Textbook reading in college is a skill that college students rarely perfect. Not having these skills could mean that you spend more time reading and rereading than necessary, and valuable time is, in turn, wasted. The next time you pick up your textbook consider the following tips which can help you comprehend your reading materials in a more efficient manner.
Tip # 1 - Before you read, perform a pre-read.
A pre-read a great way to get yourself ready and interested in what you are about to read. It is especially helpful when you have large lengthy chapters. You can start by scanning the material; examine the chapter summary, chapter and section headings, illustrations, side notes, and chapter questions. The pre-read should not take a long time and should defiantly not take as long a time as it takes to actually read the section. The pre-read can also be beneficial as a pre-lecture review, which will allow you to review the material you’ve read before class.
Tip # 2 - Break-up your reading assignments into manageable sections.
After the sections have been divided, try to tackle one section at a time. Reading too much information at once can sometimes result in low levels of comprehension. Therefore, it is recommended to read for 45 minutes to an hour and then take a break. For some individuals who have trouble with concentration, it may even be better to read for 30 minutes to an hour, and then take a break. The key to remember is that everyone’s comprehension and attention level is different so you may have to make adjustments to these times in order to fit your personal needs.
Tip # 3 - Take a short 5-15 minute break between each section.
These breaks are necessary to help you to maintain an optimal level of concentration. Without a break between your reading and study sessions you may lose concentration and the end result will be valuable time wasted. During your small break you could grab a snack, go for a short walk, or play with your dog. Remember if you are only taking a break your main goal is to take some time away from the textbook, and then return to it after a short while. So try not to forget to go back to your studies.
Tip # 4 - Take light notes after each section.
It is important to combine short reading periods with active reading. One way to do this is to read a section and then then takes notes on just that section. This will allow you more opportunity to truly learn the material you have read versus just having some main ideas of what you read. And remember, notes should be taken after you have read the material and have a good understanding of important ideas from the content.
Tip # 5 - Review your textbook notes often.
Reviewing your notes will guarantee that you retain the new information which you learned. This can also aid in maintaining a higher level of focus during lecture. Also be sure to make connections to your reading assignments during your actual read and while you review. Connecting your reading material to something that you already know and enjoy is a great way to make your reading and review sessions more interesting and rewarding.
Hopefully this list Tips to help perfect your textbook reading is helpful to you or someone you know. If you have any textbook reading tips or experiences you would like to share please add your comments.
- Cornell University Learning Center. Study Skills Resources. http://lsc.cornell.edu/sidebars/study_skills_resources/SKResources.html
- Stock.XChng. Exam Time. Image of Person reading book. Image ID number 1102366. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1102366
- Stock.XChng. Flying Books 1. Image of Stacked books. Image ID number 1408766. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1408766
- University of Texas at Austin. Sanger Learning and Career Center. http://lifelearning.utexas.edu