Yes, there is definitely a wrong way to read. You know you’re doing it wrong if…
- You have to go over a passage repeatedly to know it well enough for a test
- You catch yourself having to reread a paragraph because you weren’t paying attention
- You don’t know the main idea of the last paragraph you read
- You’re reading every single paragraph you’re assigned
- You’re using your highlighter to highlight more than three or four words in each paragraph (I really think you shouldn’t use one at all!)
- You close your book as soon as you finish reading
The write way to read involves several key steps like…
- Previewing the text with an eye towards your identifying your reading goal and towards getting an idea of the overall organization and main points
- Reading the text while taking notes–just as you would for a lecture–on anything you need to remember
- Reviewing the text while you quiz yourself. What did that section talk about? How is that main idea linked to the next paragraph?
Take a look at this excellent resource from Indiana University. They do a wonderful job of covering the basics, although I do disagree on a few minor points. If you’ve read my study skills ebook and/or some of my other posts on better reading you should be able to pick them out. Which ones do you think I’ll take issue with?