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Develop the ability to concentrate on reading process

Academic reading can be very demanding. The concepts are often difficult to understand, and the writing style is usually formal. Initially you might find that you need frequent breaks. It is more productive to take a short break and return to your reading, than to spend hours staring at a text hoping that eventually physical contact will transfer the words to the brain.

Always give yourself a reason to read, and ask yourself, “Why am I reading this?”

Survey the text before reading

Move your eyes quickly over the page in order to read:

  • The title
  • Headings and sub-headings
  • Introduction and abstract
  • Boldfaced print, italics and underlined
  •  First sentences of each paragraph, or section
  • Graphs, charts, maps, tables…
  • Summary
  • Study questions

Always read with a purpose 

Unless you have a purpose it is easy for the mind to drift to thoughts more interesting text. Write down specific topics and seek information relevant to those topics. You can turn the title and headings into questions, which you answer while reading. Read to answer any available study questions. Try to explain any graphics or pictures.

Use self monitor while reading

After two or four paragraphs stop and think whether or not you understand the text. You might need to read again the text in order to:

  • mark the words or terms you didn’t understand,
  • find main or specific points
  • find some key words,
  • and isolate supporting evidence

Persons the text 

When you put what you are reading into your own words or relate the ideas to your study and interests you are being an active learner. You can write notes on the page and underline important terms. 

Reflect the text

This is an important step in your learning because you are actively thinking about what you are learning and what else you need to know. At the end of  your reading recall the key concepts. You can show how these ideas are connected - try making a diagram or a picture, or use lines.

 

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