Episode 11

College Reading In 5

Reading Strategies & Tips

In this episode, we explore 5 strategies that will improve your critical reading skills in relation to almost any material.

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  1. When you’re reading a textbook, look for key concepts and facts. In your notes, rewrite definitions in your own words, identify why they’re important, and sketch how concepts fit together.
    • Download and practice taking notes on the textbook samples. It includes sample texts from Astronomy, Economics, History, Math, and Philosophy.
    • Compare the notes you took above with the annotated copies. What differences do you notice?
  2. For other nonfiction or “argumentative” texts, where should the focus be? And how might it help to take notes like a “detective,” “lawyer,” and “judge?”
    • Read the excerpt of George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society. Apply suggestions from the episode to get at the author’s point/main idea/central argument/thesis, as well as other supporting points and evidence.
    • Analyze the article to determine how it relates to your studies, life, and the world at large. Write down the connections you find in the margins.
    • Finally, what do you think of this argument?
    • To test, email Anthony to discuss what you found, the connections you made, and what you think about the argument!
  3. For works of creative expression like literature, poetry, and drama, what are you looking for? Sample the following articles about fiction and poetry and try applying them to what you’re reading:
  4. What advice is offered about timing your reading rate per page for course texts and why?
  5. Choose a course text or check out a book from the library and test how much you can gain from some of the previewing strategies described in this episode. Especially useful for writing papers, when you want to get an overview of a source before deciding if you want to use it or not (and you have a bunch to go through!).
  6. How do you “make it personal”, as the video suggests? What does that mean to you?
Download the exercises