Reading Strategies


Text books are a major source of information in college courses.

Don't be surprised if your instructor doesn't give specific reading assignments but simply indicates the chapters to be covered on each test. It becomes your responsibility to complete the assigned reading materials.

College texts are often very time consuming to read, so plan accordingly. Complete your reading several days prior to the exam so the last few days can be spent studying.

  • Develop a reading schedule (try using our Study Schedule). You may want to read each text two or three times a week. You will remember more in shorter, more frequent study sessions.
  • As you read, ask yourself, "What is most important in this paragraph?" and then underline or highlight that information, or take notes. If you are having trouble identifying important points it may help to turn the bold type subject headings into questions and then look for the answers.
  • To help you remember what you have read, pause occasionally and mentally summarize the material you have just covered. This internal rehearsal will help you hold the information in your memory.
  • There are a number of different text reading systems. These include PQRST, SQ3R, and SQ4R. The element all of these systems have in common is that you cover the same material a number of times.
  • A good learning technique involves 3/5 index cards. Every time you come across a word in your text that might appear on a test, write the word and the phrase it is in and page number on one side of the card and the definition on the other side. Make a set of cards for each text and then always carry a set with you for quick reviews. You can also use the note cards for terms from class lectures.
  • Finally, remember that learning takes place through reinforcement and review. No one can remember a text by simply reading it once.

Reading Strategies handout (click to view + download)

Reading Strategies handout download link.