Effective reading strategies are critically important in college. If your personal learning style is verbal and independent—that is, if you learn well by sitting alone and reading —then you will likely not have difficulty with your college reading. Here are effective reading strategies to help maximize your learning:

  • Underline and highlight key ideas when reading.
  • Take good notes on your reading, using your own words.
  • Write descriptions that summarize the information presented in nonverbal modes, such as through charts and graphs.
  • Do all optional and supplemental readings.
  • Take good notes in class, as you may remember more from your written words than from the instructor’s spoken words.
  • If a class involves significant nonreading learning, such as learning hands-on physical processes, study with other students who are kinesthetic or “doing” learners.

If you have a different learning style, then you may need to give more attention to your reading skills. Always allow plenty of time for reading assignments — rushing makes it harder to understand what you are reading. Do your reading at times of the day when you are most alert.

Another reading strategy that is very effective is — you should find a quiet, comfortable place conducive to reading. Try also to maximize your reading through your personal style. If you learn better by listening, for example, sit up front in lecture classes where you can see and hear the instructor better. If needed, ask if you can tape-record an instructor’s lectures and then listen again at a convenient time, such as when commuting to class or work.

If you are more of a visual learner, sit where you can see PowerPoint slides and other visual presentations most clearly. Use a visual approach in your class notes.

Check out whether video podcasts may be available for reviewing lectures. Try to relate all of these visual images to the textbook’s content when you’re reading. In addition, pay special attention to illustrations and diagrams in the book, which will further help you understand the written ideas and information.

If you are more of an interpersonal learner, form a study group with other students and talk with others about the course topics. Take advantage of your instructors’ office hours to help clarify your understanding after reading.

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