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Lesson #10 - Textbook Reading, Part 1
In the next two lessons you will learn text reading skills that you can use to learn more as you study. Reading well leads to greater understanding of main points and may be the most important skill for success in school. Good reading is also important for success in nearly every other activity.
We will begin by looking at the special challenges you face when reading textbooks. First, you must understand the main points made by authors. Sometimes main points are very clear; but, often authors do not state main points clearly. So, it is sometimes difficult to find main points.
Second, you must relate these main points to details. Main points usually state important ideas, themes, or beliefs. The details present the evidence or support which convinces readers that the main point is believable.
Third, you must relate main points to each other. Some main points are more important than others. Your job is to decide which are the most important ideas.
Finally, you must make sure that you understand and remember everything the author
says. You must make the material make sense even when the author does not do a very
good job of writing.
You should read systematically using the STUDY SMART approach.
The first step is to Prepare to read. Here are three ways you can Prepare.
The purposes for reading preparation are: to drive out distractions and to build on knowledge you already have. When reading, you want to predict what you will read and need to know. This will help you learn more, learn it faster, and be more interested.
Often students are amazed at how much they can learn with a brief survey of a chapter. After you have finished using your three preparation skills, you should "feel" ready to read. To check to see if you are ready to read, ask yourself the questions below:
If the answer to any of these questions is, "I don't have any idea?" then you may not be well prepared. Remember, you are predicting. A prediction is a guess, and you could be wrong.
As you actually read, you will want to test your predictions. When you are wrong, you want to change. It is okay to be wrong; in fact, if you find you were wrong, it is one sign that you are reading well.
Q: How can you get started?
Get a textbook and, for one chapter, do each of the preparation skills. First, reflect, then read introductions and summaries, and finally survey topic markers. For that chapter, answer the questions below. Do this without actively reading to see how much you can learn from preparation only.
Here are the questions (you can use Form 10.1 to answer these questions):
Finally, try this with several textbooks from different subjects.