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Overview:

"How do they expect us to remember everything from the reading when they assign over 30 pages to read?!?" "This is just too much." "I bet they haven't read all of this themselves--and they expect us to understand it all!"

If we honestly recall our undergraduate experiences and attitudes, we might remember uttering these comments ourselves--how ironic that the same is now being said about us. We might understand, then, that many students occasionally feel overwhelmed by a reading assignment and thus fail to comprehend it. One reason for this is that they have a hard time distinguishing main ideas from supporting details; sometimes the examples and evidence meant to support and clarify become more interesting, so the main idea gets lost along the way. In other words, sometimes students "can't see the forest for the trees."