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  • How many times have you read a section of a book or a journal article and couldn’t remember a single thing about it?

  • Reading academic material is different from casual reading, like reading a novel or magazine article.

  • The process for digesting academic readings takes more time and effort

  • because books and journal articles have complex or technical language and can be substantial in length.

  • In fact, researchers have studied effective reading techniques and one method is known as SQ4R.

  • There are several parts of this technique that will help you learn how to read academic material and understand what you read.

  • In this tutorial, we'll go through each of these steps

  • and, though you don't have to remember this specific technique or follow every step,

  • it's helpful to incorporate some of these steps into how you process the information you read.

  • First, survey the reading material to determine how the information is organized and how much of the topic is covered in that one source.

  • For books, take about a minute to scan the table of contents and any headings and subheadings of chapters

  • that seem particularly relevant to that week's assignment, lesson, or a topic you're researching.

  • For textbooks, survey the introduction and conclusion paragraphs of a chapter.

  • Briefly scan graphs, charts, images, and skim their descriptive captions.

  • This will help you put the information into context and make sense of the body of text when you read through it later.

  • For journal articles, survey the abstract (the summary), the introduction, and the conclusion

  • before diving into the research methodology, charts, graphs, and data, that will go into more details about the research.

  • As you survey the information, turn each heading and subheading into a question.

  • Ask yourself what you already know about those topics.

  • Even if you don’t know much, this helps your brain associate new information

  • with the information you already know about the topic and it becomes easier to remember.

  • It's only after surveying the information and brainstorming questions that you should begin to actually read the text.

  • Read one section of the text at a time, and refer back to your questions as you read to actively search for the answers in the text.

  • As you read, write down definitions, details, facts, explanations of concepts mentioned, or answers to the questions you'd come up with earlier.

  • Be as brief as possible: use single words or short phrases in the place of sentences, when it makes sense.

  • When you finish each paragraph or section read your notes out loud to yourself.

  • Imagine you're explaining what you've just read to a small child.

  • How would you simplify or summarize the information to make it comprehensible?

  • By vocalizing the concept you've just read, you'll make more associations in your brain about what you already know

  • and what you are reading. This helps you to retain the information for use later.

  • After you finish a few paragraphs or sections, look back at your original questions and make sure you can answer them.

  • If you have trouble, consult your notes, or go back and re-read that paragraph or section again until you are confident that you know the information.

  • Move on to the next paragraph or section only after you feel that you can effectively recite or explain the information you've just read.

  • This process may seem like a lot of work, but if you incorporate these steps, you'll save time by retaining more of what you read.

  • If you are struggling with the reading or need help, talk to your faculty member or set up a study session with a classmate.

  • Reviewing your notes or reciting material with another member of the class is a great way to make sure the information sinks in.

How many times have you read a section of a book or a journal article and couldn’t remember a single thing about it?

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Effective Reading

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/02/05
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