Reading Rites: Teaching Textwork in Graduate Education

Hannah Wohl*, Gary Alan Fine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The ability to comprehend, discuss, and use disciplinary texts is central to graduate education. Although techniques for teaching writing have been well-discussed, and even incorporated into graduate curricula, the same is not true for techniques of scholarly reading, a crucial skill that is largely untaught and which students must learn independently or through shared culture. We argue that more explicit training in reading has potential benefits for graduate student education. Drawing on thirty-six in-depth interviews with students in the social sciences, we focus on the routines of managing academic reading, necessary for accessing information for research. Graduate students develop techniques and schedules that permit them to read rapidly or carefully, to read for different academic purposes, and to make information retrievable through notating. We suggest how graduate programs might incorporate reading education into the curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-232
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Sociologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Graduate education
  • Note-taking
  • Professionalization
  • Reading
  • Routines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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