Active Reading September 7, 2005
Self-Evaluation • Does your mind go blank when you take a test? • Have you ever done poorly on a test even though you read the chapter two or three times? • When reading is it hard to remember what you read a few pages ago? • Feel like you know what you read but you can’t explain it? • Do you feel like you should be getting more from your textbooks?
Active Reading • Reading textbooks is not like reading novels. • Efficient and effective reading allows you to read many more pages of text in less time. • Active reading improves your recall and understanding. • Active reading allows you to better grasp complicated reading material.
Get Acquainted • Buy your textbooks as early as you can. • If you’re certain of the books you need, buy them before classes start. • Get familiar with each book • Read the introduction • Look at the table of contents • Does it have a glossary? • What’s the vocabulary like?
Take your time • When beginning a reading assignment, make sure you have an idea of how long it will take • Break the reading into manageable chunks • Find the right speed for you • Too fast, and you miss important information • Too slow, you’re probably paying too much attention to unimportant detail • Don’t fall behind!
Do’s of Active Reading • Read in an environment that works for you • Well-lit, free of distractions • You may need to move around • If you fall asleep while reading, sit up – don’t lie down • Take breaks • What’s your concentration limit? • Read every day (even weekends) • Be creative and thoughtful • Mark your books (but don’t mark every word) • Read while you’re alert • Read out loud if the material is complicated
Don’ts of Active Reading • Don’t study in bed. • Don’t have the TV on while you study • Don’t play music while you read • Some people need background noise, though • Don’t plan to read for hours at a time • Don’t read when you’re sleepy • Don’t fall behind • Don’t wait till the last minute
Mark your book! • Forget selling your books back to the bookstore. • Make notes in the margin • Don’t highlight while reading • If you don’t understand something, put a question mark by it.
Is there a Secret? • Preview • Question • Read • Reflect • Recite • Review PQ4R
Preview • What is the reading about? • How complicated is it? • How long is it? Do I need to break it into chunks? • Is it related to lecture topics? • Do I need a dictionary? Do all this before you start reading
Question • What questions will this reading answer? • Use headings in the readings • Use lecture notes to guide questions • Suggestion: make index cards with the major points, headings, or questions.
Read • Break the assignment into chunks and read it. • Possible strategies: • Keep a pen in your hand (not a highlighter). Use it. • Use a tape recorder to record interesting, important, or useful phrases. • Make sketches as you read. • Engage the author in a conversation – ask questions and let the author answer them • Don’t memorize yet. Try to hear the author’s message
Reflect • Just what it sounds like – think about the reading. • How does the reading relate to lecture topics? • How does it fit with or challenge what you already know? • What are the answers to the questions that you asked • After you reflect, go back and highlight important points.
Recite • Explain what you read • Strategies – • Write a one-sentence summary of each main segment. • Explain the reading out loud to yourself or someone else. • Draw a flowchart that shows connections between ideas in the reading. • This is where you learn what you understand and what you don’t understand.
Review • Go back over the reading • Wait a day or two. • See whether you remember the main concepts, even without looking at the book. • Ask a question in class or office hours about something you didn’t quite get. • Focus on the hardest material
Did you know? • When most professors read books, they use this strategy. We almost never read something just once from start to finish.