Reading Better and Understanding More

Learning to Think Like the Teacher
Before Reading


1. Psych yourself up!

Create interest; set goals; ask questions.

2. Use what you already know:

Review old information. Make internal and external connections.

3. Intend to remember:

Make the conscious decision to remember what you read, and monitor your performance.

4. Anticipate test questions:

Select what you need to know, and begin to think like the teacher.

5. Read

Title, headings, subheadings, outline, summary, and end of chapter questions.

6. Look

At pictures, graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.

7. Think

About what you already know, what you will need to know, and what you will need to do to learn the material.

8. Begin to formulate questions:

Ask "Do I have a clear idea of what this chapter is about?" Ask who, what, when, and where questions.

9. Set personal and textual goals:

Personal: What do you personally want to know? Textual: What does the class/teacher require you to know?

During Reading

Read and


10. Be selective based on:

What you already know

The amount of material and the way it's presented

The kind of information the text and/or the teacher stresses

The types of quizzes, exams, papers, class discussion and other "performances" you have to give

11. Create meaningful organization:

Put away your highlighters. Write, don't just underline. Remember that what you mark is for future reviewing.

12. Work on one "chunk" of the text at a time.

13. Put information into your own words whenever possible.

After Reading


14. Organize and REDUCE the information.

Take notes on your notes.

15. Put ideas - main ideas and details

Into your own words and your own format.

16. Use Rehearsal Strategies

Mapping, concept/cue cards, matrix charts.

17. Monitor your learning.

Ask yourself if you're getting your questions answered and if you understand the material.

18. Distribute your study time.

Don't plan to study for more than two hours at a time.

Adapted from Developing Textbook Thinking, Nist & Diehl, D.C. Heath, 1990.

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