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ERIC Number: EJ796375
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Reading Trade Books in a Freshman Biology Course
Jensen, Murray; Moore, Randy
American Biology Teacher, v70 n4 p206-207, 209-210 Apr 2008
Many college courses have historically been associated with large amounts of reading. For example, many biology courses required students to read trade books such as Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (Carson, 1962), or James Watson's "The Double Helix" (Watson, 1980), but now most instructors elect to focus students' reading on course textbooks and study guides. As instructors know, these different kinds of books tell very different stories and elicit different responses from readers. For example, whereas "Silent Spring" was a bestseller that helped launch the "environmental movement," textbooks are often little more than massive, and very expensive, compendiums of facts that students seldom read, much less study. This has been documented by Burchfield and Sappington (2000) who found an overall decline in reading compliance in assigned textbook reading over a 16-year span. Despite the fact that reading levels are in decline, but the merits of reading remain in high regard, the authors designed and implemented a reading assignment for college freshman science students. In this article, the authors discuss a research project whose objective was to evaluate the assignment in terms of student opinions and its influence on overall course performance (i.e., course grades). (Contains 2 tables.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive #110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A