Study Skills: Reading to Learn

As you know, reading is a large part of your academic life, therefore, learning to read well is important to your success. The following suggestions may help you improve your reading skills and get more out of your reading.

Before you start

  • Preview the chapter you are about to read. 
  • Ask yourself questions based on your quick review. For example, if the title for a chapter in a psychology book is “Motivation,” ask yourself, “What are the different types of motivation?” Questions will provide a focus and purpose for your reading.
  • Carefully review illustrations. Visual illustrations may stay in your memory more clearly than the written word.
  • Set reading goals. Divide your reading assignments into manageable units and read only a given amount in any one sitting. 
  • Plan to read and review daily. Do not let the reading pile up.

Ready, set, read

  • Try to “go with the flow.” Get into a rhythm with your reading. Let yourself become absorbed in what is being said. Try to pick out the main ideas.
  • Actively use your book. Use the margins to summarize key points in your own words. The process of writing down information or ideas will help you retain the information and your notes will work as a study guide when you’re reviewing for an exam.

After you have read

  • Review the chapter. Use your margin notes and the illustrations to ask yourself questions about the reading.
  • Use review questions at the end of the chapter as a study guide. If the author took the time to write the questions, they must contain important concepts.
  • Reread text. Oftentimes it is necessary to reread portions of the textbook after class to clarify information covered in a lecture.