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Why do I need to read my textbooks?
- Textbooks normally contain information that is relevant and important to support what you are learning in lectures and labs.
- Textbooks usually provide additional information, explanations, examples, summaries, and sample questions.
- Your professor may test you on textbook material.
How can I determine the role of the textbook in my course?
- It is important to understand the role the textbook plays in relation to the lecture material in each of your courses:
- does it duplicate the lecture material?
- supplement it?
- serve as a source of different information you will be responsible for learning?
- Review the course outline to determine how the textbook relates to the course objectives, lectures, labs, seminars, and assignments.
- Choose strategies for reading and taking notes from your textbook that are consistent with the role it plays in the course.
- Find out all you can about if/how you will be tested on the textbook material.
What are some strategies for reading textbooks?
- Create a dialogue with the author(s) – ask questions as you read and make note of anything you don’t understand.
- Use prior knowledge to predict what will come next.
- Monitor your comprehension. Many textbooks have summary questions or learning objectives built in. Assess your comprehension by answering these questions.
- Pay special attention to diagrams and charts. Study them closely to determine their purpose.
- When you need to master the material in your textbook, try a method like SQ4R.
Should I highlight my textbook?
- The best method for studying your textbook is one that is consistent with the amount of information and level of detail the instructor expects you to glean from the text.
- Though highlighting is a common method for studying textbooks, it is very easy to highlight poorly, making you think you’ve processed and learned the material when you haven’t.
- Most students highlight too much: experts say highlight 10-15% of the content while students usually highlight 70-80%.
- Because only fragments of sentences are highlighted, when you study the highlighted sections you end up reading the whole sentence for context and then re-read much of the book.
- It’s difficult to integrate content from lecture notes with textbook content.
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