Reading a Textbook Well
How to Read Smarter, not Harder
When reading a school textbook, a fluent reader will:
1. Survey all the titles, headings, vocabulary terms, tables, and questions because he knows that those things hold big clues about the overall purpose and meaning of the text.
2. Read quickly but carefully, guessing at new words, but not racing to the end or skipping large chunks of text. He reads as fast he can comprehend.
3. Decelerate during what feels like an important section of text.
4. Ask questions about each section: “What was that all about?” and “What new things am I learning here?” If he can’t answer, then he goes back to re-read the confusing parts.
5. Answer with great care the questions that go with the text.
- Study each question very carefully, even more carefully than he reads the text. If he does not understand the question, he asks the teacher or somebody else for help.
- Use context to form his answers. He does not just find the key word in the text and grab a few words next to it. He reads the sentences before and after the key word.
- Paraphrase answers. He puts answers in own words, rather than just copying exactly what the book says.
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