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Remedial Reading Programs for College Freshman

written by: gaddisac•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 8/9/2010

Worried about reading college level texts? A remedial reading program can help!

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    According to studies done by the U.S. Department of Education, many secondary schools across the nation aren’t adequately preparing students to excel at college. Universities and community colleges are stepping in to fill the gap by offering remedial college courses in subjects like reading and math. Reading comprehension is a necessary skill in college, when texts become more advanced, and many students may not be prepared. A remedial reading program for a college freshman can help the student develop the critical thinking skills necessary to read at the college level.

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    How Remedial Reading Programs Help Students

    In a remedial reading program, college freshman will learn essential college level reading skills such as vocabulary, reading comprehension and understanding the structure of texts. Vocabulary lessons may include skills like using context clues to find the meanings of unfamiliar words. In a remedial reading program students also gain reading comprehension skills through lessons on how to recognize topic sentences and summarize texts. Many remedial reading programs also emphasize the structure of college level texts through writing exercises. College entrance and placement exams are designed to test these reading skills and determine if a freshman needs a remedial reading program before he or she begins a degree program.

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    How Students Qualify for a Remedial Reading Program

    If test scores reveal that a college freshman is behind his or her peers in reading skills, the college will recommend that the student take a remedial course to get him or her up to speed. The student’s academic advisor will help the student enroll in a remedial reading program that will give him or her the skills to read at the college level. Remedial reading programs may be offered by the college’s tutoring center. Most remedial courses are taught by the department that handles the subject matter, so remedial reading courses are usually offered by the English department and remedial math by the math department. However, many remedial courses do not count as college credits.

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    Why Remedial Courses Don't Count as College Credits

    While it may seem unfair to some students that remedial courses are not counted as credits towards a degree, remedial classes are designed to teach students how to learn in a college environment. Classes that count towards a degree are supposed to present information or teach skills that a degree holder needs to be a professional in his or her field, and remedial classes simply prepare students to learn. This doesn’t mean that in a remedial reading program, college freshman aren’t gaining valuable knowledge and skills.

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    A remedial reading program can be a valuable learning experience for a college freshman. Students who are unfamiliar with college level reading or feel like their high school didn't adequately prepare them for college should consider a remedial reading program to get them the language skills they need to succeed at the college level. Older or nontraditional students can also benefit from a remedial reading program because it will refresh skills they may have learned many years ago.