Most of us lot of us want to read more books in a minimum amount of time, but often it is difficult to develop and maintain textbook reading habits. If you are also one of those individuals who are having trouble with reading textbooks quickly, you are in the perfect place.
The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the most effective techniques you should follow to develop good textbook reading habits.
Consider the Uniqueness of Textbooks
Many people tend to ignore the fact that every textbook is unique. As a result, different textbooks have varying features that you are likely to see in novels, blog posts, and other types of text. Such features of textbooks are meant to provide a wide range of information to the readers and help them get all the information they need about a particular topic.
Therefore, it is important to spend a few minutes skimming through a chapter or section of the textbook before you start reading it. It will help you get an idea of the main concepts of the chapter and have a better focus on comprehensive reading.
Active Textbook Reading
Every student has a different way of reading textbooks. Some students tend to open the book and start reading the first sentence of the chapter directly. Generally, there are students who take a lot of time to read each word of the textbook or some students who just skim through the pages. Both of these types of students are considered passive students.
It is important to focus on active textbook reading strategies that improve the comprehensive and retention skills of the students. As the name suggests, active reading strategies compel your brain to do something while reading something.
You can significantly improve your textbook reading habits by following certain tips and tricks before reading, during reading, and after reading.
Tips to Follow Before Reading
Follow these tips before reading a textbook:
Look through the different features of a chapter you are going to read. Check the headings, titles, graphs, and important summary boxes to get an idea of what the chapter is about. Pay special attention to the vocabulary lists, visuals, introductions, and chapter summaries.
Start from the End
Most well-written textbooks have summaries written at the end of each chapter. You should check out this summary, chapter questions, and practice problems before reading the chapter to ensure you have a clear idea about what is expected from you after reading the chapter.
Remember Prior Knowledge
Prior knowledge might be essential to understand a certain part of a textbook. For instance, in biology subjects, you have to be familiar with the basics of the human body to learn and understand complex features like cardiovascular systems. Therefore, if you are going to read about a difficult topic, you should make sure you have the essential prior knowledge about the subject.
Tips to Follow While Reading
Textbook reading can become much more productive and effective by following these tips:
Analyze the Main Idea
Every section or chapter of a textbook has a primary idea. You can understand it from the title of the chapter or by focusing on the first few sentences of the section. Being familiar with the main idea is important to prepare yourself mentally for what to expect from the chapter.
Taking notes after you read an entire section is useful in remembering important information. Keep these notes brief so that you can quickly revise them at a later stage. Moreover, focus on the main ideas in the notes. You can also turn the major headings of the chapters into questions to get a clearer idea about the subject being discussed.
Skimming and Making Questions
Skimming through the text, especially if you have read it before, is useful in learning more concepts in minimum time. It becomes even more important when you are preparing for a test or exam.
You should also write down questions in this process so that you have knowledge about all of the important concepts of the chapter. Create separate notes for the questions and answers to easily revise these topics before an exam.
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Tips to Follow After Reading
There are certain things that you can do after reading to maximize the benefits of textbook reading.
Revisit the Chapter
Re-reading a chapter with more focus on the main concepts is a useful way of remembering critical information.
Create Concept Map
Once you have read a chapter or a certain section of the textbook, you should organize your thoughts by generating an outline or a concept mind map to cover all of the important information. Ideally, you should do it from your memory without looking at the textbook. However, if you forget something like a date of a historical event, it is better to check the textbook instead of making the wrong notes.
Creating flashcards is a very common and effective method of noting down vital terms, dates, and terminologies from the textbook. These flashcards will be a great help to you before the exams and tests.