What reading methods should students use?
Students need not only effective study strategies but also correct reading methods. Most students may think that reading is simply scanning notes through the end of the chapter. This is the biggest mistake that a student can commit thinking that reading academic books is like reading a novel or any literary materials.
Reading academic books requires focus and undivided attention. You need to dig deep to understand the concepts. Just like eating a beef steak, you need to chew it thoroughly before you can appreciate the taste.
Reading novels is far simpler than reading academic materials. Reading novels does not require concept examination because the very interest of the reader is the plots of the story.
So what are the best reading methods? Most experts suggest the SQ3R as the best one. The acronym stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Recall. Let’s discuss it one by one.
In this stage, your intention is to make yourself familiarized with the content of chapter or book you are assigned to read. Take a look at the outline, the objectives, the opening questions provided by the author.
Next step is to examine the tables, graphs, and images for you to get an idea what you are about to learn.
And lastly, read the chapter’s summary if there is one.
After getting an idea what the chapter is all about, it is time to read the first section. Just the first section (Do not be too eager to read the whole chapter). Then try to formulate a question based on the header of the section.
The question that you may form will, of course, depends on the title and content of the section. This process allows you to remember the content more easily later on.
After making a question, you can now continue reading the whole chapter. As you go along, you will notice that you are not only reading, you are also answering the question.
As you read, it is very important that you also take notes. Many students, while reading, tend to highlight their books. Because they think that highlighting helps them remember the content.
But the truth is, highlighting does not help the memorization or the retrieval process. Why? Because it does not involve cognitive process – there’s no mental effort in highlighting words.
The best thing you want to do while reading is jotting down notes. Unlike highlighting, writing your own notes requires mental effort. This process helps you understand the material deeply and makes the retrieval easier.
It may sound funny and unnecessary, but reciting out loud what you have remembered from what you have read is an effective way of processing the material more deeply. When you recite what you’ve learned will help you determine whether or not you already fully understand the subject matter.
Believing that you already know the material is a big mistake. In fact, it happens sometimes when you thought you already know the concept but when you try to explain it to your friend you find that you did not understand it at all. So reciting can be a big help.
Now that you’ve already read the whole chapter, it is time for a brief recall. Try to remember all those that you’ve read.
The best way to do this is through answering sample quizzes at the end of the chapter if there is one. If the book does not have sample quizzes, try to find the author’s website because most book authors have websites that contain additional materials with regards to their published works.
In this process, you’ll be able to determine the areas that you missed. It will be easier to find out which part of the chapter needs more reading. And most importantly, you can maximize your time and avoid being unorganized.
There may be many reading methods available online other than this. Or, maybe you have one. What reading method you prefer the most?
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I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.