Learning is an active process. Professors always encourage students to actively engage with the material, that is to put it into their own words and into some meaningful order. This simple task improves comprehension because the student must summarize the information he's just read. Reiterating and condensing text is one of the very best ways to understand and remember.
It is widely recognized that good readers notice pieces of text that relate to or remind them of their experiences, prior knowledge or other books, articles.
1. Make Connections
1. Make Connections
Good readers create pictures in their minds while they read. While reading, note places where you get a clear picture in your mind that helps you understand the text. You can use your senses to connect the characters, events, and ideas to clarify the picture in your head.
3. Ask QuestionsGood readers ask questions before, during, and after reading to better understand the author and the meaning of the text.What is the author trying to say? What is the message? Do I know something about this topic? What do I think I will learn from this text? How could this be explained to someone else?
How do I read between the lines? Good readers draw conclusions based on background knowledge and clues in the text. Find information from the text that might be clues to the answers and use these with your background knowledge for possible answers.
5. Determine ImportanceGood readers look for things that help them identify big ideas and why they are important. Look at text features for clues:Titles and headings, bold print, pictures and captions, graphs and charts.
Good readers combine new information from their reading with existing knowledge in order to form new ideas or interpretations.Synthesis is creating a single understanding from a variety of sources. It is advised to compare and contrastwhat you are reading with what you already know or other sources of information.Think of new ways to use this information.
Here are some useful steps to follow especially when dealing with difficult material
- Choose a smaller amount of material/ chapter to begin
- Understand how the material is organized - Skim through the titles, headings, sub-headings, and topic sentences to get its general idea; pay attention to graphs, charts, and diagrams
- Read the summary at the end of a chapter
- Check the beginning and the end for leading questions and exercises
- Read first for what you do understand, and to determine difficulty.
- Mark what you do not understand to review later
- Periodically look away from the text and ask yourself a stimulus question relating to the text
- Respond, or restate, in your own words
- Look up words whose meanings are important to your understanding of the material, but you cannot discern from the context.
- Do not get discouraged and stop reading.Ideas can become clearer the more you read. When you finish reading, review to see what you have learned, and reread those ideas that are not clear.
- Organize your notes by connecting ideas you choose into an outline or mindmap.
Pay attention to relationships between ideas.
To minimize distractions and increase your concentration consider
- WHEN you are reading - find times when you are alert and awake and plan for reading then
- WHERE you are reading- quiet spots with few distractions
- HOW LONG you are reading - plan reading sessions for times when your energy and concentration are high
Choose the strategies that work best for you or that best suit your purpose.