Reading strategies – tips

Reading in an academic context means that you are expected to read in an active, or reflective, manner. In other words, you are expected to engage with what you read and ask questions. Below, you will find some tips to help you read in an active manner.

Think of the reading process as a three-step process:before, during, and after

Before: Consider what the purpose of your reading this particular text is. What is it that you hope to get out of it? Try to get an overview of the text by reading the tables of contents, subheadings, captions, and looking at the illustrations. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you think this text is going to be about?
  • What do you expect to learn from this text?

By familiarizing yourself with the text this way, you will make it easier for yourself to read reflectively, and also to remember what you have read afterwards.

Consider which parts of the text to read carefully (deep reading) and which parts you could skim (surface reading).

During: When you readthe text, ask yourself questions and actively search for answers in the text. Some examples of questions you could ask are:

  • What is the aim of this text?
  • What is the main argument of the text?
  • How is this argument supported?
  • How is this text similar and/or different from other texts I have read on the same topic?

Take notes whilereading and make sure you use your own words in your notes.

After: Try to remember what the text was about. Consider what was difficult. Look up this particular thing. Were there words or concepts that seemed important? Do you know what they mean? If not, look them up. Over the next few days, try to remember what the article was about. Ask yourself what the aim and main argument of the article was. Try to formulate this with your own words before you look at your notes. 

Last modified: 2021-04-16