Reading difficult material can be a matter of concentration or of
simply organizing the challenge into steps:
Choose a moderate amount of material or a chapter to begin
Get a grasp of how the material is organized:
Scan the section for titles, headings, sub-headings, and topic sentences to
get its general idea; pay attention to graphs, charts, and diagrams
If there is a summary at the end of a chapter, read it.
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
As you read, practice the look-away method:
Periodically look away from the text and ask yourself a stimulus
question relating to the text
Phrase the question positively!
Respond, or restate, in your own words
Make connections and associations, but don't use this
exercise to memorize--but rather understand
Look up words Look up words whose
meanings are important to your understanding of the material,
but you cannot discern from the context.
Read to the end 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
Pay attention to relationships between ideas.
Do not confine yourself to words! Use representations,
graphics, pictures, colors, even movement to visualize and connect ideas.
Use whatever techniques work to help you understand
At this point, if you do not understand your reading, do not panic!
Set it aside, and read it again the next day. If necessary, repeat. This
allows your brain to process the material, even while you sleep. This is
referred to as distributed reading.
Re-read the section you have chosen with the framework
(outline or concept map) you have constructed in mind Separate
out what you do understand from what you do not.
If the reading is still a challenge, consult with
either your teacher, academic counselors, or reading specialists.
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