Learning From Textbooks
Individuals spend a good deal of time reading throughout their lives. They read for enjoyment, relaxation, or knowledge. As a result, they often read differently depending on the purpose(s) for reading. For example, students do not read a college textbook the same way they read popular magazines or best sellers. Have you ever watched people read a magazine? How often do you see them underlining or taking notes on what they read? For the most part, these individuals do not care about how much they remember because they do not expect to be tested on the material. Yet, because of their interest in the material, they often remember a great deal of what they read.
College students are expected to read and remember material in courses whether or not they are interested in the content or believe it has any relevance to their future occupational goals. Success in different courses depends on learning to use effective reading strategies for a variety of college textbooks.
Do you enjoy making checks on "To Do" lists after completing reading assignments? The checks tell you that you completed the assignment, but do not tell you how much you learned or remembered. You may have completed your readings but cannot recall much of the information you read a short time ago. In fact, you may have forgotten much of what you read by the time you finished reading the assignment.
What else do you do beyond simply reading a textbook? Do you ask yourself questions about what you have read? Do you attempt to summarize the author's main points? How do you know that you have identified the main ideas in a chapter? What strategies do you use to remember what you read?