Creighton University

Helping Students Read Difficult Texts

A helpful way to teach students to understand structural functions in a text is to show them how to write “what it says” and “what it does” statements. A “what it says” statement is a summary of the paragraph and a “what it does” statement describes the paragraph’s function within the essay. Asking students to write these type of statements for a scholarly article in their career field will ensure careful reading and increased awareness of paragraph structure.

Bean, J. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.