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Study Skills: Reading

Steps to Getting Good Grades in College

Reading Techniques

COMMON MISCONCEPTION: Textbooks are often read in the same way that we read pleasure books. This creates a lack of understanding and limits retention of information.

First things First- Getting to Know Your Textbook

  1. Examine the Table of Contents:
    1. What does the table of contents tell?
    2. How is the textbook organized? What main divisions does it have?
  2. Examine study questions, guides, and other helps:
    1. Does the text provide study aids to help in understanding the text?
    2. Are the study aids in the form of questions, exercises, or activities?
    3. If questions are used, do they simply require finding the answers or must you do some critical problem-type thinking to arrive at answers?
    4. Are there study aids both preceding and following a chapter? Which types of aids help you most?
    5. Does the text provide suggestions for other readings or materials designed to help you understand a chapter?
  3. Examine chapter headings, sectional headings, and margin guides:
    1. Look at the chapter heading and then the section headings that follow. Write them down and see if this gives an overview of the chapter.
    2. How do headings help in skimming a chapter for specific information?
    3. Do you find different kinds of type in your chapter? Does this help you understand the organization of your textbook better? How?
    4. Does the text provide help in identifying material to be found within each paragraph? Is the topic sentence indicated?
    5. Does the book use summaries? How do these help? What is the difference between giving the gist of a chapter and summarizing its contents?
  4. Examine maps, pictures, charts, diagrams, and tables:
    1. Which of these visual aids is used? Do you understand them?

How We Learn.....

20% of what we hear

30% of what we see

50% of what we see and hear

70% of what we discuss with others

80% of what we experience personally

95% of what we teach to someone else