Take5 #83 The LD Health Hive Mind presents Collaborative Reading Circles

This #Take5 has been brought to you from Tasha Cooper from UWE, Bristol and Anne-Marie Langford from the University of Northampton. In this post,  Anne-Marie describes the creation of a brand new ALDinHE community of practice (CoP) focused on Health and Social Care programmes. This CoP is particularly interesting in being online and asynchronous. In this post they focus particularly on the responses curated from a recent community activity that looked at Collaborative Reading Circles.

LD Health CoP: Background

The LD Health CoP started as a conversation at the ALDinHE conference in June 2022, where I, Anne-Marie, noticed that there were a lot of LD types working with Health and Social Care cohorts. This is a growing area of work with common challenges and attributes. I thought it might be a good idea to get people sharing ideas and information on a regular basis and there was general enthusiasm for the idea. 

I got a few people together and sent out a doodle poll to have a meeting. Spoiler alert – it was difficult.  It occurred to me that getting people together at the same time will always be tricky, even online, so maybe our sharing could be done in a way to enable participants to take part at times which suit them.  So, the idea of asynchronous sharing was born.  At the moment this happens on Padlets but one day I will get organised to navigate the institutional maze of sorting an inter-organisational MS Teams….maybe. 

As a side note, an interesting thing that I have learnt is that you can export padlets into excel spreadsheets.  That made my nerd heart so happy.

But first… I thought I would share ideas that emerged from our asynchronous activities based on the scaffolding of academic reading. We shared ideas on padlets – I cannot share these here because we offer in-CoP anonymity to participants.

Learning to Read and Reading to Learn: January Activity: Collaborative Reading Circles

The January activity for the LD Health CoP focused on collaborative reading techniques. The activity was initiated and led by Tasha Cooper, a CoP member from UWE Bristol. Tasha shared details of a variety of collaborative reading techniques she has implemented with their students over the last year or so, ranging from academic reading circles (online and f2f), textmapping, to jigsaw reading and scrolling. Some have been successful, others less so! Below is a brief summary of the padlet responses to her ‘reading’ prompts  – starting with Academic Reading Circles.

ARC: Role cards for Academic Reading Circles

Tasha shared the role cards which have been used for the ARCs or academic reading circles and wanted to find out what other experiences the CoP have had with similar activities. The role cards used at UWE Bristol were inspired by Seburn (2016) for an activity which encouraged students to read in a particular way. They were the summariser, contextualiser, language miner, visualiser, connector. Students were grouped together to read in the particular role so that they could support each other. Then a new group was created with one student of each role in the group and they shared their findings to the group.

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Image: Ark (shared from wikimedia commons)

Academic Reading Circles and the Slides Strategy

A CoP member shared lots of reflections about Academic Reading Circles and shared an article on the use of slides which was circulated on the LDHEN mailing list last year. A quote from the abstract:

“Collaborative slides used as a pedagogical tool in this way encourage value of all perspectives, diverse modality and thought, and inclusivity through a platform that allows different literacies to cohabitate, working toward decolonizing academia.” (Sameshima and Orasi, 2022)

Reading for Critical appraisal

The UG nursing and midwifery students all do a research methods module in year 2 where they need to read and critically appraise a journal article, which is the first time they are expected to demonstrate this skill. The Subject Librarian and the Academic Skills Adviser are running a new joint session this trimester where the students will be given an article to read before, and then in class will be reading sections at a time alongside the relevant CASP critical appraisal tool and identifying elements to appraise, followed by examples of transferring this into writing.

Jigsaw reading

A CoP member stated that they found jigsaw reading to be an effective activity, particularly with less confident learners. It can have a real positive impact on overall self-efficacy in students attributed to the feeling of ‘becoming an expert’ of one part of a text along with being given the responsibility for teaching others about it. This has been echoed by students in reflections on their progress too. This can work especially well when reading something new – whether that be an unfamiliar genre or topic, or something more complex (Harvard, 2023).

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Image: Jigsaw (shared from wikimedia commons)

SQ3R: Model for active reading

Called SQ3R it  is a reading tool designed to help the reader absorb information from books and articles. It is designed to increase  retention of what you read by setting study goals and giving you techniques to help fix information in your mind. SQ3R stands for ‘Survey’, ‘Question’ and three Rs: ‘Read’, ‘Recall’ and ‘Review’. 

LD Health COP member observations

Reading and specifically journal articles is clearly a challenge for many Health Science students and in my role as a Faculty Skills Advisor I know it is a ‘big’ issue which needs to be addressed because it underpins so many of the issues students face.

International? A call to Action

It was noted that international students often find it difficult to understand the language used in academic journals. One CoP member expressed an interest in creating a vocabulary list of common words in (healthcare) journal articles that students can access prior to reading. It would be great to hear if anyone here has come across such a resource or have done something similar.

Join our April Activity – How placements affect our students and their academic tasks

If you would like to join us, please email admin@aldinhe.ac.uk and ask to join the LD Health CoP. There is a values charter to which all members sign and members are invited to lead a monthly activity for information sharing.


Harvard University (2023) Jigsaw Harvard University [online] https://ablconnect.harvard.edu/jigsaw-research

Royal Literary Fund ([n.d.]) How to Read: 3SQR Royal Literary Fund [online] [Accessed from: https://www.rlf.org.uk/resources/how-to-read-sq3r/ ]

Sameshima, P. and Orasi, T. (2022) What’s better than the asynchronous discussion post? Journal of Applied Learning and Teaching 5(2) pp.51-61

Seburn, T. (2016). Academic Reading Circles (Print Ed). The round.


Tasha Cooper works under the umbrella of learning development for UWE Bristol as a Library Academic Support Coordinator, within the College of Health, Science and Society. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and her special interests include digital literacy, digital reading and adopting new learning technologies. link to Tasha pic

Anne-marie Langford is a Learning Development Tutor at the University of Northampton. She is relatively new to Learning Development joining after a 20 year career in heritage education. Her interests include critical thinking, cross cultural learning and teaching and digital co-creation and collaboration. link to Anne-Marie pic

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