In this chapter you will learn about how to become an active reader and note taker. We will identify some strategies and best practices to help you work smarter, not harder.
By the end of this chapter you should be able to:
- Identify the type of things you will need to read in college
- Define the active reading process
- Learn about various note taking styles to identify what might work for you
- Recognize that you may need to adapt how you read and take notes depending on the purpose and format
- Identify skills and strategies to create notes that are effective study tools
- Reflect on your own note taking and study skills to identify areas of improvement
- Identify resources that can help you take responsibility for developing your note taking and reading skills.
- Recognize how academic success connects to career success
Work Smarter, Not Harder
As a college student, you have a lot to read both online and in print. For example:
policies, course outlines, job offers, exam schedules, test questions, multiple choice answers, textbook chapters, announcement boards, assignment instructions, PowerPoint slides, Excel spreadsheets, graphs, charts, emails, text messages, course sites, etc.
Understanding how you will use the information then helps you determine how and when to make notes that will help you be successful in understanding what you read.
Know Your Purpose
Whenever you enter a classroom, start to read a chapter, review an assignment, send an email, take notes, or start a conversation, know your purpose.
Investing two minutes thinking about your purpose (WHY you are doing this thing) will help you stay focused and make good use of your time.
- WHY you are reading/listening/talking/writing and determine
- WHAT you will do with this information.
Sometimes the answer is simple:
- I NEED to read detailed instructions of my assignment to identify due date, format for submission, requirements of the task, and where to submit to get the best grade possible.
- I NEED to take notes on the 7 step process to create a spreadsheet the professor is outlining so that I can create one for my assignment.
- I NEED to read this paragraph to identify if my in-text citations are formatted correctly.
Knowing what you need to do with the information you read will help you stay focused and help you organize the information in a way that is easy to retrieve. Rather than passively attempting to absorb new information, it is important to make conscious decisions about the methods of learning you will use (based on what you intend to do with the information), how you will select and use learning materials that are appropriate for your needs, and how persistent you will be in the learning activity.
This chapter will highlight tips to help you read with purpose and create effective notes that are effective study tools.