Many people--students and faculty alike--assume that when they encounter a text, they simply sit down and read it. Yet different types of texts call for different reading strategies. We should not assume that our students know this or have been taught this; in fact, many studies show that reading comprehension strategies are not extensively taught in secondary schools.

Students often have difficulties reading and retaining information from textbooks because they fail to recognize both the intent of the text and the purpose of their reading. It's like walking into a house for the first time without the benefit of a light or an idea of the floor plan. Newcomers could just bumble around in the dark until they found a doorway and would move from room to room with no clear idea of where they had been or were going. We can "hand students a flashlight" by helping them identify the purpose of the text and understand the stages of an effective reading process.