Studying Effectively

Reading strategies

Reading effectively involves preparation and purpose.  Understanding how these relate to each other will help you develop your reading strategies:

  • What is the text you have to read?  Identify the reading; obtain/access a copy of it.
  • Why should you read it? Be clear about how your reading relates to the task or action you will do next e.g. is it:
    • A piece of set reading e.g. for a seminar discussion focussing on particular issues or examples
    • Material to help you carry out a task e.g. instructions
    • Background information e.g. ahead of a lecture to help you get an overview of a topic and familiarise yourself with core vocabulary
    • A text you need to read in greater detail e.g. identifying 3-5 key issues/examples for analysis in an assignment.
  • Based on the purpose of your reading for what you will do next, think about the level of detail that would be useful and appropriate to your task e.g.
    • Have you already got some information on this topic?  Or have you come across other examples? Do you really need more information to progress with your task?
    • If you are reading in preparation for writing, connect your reading to your plan – where would the information fit in or which sections would it help you write?

Other tips:

  • Take regular breaks when reading
  • Target your reading and break it into short sections so you can pause and check your progress – have you got what you need from the materials?
  • Vary the pace of your reading – sometimes you will need to scan/skim the text to pick up main points, but other times you will need to read more slowly to understand complex concepts and arguments in more detail
  • Read interactively – check if you have answered the question set, and challenge the assumptions of the writer and the quality of their evidence
  • Read the text aloud – for online resources you may want to use ‘text-to-speech’ software, such as TextHelp Read&Write which is on the UoN network.
Studying in the Trent Cafe, Trent Building, University Park


Further reading

Being organised

Preparing for assessment

Types of teaching

Preparing for your various teaching sessions e.g.

Practical strategies for reading

more from Academic Support study resources

People who can help

Talk to someone in your school or a specialist support service


Studying Effectively

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