Strategies for Reading an Academic Journal

Academic journal articles can be tough to read. From the challenging vocabulary to the format, students often struggle synthesizing information from such articles. For several years, I have struggled with the best way to guide students. Finally, this year, I have a consistent approach.



Additional Strategies

  • Encourage students to read the article out of order.
  • Practice the process together with an example article.
  • Provide a graphic organizer.
  • List questions to help guide reading.
  • Instruct students through the process of searching for an academic journal in a database.  
  • Teach students to use Control/Command + F.  Search the document for a keyword.
  • Access the dictionary feature available on most devices.
  • Let your students know that you understand these articles are challenging and take time to read. 

In Practice

Each year, the freshmen honor biology classes, 9th-grade students, require an academic journal article from an online database. We begin by providing an example of an article to discuss the format, vocabulary, headings, and other details.  

Next, we instruct the process of locating academic journals in the online databases. We focus on using the abstract to determine if the article meets the needs.  

Once students locate an article, they read using the sequence in the document provided above: abstract, introduction, results, and discussion. As students read, they can highlight needed information, use the graphic organizer with self-generated questions and use the dictionary feature on their devices. We schedule a time to read the article into the lesson planning.

Graphic Organizer

These strategies have impacted how well students read and synthesize the articles. What strategies do you utilize to help students read an academic journal? Please share in the comments.

Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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1 reply

  1. I really enjoed your aricle and your graphic on how to read an aricle from an academic journel was excellent. I wanted to share it with my students. Can you send a link to the graphic.

    Thank you
    Caroline Barkaszi
    Media Specialist for the Freehold Regional High School district

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