Brescia | Student Life Centre Blog

Textbook Reading 101

Hi Everyone!

If you are anything like me….you struggle with textbook readings.

How do you read a textbook? What is the important information to pull from a textbook reading? What is going to be on the exam?! How am I suppose to get through 30+ pages in one night?

These are all questions I ask myself every time I pick up a textbook to do a reading. I needed answers to some of these questions so I did a little research for myself that I wanted to share with you all.

Stack of Textbooks

Here are 3 tips I have come across that should be helpful for everyone:

1. Don’t always read a textbook “front” to “back” – What this means is don’t ALWAYS start at the beginning of the chapter and end at the back of the chapter. Go a little crazy….read backwards….just kidding. But seriously, a good tip is to start at the chapter summary found at the back of the textbook. Why not read what the summary of the chapter is to give you some ideas of what is ahead. When you know what the chapter will be about your brain will start to remember key ideas.

2. Read for Big Ideas & Key Details – As you will see in tip 3, you will not be able to absorb every detail (and lets face it…textbooks are detailed). Pull out big ideas and then decide what is important within all the information surrounding that big idea. Tip: Big ideas are usually easy to spot because they are in bold or a section heading (Keep an eye out for this!).

3. Read the chapter once, but read your notes multiple times – Yes this means you must make notes on the chapter. Your brain will not be able to retain the information you read in an entire chapter so you have to take notes. This will allow you to be able to summarize the chapter in your own words and then you can re-visit your notes many times. This is a #1 for me. I make notes and I study them…then study them some more.

I hope these tips can help relieve some of your textbook reading frustrations.

Also, remember attending lecture is a great way to determine what is important within the readings. This does not always work…but if a professor spends a large amount of time on a topic found in the textbook…it is often important!

Happy reading everyone,



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