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Reading Textbooks

Tips for reading and retaining information from textbooks.
Teaching Strategies:
Grades:
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Updated on: July 10, 2000

Reading Textbooks

Active reading for learning is very different from passive reading for pleasure. Expect to read more slowly and carefully when you are reading material you will be expected to understand and remember later.

  1. Get a general idea of what the reading is about.

    • Read the introduction, headings and subheadings.
    • Read any paragraphs that summarize the content.
    • Look at any illustrations or graphs and charts and read the captions.

  2. Go back and read the chapter or section carefully. Look for the main ideas.

  3. Look up in a dictionary any words that are unfamiliar to you.

  4. Periodically stop reading and try to remember what you have just read.

    • What are the main ideas?
    • What evidence or examples does the author give to support the main ideas?

  5. Once you have finished reading, pretend you are teaching somebody about the material you have just read. Try to explain out loud and in your own words what the reading was about.

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