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By GreatSchools Staff
1. Make sure you digest and understand what you read.
The College Board recommends the SQ3R method, which stands for "Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review." You can find information about this reading comprehension method on the College Board Web site.
2. Don't be afraid to reread what you've read.
"Understanding what you've read and knowing that you don't understand something you've read are important skills," notes Conley. He adds that it's important to realize when you don't understand something, and train yourself to go back and reread if necessary to gain the understanding. He says he is amazed at how many students don't do this.
3. Read your textbooks and course material thoroughly.
"I wish that I had tried reading some of my textbooks in high school instead of solely depending on my teachers for information," says Kimberly Wong, a recent UCLA graduate. "Sometimes in college, a lot of learning is placed on the responsibility of the students. Many times, students need to read their textbooks to learn all the material required of them since there is so little lecture and discussion time. Getting used to learning unfamiliar concepts from textbooks in college took me a while to get used to and I wish I had practiced doing that in high school."
4. Read independently. Read a variety of material.
Check this College Board list for some suggestions.
John Briggs believes it's important for students to "rediscover literature." He notes,"Students need to discover that there are books that our culture has kept as a legacy and these should not be forgotten. I think we are experiencing a 'period of forgetting.'" Many schools concentrate on exposing students to contemporary literature, which Briggs feels is a mistake. "It's like feeding fast food to someone who is starving," he says. "They deserve a nutritional diet."
Reading a variety of material helps you adjust your reading skills to different kinds of writing. For example, some writing is straightforward where another writer might have a keen sense of humor. Some writing can be read quickly while other writing requires thorough comprehension of detail. Reading a variety will also introduce you to terms that apply to certain subject areas. For example, if you are reading about music, you might learn terms like "tempo" or "cadence," and the relationship among words in a particular field.
5. Read challenging material.
Reading more difficult material will help prepare you for college admissions tests and reading college texts. Don't start out with material that is too difficult, however. For example, if you want to learn how a car engine works, start with a simplified manual with lots of pictures and work your way up to a more technical manual as your vocabulary and understanding grows.
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