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Supplement to When Breath Becomes Air

This Supplement to When Breath Becomes Air helps individuals read a text on an unfamiliar topic and internalize relevant themes from the book. The Vanderbilt University English Language Center (ELC) created this supplement as part of our mission to address the professional, academic, and practical language needs of students who have a first language other than English. Our supplement includes:

  • reading strategies for building background knowledge, previewing the text, skimming the text, and scanning the text
  • an overview of organizational elements: explores skills for reading accuracy and comprehension, including sections about literary devices, technical terminology, and literary references
  • a focus on Kalanithi’s writing style: identifies literary devices and how they can enhance the reading experience
  • applying Kalanithi’s advice: guides reflection on how your background and interests can enhance your campus experiences


The ELC’s Supplement to When Breath Becomes Air resource is available for download as an individual document:


Institutional Repository

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