- Spend 5-10 minutes scanning the chapter — headings,
diagrams, charts, terms in bold type, questions at the end, summary, etc.
about what you already
know concerning the topics covered in the chapter.
- Think of the paragraph or the section (3 or 5 paragraphs under a heading)
as your unit of meaning. Do not stop when you are confused about a word or sentence,
often the next sentence will clarify the meaning.
- If you are still confused at the end of a section or paragraph, stop at that
point to reread or to look up unfamiliar words.
- Turn the heading into a question and read that section to find the answer.
- Stop at the end of the section to make a note in the margin or to highlight
key words of the answer. Try to highlight less than 20% of the text.
parts or items (e.g., 3 parts of a definition, 5 causes of something, 3 requirements,
- Look at how other students mark their texts for ideas and models.
- Stop at the end of each paragraph, and ask yourself the main point. Then highlight
- Do not highlight a section if the professor said the book (often a paperback)
was assigned simply to present a broader scope rather than details. For example,
3 paperbacks in a history class may have been assigned so that you can learn
how historians work and think, not with the intention that you memorize dates.
- If you decide not to highlight or make marginal notes, stop at the end of each
chapter and write a few notes into your notebook.
- At the end of a chapter or reading session, spend 5-10 minutes scanning back
over the headings and your own highlighting.
- Begin to self-test if time allows.
Turn a heading into a question and try to answer it. Then look to see if you
- Look at the reading in connection with your lecture notes.
- Review and self-test frequently.
- Consider forming a study group to discuss the material and quiz each other.
1. Vary your reading speed depending upon the text, but try to gradually increase
your speed. 2. For a science or technical book, think of the charts and diagrams
as the heart of the text with sentences simply explaining what is presented visually.