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Reading

Improve your Reading

As a student, much of your time will be spent reading. The amount of material you are expected to read can be large, so you will often experience, that you don´t have the needed time to read it all in depth. That why considering your reasons for reading the material and adjusting the intensity of your reading technique accordingly can help you to study more effectively.

Do you read to learn something, that you have an interest in? Or do you read because you must in order to pass the exam? The two questions represent different mindsets – intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. It is always a good idea to try and find an inner motivation, because it can help you to create purpose, value and action in your studying process. Read more on motivation.

Learn more about reading

Before you begin reading

Your textbooks can cover a lot of complicated or highly technical information. Simply reading your texts will not be enough for you to retain the information. Setting a purpose for reading can help you stay focused and engaged while reading. When you have a mission for your reading, it will support you in comprehending and remembering the things you read. In the following you can see two questions, that are essential to ask you self before you start to process a text: 

What do you want from this text?

It can be useful to relate the text you are reading to the rest of the syllabus. Is this a key text in the course, or is it secondary? It can be  hard to say exactly what you want from a text, but consider if you need to learn all the concepts and theories, or if you only need to know the main points? You can also think of how you are supposed to be able to use the text at your exam. Is it important for you to understand the entire argumentation, or are you only going to use parts of the text? It can be helpful to ask your lecturer how you are expected to use the text. Do not be afraid to ask - it shows that you are interested and involved in the course.

What type of text are you reading?

The course syllabus often consists of various types of texts (textbooks, case studies, research articles, or technical reports). The structure and content will vary, depending on the type of text (genre). Aside from genre, ou should also consider how the text relates to your field of studies, and whether it is a fundamental text in your area, or if it presents new perspectives.

Focus your reading

When you are reading, it is important to have a good setting, to help you stay focused. Here are a few helpful tips to consider for reading:

  • Remember the purpose of your reading
  • Set aside time to read - decide on how long you will read
  • Remember to take well-deserved breaks and clear your mind
  • Drink water
  • Read in a quiet atmosphere
  • Consider taking notes while you are reading
  • Avoid distractions (turn off the TV and Facebook, and do not check your mobile phone all the time)

Exercises

Different ways of reading schedule

Five different types of reading

Try this exercise to test different ways of reading.

Open book

Reading card

Try this exercise to avoid reading the text over and over again.