Getting Ready to Read
Know yourself as a reader – Identify your strengths as a reader. Build an understanding of when you read with greatest retention, how long you read with good concentration, and how you read for maximum comprehension. Plan your reading assignments based on this information. If you read “best” in the early morning, it makes sense to get up a little earlier rather than to stay up a little later.
The readings are an assignment – Be clear about the importance of the reading assignment. Though there is nothing to “turn in” to the instructor, reading everything that is assigned for the week is essential to your ability to understand the content that will be discussed in class. Your goal is to be a successful learner. Reading all of the assigned material is an important step to reaching this goal.
Keep current on reading assignments – Don’t let yourself get behind on the weekly readings. There is a lot of reading to tackle each week. Pace yourself. Try to get a sense of how much time you need to complete the assigned readings. Plan daily and weekly study times. Try incorporating reading throughout your day (by spending time in the morning, at lunch, after work, and in the evening) to break up the workload and also to digest the material in smaller amounts. This technique, too, will allow you to set (and meet) smaller goals; it will also allow you to integrate the course content into your life more regularly.
Academic reading takes time – Be realistic about how much time it takes to accomplish the reading. Academic reading is a more intentional, active, and difficult type of reading. Allow plenty of time to thoughtfully and carefully read the assigned material and to take notes about the content as you read.
Set a reading schedule - Be sure to first decide what days and times reading can be completed and in the most effective way. Reading late at night may not work for everyone, especially if you find yourself nodding off between paragraphs. Find the time that works best for you and your schedule, and a time that will allow you to read for understanding. Put the times you’ve set aside for reading in your calendar and decide which readings you’ll read during those times. Try to stick with it, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to everything you’ve scheduled for yourself. Just remember to always reschedule readings you haven’t been able to get to in order to ensure that you’ve covered them all.
Organize your reading materials –Have all your readings in one place so that you don’t waste time tracking down where you left your textbook or finding where you put that article. Use your time to read, not to find what you need to read. Have your course syllabus, the activity checklist, and any reading guides you may have been given on-hand to determine exactly what you need to read for the module. Cross off each reading as you complete it. Then, pat yourself on the back and move on to another one!
Read in manageable amounts – Sitting down to tackle all of your readings at one time will likely leave your mind spinning, so decide what amount of reading seems manageable for you in the time you’ve allowed for yourself and go from there. Make small goals for yourself.
Find your reading spot - Finding a comfortable yet productive spot to read is very important. Find a spot that allows you to focus. This spot will be key to your ability to concentrate, understand, take notes, and retain the information.