Reading the Books on Your Reading List

Do you really have to read every book from cover to cover? Here are some tips on how to take the best from each text and essential things to remember when taking notes.

You have been given your reading list for a lecture series or seminar course and you may be wondering how it is possible to read so much in such a short time. Don’t worry, there is a method to reading academic texts and articles and a set of skills that will help you make the best of your reading and learn what you need for your course. The one thing you should not attempt is to sit down and read every word of each book and then make notes afterwards. I have read many exciting academic books but if you read a text in this manner that is so packed with detail and which probably contains quite a bit of vocabulary, terminology, and ideas that are new to you then you will not absorb much and the notes you make afterwards will hardly be ordered in a manner that facilitates understanding and remembering. That is in fact a passive reading habit. Far more effective is an active and directed reading that begins with questions and interacts with the text.

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