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Learning skills: Reading effectively

Presents information and URLs on learning skills

Reading effectively

Reading effectively involves more than passing your eyes over text. Active reading ensures that you take meaning from and remember what you've read. For great tips on how to read effectively, please refer the University of Guelph's A Guide for University Learning and in particular, the section called "Learning from textbooks". You'll find information there about active reading, reading strategies, and other suggestions for how to have a successful reading experience. You'll also find links to a PDF or HTML version of the information at the bottom of the first page of the resource.

 

Practical tips:

The following information focuses on readings in textbooks, but the suggestions can apply to reading other types of materials:

  1. Reading and remembering information from textbooks can be challenging and requires your time and attention for optimal learning.
  2. Do your textbook readings before the class.
  3. Interact with textbook readings (i.e., ask yourself questions, make notes) to help you remember the material better.
  4. Try to do your textbook reading in a spot with few distractions and at a time when you feel wide awake and alert.
  5. Read for short periods of time with breaks.
  6. Try the SQ4R Method (Survey, Question, Read, Respond, Record & Review) to help improve your comprehension of textbook material.
  7. While highlighting may take less time than note taking, most students highlight too much. Aim to mark up only 10-15% of the content.
  8. Unlike highlighting, note taking allows you to integrate your textbook notes with your lecture notes.
  9. You'll understand and remember textbook content better if you write notes in your own words.
  10. For difficult texts, use a specialized dictionary, check out an introductory book on topic, read out loud, or try another text. 
    (Source: University of Guelph, Learning from Textbooks)

Also:

  • Do the required reading on a regular basis. Keep a weekly schedule.
  • Preview material to get an overview.  See how the chapter is organized.
  • Consider the author’s writing style and potential biases.
  • Use different reading speeds as appropriate. Pay attention to your attention.
  • Think of questions to answer as you read through the material.
  • Reflect on the material as you read.  How is it valuable?
  • Summarize what you have read. Note important points. Integrate with lecture notes or in text margins.
  • Take breaks. Set targets to work towards and break in-between.
  • Review your readings on a regular basis.
    (Source: Roberta Mason, RRU)

 

More information

Creative Commons

Information within this guide was adapted from the University of Guelph's A Guide to University Learning and from information provided by Roberta Mason, Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, Royal Roads University. These materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.