Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6 Reading Habits to Develop in Your First Year at Harvard

From the site:
"Critical reading—active engagement and interaction with texts—is essential to your academic success at Harvard, and to your intellectual growth. Research has shown that students who read deliberately retain more information and retain it longer. Your college reading assignments will probably be more substantial and more sophisticated than those you are used to from high school. The amount of reading will almost certainly be greater. College students rarely have the luxury of successive re-readings of material, either, given the pace of life in and out of the classroom."

"While the strategies below are (for the sake of clarity) listed sequentially, you can probably do most of them simultaneously. They may feel awkward at first, and you may have to deploy them very consciously, especially if you are not used to doing anything more than moving your eyes across the page. But they will quickly become habits, and you will notice the difference—in what you “see” in a reading, and in the confidence with which you approach your texts."

The techniques are explained in detail at the site, and include:

1. Previewing: Look “around” the text before you start reading.

2. Annotating: “Dialogue” with yourself, the author, and the issues and ideas at stake.

3. Outline, summarize, analyze: take the information apart, look at its parts, and then try to put it back together again in language that is meaningful to you.

4. Look for repetitions and patterns:

5. Contextualize: After you’ve finished reading, put the reading in perspective.

6. Compare and Contrast: Fit this text into an ongoing dialogue

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