The University of San Francisco: Learning and Writing Center

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Conquering College Reading

Do you remember how excited you were when you learned to read?  When the alphabet started to form words and words formed sentences and sentences formed paragraphs and paragraphs formed chapters and ohhh it was so exciting. Well, now you are in college and reading can mean a lot of different things.

Mastering the Skill of Reading: Think proficient and college reading is a huge skill to master. For example, reading for a lit class is going to be a whole lot different than reading for a sociology class. Let’s go over a few do’s and don’t that will help you success in college reading.

Do: Know your reading abilities. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What subjects engage you the most?

Don’t: Don’t read for speed. It is much better if you read proficiently and correctly than it is to get it out of the way quickly.

Do: Pay attention to what type of reading you are doing. For example, are you doing a lit review or are you doing a research paper? That will determine what kind of reading you need to do.

Don’t: Sometimes everything seems important but try not to highlight everything you read. Have your pens readily accessible as well as your highlighters, but try to really focus on what is important.

Do: Mark up only what is important. In addition, have a dictionary nearby in case you need to look up words.

Don’t: Don’t get distracted by electronics. It is easy to get distracted but use them to take breaks when you need to. It is better to stay focused on what you are working on.

Do: Read in a time and space that is conducive to your reading. Meaning, find a space in a coffee shop, at your desk, at a park that is really going to help you focus on getting things done.

Don’t: Try not just to rewrite the author’s words. Instead, formulate in your own sentences. When summarizing, it is crucial to paraphrase and also rephrase what the author has already said. This will also help you to comprehend the information more adequately.

Do: Understand that learning in college takes time and practice. Through utilizing these skills and finding what works for you, your reading skills will definitely improve.

Happy reading!