Improve Your Academic Reading Skills
If the following statement accurately describes you, then you may find online study a good fit. If not, you should speak with an adviser before enrolling.
- I understand the main ideas and important issues of readings without guidance from the instructor. For example, I can read for comprehension without guided questions from the instructor.
Use the following strategies before, during, and after you read to become a better academic reader:
- Set a purpose for your reading. Consider how you will approach any reading assigned for your course and what you hope to gain from it. What are you being asked to learn, and how much information will you need to remember? Is it new information, or are you reading to review?
- Survey the reading. Skim through the reading assignment and look for main headings, subheadings, bold terms, illustrations, charts or graphs, and lists of items. Previewing the reading gives you a better understanding of the types of information included and where to find it.
- Take your time. Focus on the material to make sure you understand what you are reading. Read every word, highlight and underline information, and take notes. Think about what you have read as you go and try to apply it to an assignment or real-life situation.
- Try to find the main idea. Learn to look for the main idea in any passage you are reading. Once you know the main idea (or ideas), you can mentally organize all of the terms, examples, and explanations you read under it.
- Look for signal words and context clues. Signal words such as "first," "second," and "third" or "furthermore" clue you in to what you've already read, what you'll soon read, and what you need to remember. Context clues can help you figure out the meaning of a paragraph or unknown word.
- Try not to simply re-read, instead quiz yourself over what you read and check your answers against the text. Look over your notes, read any questions at the end of the chapter, try to summarize the major ideas in your head, and consider making flashcards of vocabulary words or key terms if the course does not already provide them.
For More Help
- "The Learning Center" at the Student Success Center can help you further develop your critical reading skills.