The most appropriate technique will vary according to the purpose of your reading:
- predicting the text - bringing to mind all the information you already know about the subject and relating this information to the text you're reading
- sampling - reading short parts of a longer text (first and last lines of a section/paragraph) to get a feel for the text and what it's about
- scanning - fast reading technique for locating specific information within text
- skimming - fast reading technique, taking in headings, keywords, diagrams & illustrations to get an overview of the text and assessing its usefulness
- critical reading - once you've established that the text is relevant, read critically and in-depth to get a full understanding of the text -include note-taking and referencing.
Keep the purpose of the reading at the front of your mind, and:
- be selective and evaluate your reading material
- set manageable targets for your reading, e.g. one section at a time, particularly if the material is information rich
- after each section, try to recall what you have read
- highlight or underline important points during first reading
- make notes in the margin - i.e. observations & questions arising from your response to the text.
Reading critically helps develop independent thinking and reasoned argument. Ask yourself:
- who is the author-
- what's the purpose and viewpoint of the text-
- what evidence is provided for the arguments-
- are there other perspectives-
- are there points missing-
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