Reading Techniques

Become an effective reader with these reading techniques. Improve your student time management and become a more effective student with these reading strategies.

reading techniques Are you looking to get maximum effect for minimum effort?

Do you get to the end of the page only to find you have to re-read it again?

Are you looking to read more effectively?

Do you want to save time?

If so, these reading techniques will help you to read more effectively and make the most of your time.

Reading Strategy 1: Reading for a reason

Why are you reading this text?

Knowing the answer to this question will identify your reading goal.

Are you reading for pleasure, or is there another purpose such as learning content?

Once you know why you are reading then you can read the introduction and chapter headings to give you an overall structure of the subject you are reviewing.

Does this content structure meet your needs?

If no, then a quick scan of the document may be worthwhile.

However, if the text is a required reading for your course, or lecture notes or tutorial readings then the next two reading techniques may be useful for you.


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Reading techniques 2: The SQ3R method

The next question to ask yourself is how deeply do you have to read?

If you are reading your lecture notes, tutorial material, or required readings then you may need a deeper level of reading.

Examining the content structure of the material in reading strategy 1 is for the most shallowest of knowledge.

However, for more deeper reading I like the SQ3R reading techniques.

The SQ3R reading technique for active reading

To take advantage of memory encoding it is important that you read actively.

When you read your notes or readings, read in an active manner using the SQ3R method. SQ3R stands for:

  1. Survey. The first step is to skim the content looking at the headings and the summary.
  2. Question. This step will help you to organize the material and help you to encode the information into memory.

    Try turning the heading into a question. For example the heading "Study effectively" could be transformed into "What factors influence effective study?"

    By turning the heading into a question you make the content come alive and the reading more interesting.

  3. Read. As you read the content try to answer the questions that you have asked yourself throughout the text.
  4. Recite. Recite the answers to your questions (mentally, orally or written). By reciting the questions and answers throughout the text you embed the content into your long-term memory and enhance the recall of such information.
  5. Review. Review the questions that you have asked yourself and what you have learned from your answers to these questions. This method is known as the SQ3R method.

Reading strategy 3: Active reading

The SQ3R method is an active reading strategy.

Another reading strategy to increase active reading is to highlight and underline as I go.

By writing in the margins my ideas, questions or solutions - this helps me review and emphasize important information in the reading and possible questions to ask of tutors or lecturers.

I find that by doing this my mind is less likely to wander and is more likely to stay focused on the reading content.

I find that I often don't like doing this to books - so photocopying the text can be useful. Alternatively have a notebook that you write your notes in.

Another question I ask myself is how much my time is worth and whether active reading benefits exceed the value of an unmarked book.

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