Reading is essential to college success. But the reading you do in college is much different from the material you read for pleasure, and even from the reading assigned by your high school teachers in the past and what bosses will assign in the future. Often, the reading is too much to do in the time given, if you try to do it word by word, and professors know it. Start reading strategically to increase your understanding with these tips:
Break it up First and foremost, break up your reading into chunks that make sense. And make sure ideas, objectives, and chapters, rather than simple page numbers are the basis for your schedule. This way when you finish reading for the day you’ve actually completed the ideas presented and not simply “half” or “a quarter” of the reading.
Follow the signposts The key to skimming, following the signposts means recognizing indicator phrases like “I will argue,” or “ resulting in,” things that normally precede conclusions, evidence, or arguments. It may be a slow process at first, but with experience will come more and more speed.
Keep objectives in mind It isn’t uncommon that you sometimes get lost in your readings. You become especially interested in one part of the assigned pages and read into a little extra, maybe even look it up online. But if your objective is to learn as much as possible about the entire chapter, for example, it is important to move on and put a bookmark or sticky note in that one part for later.
Read for pleasure Even if it’s a couple news articles a week, or few opinion pieces or short stories, reading on your own will keep you exposed to different kinds of works. It will also make sure you keep your reading skills polished so that the next chunk of pages you get assigned is always a bit less scary than the last.
Take notes Write in the margins without discrimination. Anything and everything you write helps you remember pieces of the material and where they were located. Taking notes on a separate piece of paper is also a good idea for more heavy reading. And don’t confine yourself to words in your notes; use pictures, colors, and graphics to represent what you read.
Process The best way to process reading for many students is to discuss it. If you can’t do this with another student, try reading it over again a bit quicker alongside your notes.
If managing your reading is still a challenge, contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to interact with us on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube.