Surveying

  • Surveying a text is getting a sense of the “big picture” by looking at the end/conclusion, reading the abstract if there is one, and looking at the organizational structure.
  • In order to make your poem, you had to have a sense of the page as a whole to see what you were working with; this helped you read with purpose.
  • Once you have a sense of “the point” of the reading, it’s a lot easier to not “lose your place” because you have a sense of where it’s headed.

Annotating Texts: Pose Questions

  • In order to annotate a text or comment upon it, you need to be willing to ask questions about it & ask questions of yourself.
  • When reading a textbook or an article, you can make questions out of the section headings and look for answers to those questions.
  • Be sure to write down your questions/answers so you can review the results of your inquiry process.

Finding Your People: Teaching Others

  • The ability to explain a concept to others, to make yourself clear is one of the best ways to test your reading comprehension of the material.
  • Another important skill you used here was making new connections between different concepts. You had to connect your superpowers to each other and to your enemy of reading.
  • When you make new connections between the material and other subject matter, you are also improving your ability to comprehend and retain material.

Many thanks to Orientation at Millersville for including Bibliomarauding! The One Book Committee wishes all incoming and returning students academic success for this upcoming school year.

Please remember that if you want *more* of “All American Boys,” the book we are reading this year, the book is available for free checkout at the library. Simply talk to a student worker at the desk and they will help you find it. Or if you want your own copy, you can buy the book at the university bookstore.

If you have questions about the activities or game design feel free to email Dr A Nicole Pfannenstiel ( or Professor Michele Santamaria (


One Book, One Campus will be at Orientation!!!!!

While many programs ask students to read the book and hold a brief discussion, we are using our time to invite students to read the book after our event. We want to help students understand the value of reading – so we’ve designed a game!

We look forward to meeting incoming freshmen and transfer students during Bibliomarauding. At this event we’ll play with robots, make blackout poetry, write on texts, and play super hero games to build an understanding and culture of reading.

We’ll post more about future events as they unfold.

Recent Jason Reynolds Interview

On January 23rd, Jason Reynolds appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

As you can see in the video above, Reynolds connects with the need to write books that serve young readers from all communities. At the 2:39 mark he comments “I am of service to young people.” He writes authentic stories for young readers. His aim is to serve the young adult community by writing books that provide them stories to explore difficult but real topics, meaningful topics to them.

The One Book selection, All American Boys, which Reynolds co-authored with Brendan Kiely, deals with police brutality, racial profiling, and the difficult choices two young boys must make as members of their community. These are real issues experienced by and affecting our students today. As educators we love that Reynolds’ real stories support literacy development and a love of reading. In creating stories that people want to read, they read. In reading and finding conversation they want to engage with, they discuss, they write, they read more.

The One Book Committee is excited to welcome Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely to campus on March 27th (7pm in SMC MPR). We hope students, staff, faculty, and community members join us at this event to hear more from Reynolds and Kiely on how they wrote this book with “rage and love” to help readers work through the events that are shaping their lives.

2017-2018 One Book Selection

For the 2017-2018 Academic Year the One Book Committee selected All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brenden Kiely as the campus one book read.

cover of All American Boys
cover of All American Boys

This award winning YA novel follows two teens – one black and one white – as they grapple with the fallout of a violent event.

You can purchase a copy through the MU Bookstore here.

You can also check out a copy from the McNairy Library!