Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

Textbook Reading Strategies

Most of your classes will require you to read a textbook. Textbooks supply important information that is required to understand lectures, participate in class discussions, complete homework assignments, and succeed on tests. Clearly, then, it is important to understand and remember what you read in your textbook. Here are some very easy (but still very useful) reading strategies:

Before You Read...

  • Preview the text: Previewing allows you to quickly get an idea of what the text is about. To preview, read the title of the selection, the introduction, any headings or words in bold, and the conclusion or summary of the chapter. You might also read the first and last sentence of every paragraph. After you have done this, you should have a good idea of what the chapter or selction is about.
  • Take notes: As you preview, take notes and identify vocabulary words you do not know. If you do not understand something that you preview, you should write it down in the form of a question.

While You Read...

  • Study: the first time you read your selection, attempt to understand every part of the chapter and try to figure out how each part of the chapter fits with the whole chapter.
  • Mark/ Highlight: After you have completed your reading, go back and mark (underline or highlight) the chapter's main ideas and important details. You should also mark and write down any new vocabulary words.

After You Read...

  • Use your notes: After you've read, studied, and marked your textbook chapter, you should review any vocabulary words or questions that you wrote down while previewing the text. Look up any difficult vocabulary words in either a dictionary or the textbook's glossary (usually at the end of the textbook) and try to answer any questions that you had.

By using these simple reading strategies, you will be able to better understand and remember what you read.