Working With Textbooks

Just as listening to a college lecture is not the same as listening to a friend's account of a football game, reading a textbook is not the same as reading for pleasure. When you read a textbook, you are reading to acquire information. It is not enough just to read the material. You must study and learn the information so that you can apply it to future tasks in class, on exams, or at work. In this session we will discuss how to read and get the most out of your textbooks. The following topics will be discussed:

  • A system for reading and studying textbook chapters;
  • Tips on how to mark a textbook;
  • Suggestions on how to read faster.

Self Evaluation



1. Do you read a chapter straight through from beginning to end?
2. Do you usually need to read a chapter a number of times to master its content?
3. Do you underline/highlight most of each page with colored pens/highlighters?
4. Is studying a textbook chapter boring for you?
5. Do you have trouble concentrating on textbook material?
6. Is it difficult for you to remember what you've studied?
7. Are you usually unsure of how well you have mastered the textbook material for an exam?
8. Do you avoid marking your textbook because it may be hard for you to sell your book to someone else next quarter?
9. Do you read textbooks the same way you read magazines, newspapers, or novels?

If you checked yes as an answer to any of the previous questions, you should seriously consider changing the way you study textbook chapters. An alternative to your present approach is to apply a technique called SQ3R.