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Reading Strategies Guide

Reading strategies: an introduction

Reading Strategies are an important component in the design of modules and a key part of the Validation and Re-assessment processes for courses. Reading strategies demonstrate how you will make sure that students can engage appropriately with the literature of the module in a way that allows them to engage successfully with their learning.

Course and module leaders are responsible for creating the reading strategy for a module, but as a tutor you are also responsible for making sure the content of those modules adheres to the agreed strategy.

The idea of a Reading strategy fits logically alongside other strategies that you may be more familiar with:

  • Teaching strategy: how you will deliver your material and involve students in effective participation and active engagement with the module.
  • Assessment strategy: how you will make sure that students have mastered the material, met objectives and developed relevant skills and knowledge.

Your reading strategy should be given an equal status as these, and should address four fundamental questions:

  • What resources do I want my students to use?
  • How will I make them available in ways that suit the teaching and learning practicalities of the module?
  • How will I let the students know what I expect?
  • How will I make sure the students have the skills required to use the resources I have identified?

Who this guide is for

This guide is designed for anyone who is involved in the design or teaching of modules at Birmingham Newman.

It will take you through the creation of a reading strategy from start to finish. It contains key considerations, as well as worked examples, tips and suggestions for understanding and developing reading strategies.

Even if you are not a module or course leader, the information in this guide will help you to understand the reading strategy for a course or module. This will help you when it comes to choosing accessible and engaging reading within your teaching.

If you are taking over or covering a module

If you are not the person who originally designed the module you are teaching on, or part of the team that did so, you may wish to reflect on some of the following questions to evaluate the current reading strategy in place:

  • What has been recommended on the existing reading strategy / reading list?
  • Where are students expected to locate this material?
  • Has there been any specific feedback on the resources for this module?

Additionally, remember to think about what the current reading strategy and reading for the module looks like compared to your own knowledge and approaches. If you are unfamiliar with a particular resource or concept, or have strong opinions about a particular resource, how will you address this before you are required to teach this material?

If you want to introduce new resources as reading for a module that is not in the process of being re-assessed, then you will need to use the current module reading strategy as a framework for incorporating this new material. However, you may also find the prompts in this guide useful for deciding whether to include new material or not, particularly those on the 'Library resources' page.

Glossary of terms


A taught component of a programme. Students will usually study several modules as part of their programme, with each module counting as credit towards their overall qualification.


As part of a programme of study, students may be given a choice of ways that they can achieve their qualification, perhaps with a range of elective modules within a programme, or with opportunities to study modules across different disciplines. Each particular combination can be considered to be a 'pathway' to the qualification.


A course of study at Birmingham Newman University that leads to a qualification. 'Course' refers to the entirety of the student lifecycle, from enrolment through to graduation/certification. The most common types of courses lead to the award of a degree, e.g. BA Applied Humanities, but 'course' also applies to shorter course, such as the PGCE, or the Introductory Certificate in Counselling.

Reading Strategy

A document produced for the validation or revalidation process for a module or programme. It explains the rationale behind the module's approach for reading. Its primary audiences are module leaders and teachers, and university management.

Reading for the Module

Guidance produced by a module leader and aimed primarily at students and teaching colleagues. actual guidance you give students in a particular year about the reading requirements for the module. An example of Reading for the Module could be a published Reading List, but can take other forms.

The Reading for the Module is not part of the validated module documents. It can be changed as frequently as you choose, so long as the guidance fits within the reading strategy that you agreed at the module validation or re-assessment.

Validation and revalidation

The official Birmingham Newman University approval and evaluation process for modules and programmes, to ensure they meet standards for ethics, finance, and academic rigor.

Last reviewed: 14 March 2024

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