This page is about strategic reading - also known as "how to read textbooks effectively". The next page gives information on reading literature
There are three main types of reading that you will use, and each one has a different purpose.
So what are they?
Study readingStudy reading
is what most students consider "textbook reading". This is the type of reading you use when reading a difficult text, or something where you must fully understand everything.
When reading in this style, read more slowly than normal. As you read, make notes for yourself and pose questions such as:
- Do you agree with what the author is saying? (Why, or why not?)
- Is any part of the text biased?
- Do you believe what the author is saying?
- Are any concepts or words new to you?
You might find it helpful to write down these questions, and try to find the answers as you continue reading.
You will probably need to read the material at least twice. The first time is to get a general overview of the material, the writing style and the ideas; the second time is for understanding and to find the subtleties.
is the type of reading you use when quickly trying to get the general idea. You will skim-read when trying to read a large amount of material in a short period of time, or when trying to get a quick overview.
If you're trying to find useful information in the library, for instance, you won't have time to fully read each article or book that might be relevant - you skim them, looking for key words, phrases or ideas. Don't use this if you need detailed or in-depth information!
(Read more on skimming here.)
is used to find a specific piece of information, as quickly as possible; for example, you're reading a history text and you need to find the date of a major event.
Since you know exactly what you're looking for, you can sweep your gaze across the text and train your eyes to only focus on the key word.
It takes a little practice to really get up to speed, but once you've got the knack you'll find that the right words seem to jump out of the page! This is great for finding nuggets of information in other books, but
not so good for finding tentative links.