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Effective Reading Strategies

Effectively Reading Your Textbook


Effective Reading Strategies
copyright flickr user Jayel Aheram

Newsflash: Your teacher doesn’t care if you read the whole chapter. I'm not kidding. In fact, if you're using effective reading strategies, you're not going to read every single word. You don't have to. Your teacher just wants you to learn the material, and if you use the following effective reading tips for textbooks, you'll be sure to do that. Read to learn, not just to read. No guilt if you skip around!

Secret Study Skills of Successful Students

Effective Reading Strategies Involve Less Actual Reading

The best way of spending your study hour is by devoting as little time as is humanly possible to reading and as much time as is humanly possible doing these things:

  • Testing yourself
  • Organizing
  • Reviewing
  • Relating new concepts to ones you already know
  • Identifying and memorizing technical terms, formulas, vocabulary
  • Applying the concepts to real-world situations

In other words, spend your time learning, not just hacking through the words on the page until they blur into a giant mass of indecipherable grayish figures.

Effective Reading Strategies For Learning a Chapter

As I said before, your teacher doesn't care if you read the whole chapter. He or she does care if you know the material. Here's how to minimize your reading and maximize your learning when you read a textbook. Just PEEK, ASK, ANSWER and QUIZ.

  1. Peek. Effective reading starts with dedicating the first part of your reading time to peeking through the chapter - look at chapter headings, view pictures, read the intro and conclusion, and browse through the study questions at the end.

  2. Ask Questions. On a sheet of paper, transform your chapter headings into questions, leaving spaces underneath. Change “Early Romantic Poets” into “Who were the Early Romantic Poets?” Change “The Lithograph” into “What is The Lithograph?” And on and on. Do this for every heading and subheading.

  3. Answer Questions. Read through the chapter to answer the questions you just created. Put the answers in your own words underneath the questions you’ve written on your paper. Paraphrasing what the book says is imperative because you'll remember your own words much longer than someone else's.

  4. Quiz. When you’ve found the answers to all of the questions, read back through your notes with the answers covered to see if you can answer the questions from memory. If not, reread your notes until you can.

Effective Reading Summary

If you practice these effective reading strategies, your test/quiz/and exam study time will decrease DRAMATICALLY because you will have learned the material as you go instead of cramming for your test right before exam time.

Sample Reading Comprehension Questions
Learn Those Facts With Mnemonic Devices
How to Study For Any Test

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