Effective Reading Primer©
Reading for Effective Retention
An Adaptive Framework for Successful LearningAuthor: ~Virginia Benedict
Publisher: OnSocial Media™: Minds Under Construction Project
Series: Effective Learning Strategies Series©
Making Light of Dry Reading
Reading for a class? …or reading to maintain a certification? Are you a self-learner?
Regardless what the motivation or need driving your commitment to learn, the end goal is always the same; we read to understand and retain the subject matter before us.
Whether the reading is a requirement for a course or because you are a self-learner, the goal is always the same. You need to understand, retain, and be able to interpret the text in your own words. Until and unless you are able to describe the concept or method in your own words, you may or may not have fully understood the material; hence, you will likely forget what you read.
We are not talking about reading a novel or a sci-fi odyssey, which we read for entertainment and suspense thus never seem to have trouble remembering and recapitulating the story. We are here to discuss how to effectively understand, absorb, and retain the information presented by Textbook author(s).
Joining or organizing study groups is great and highly recommended but you still have to learn how to learn on your own before you can be successful participating or leading an in-group learning setting. You still have to do the reading on your own.
Do Not Attempt to Memorize this Primer from the Gate.
Perform a Brief Read-Through Then Read it for Reference
Anyone interested in reading for success | Nursery through Graduate Students | Self Learners | Parents Reading Nursery books to their toddlers and wishing to create an interactive experience | Professional Development students of all ages and degrees | anyone interested in learning regardless of age
How To Read This Primer
You may read it sequentially from beginning to end; or you may choose to read in order of preference; or simply reading the areas that catch your interest. Make note of any thought that come to mind
Types of Reading
Matriculating with A Full Load?
We all know how daunting the first couple of weeks of classes can be at the beginning of a semester. The syllabus for each course prescribes one or more required text, recommended reading, and optional reading for extracurricular efforts. If we do not take control and reign in our reading during the first two weeks, we face the risks of poor class performance or worse having to cram brute-force style.Registered for a Boot Camp?
Boot camps are super compressed crash courses usually lasting five days and each day eight or more hours long. These course formats are pressure ridden for most of us because one can get information overload while attempting to absorb and create a knowledge base from the required material.
Boot Camps can be introductory in nature or simply taken to brush up before taking a Certification exam. Usually each day and at the end of the camp you are required to take exams to prepare you for the big day.
You will be required to follow along reading and the text book(s) can be technical, dry, and complex
Reading for Success
Take a Deep Breath | Relax | Put Yourself in Neutral
The following is a systematic guide for how to succeed in fully, effortlessly comprehend, and retain the knowledge presented in a text or manuscript and enjoy the process.
Never Attempt Brute-Force Learning
Know Your Intuitive Learning Style
You have an intuitive native learning style usually strengthen by life early childhood development and life experiences. Identify which of your learning styles is your intuitive one. Learning styles are associated with the depth of our sensory perceptions.
What Kind of Learner Are You?
It is important that you understand what learning style is intuitive for you. No matter what your learning style is this exercise will help you understand and master the content. An excellent textbook is written with you in mind regardless of you learning style(s).
Types of Learning Styles
You can identify your learning styles through self-observation. If you simply find yourself able to retain more information through listening to audio then supplementing it with reading or vice verse, for example, your learning style is auditory or mixed.
It is a Trial and Error Process
You will have to observe what methods of learning you enjoy the most while you are actually studying.
Follow Your Instincts
You may like taking notes while you are reading. Alternatively, you may simply like highlighting along. If you are highlighting, make sure that you understand the content you are highlighting before you continue.
Types Of Books
Electronic vs Hard Copy Formats
Although, I primarily find the electronic versions more facilitating of my learning process, I usually like to own both an electronic copy and a physical copy of a book whenever possible. The electronic copy will be easiest to navigate, highlight, add comments, and review.[ii]
There are many genres of books authored for the purpose of teaching and/or simply sharing knowledge.
Assess the Type
The following is a partial list:
- Text Books
- Step-by-Step Guides
- Reference Guides
Anatomy of a Book
Regardless of its genre, an excellent book will address most or all of the following areas:
- Contents at a Glance
a. Guide for how to read this book
- Body of Work
b. Introductions to each Chapter
i. What you will be learning
ii. What you have learned
c. Chapter Summaries
- Appendix (ces)
- About the Author(s)
If the work omits important areas such as i) Chapter Summaries, and ii) what you have learned, I suggest that you create them for yourself once you have fully engaged in the actual reading of each chapter during the course assignments.
Where to Begin
Know the Author(s)!1. As soon as you receive your course syllabus begin to learn about the authors
2. Understand whom the main author(s) is/are. Learning about his/her academic, professional, literary experience, and background interests will help you understand his literary language with more ease.
How is the Book Structured?
3. Outstanding books are written with you in mind regardless of your learning style
The following exercise should not take you more than ninety more or less
4. Examine the book by reading the back and front covers inside and out
5. Perform a swift assessment of how the content is organized and begin to weigh how the content is delivered by intently browsing the Contents pages. A great book will have a “Contents at a Glance” and a detailed “Contents” area
a. It is not important that you attempt to consciously memorize anything at this point
b. As you browse around, highlight and/or comment on anything i) that catches your eyes, ii) creates an interest, or iii) triggers a thought that comes to mind.
c. PDF files beginning with Adobe Reader 10 allows you to add Sticky Notes on the margins. You can add a quick phrase or keywords to help you remember your thoughts. MS Word files allow you to => INSERT => Comment
a. the Index
c. The Introduction
Move Into the Guts of the Content
d. If the chapters have i) a chapter at a glance, ii) an introduction, iii) a conclusion, and iv) questions, browse them attentively
e. Examine the figures and illustrations
A Dynamic and Adaptive Frame of Reference
Now that you have created a mental and written framework with notes that, you can go back to when you actually begin to complete your course assignments, review them before midterms and before finals; you are prepared to take the course and succeed effortlessly. (See Appendix B for suggestion on how to organize your schedule.)
As you begin to actually study, you will attack each assigned chapter step-by-step in order of precedence (if applicable) by
1. Reading the Chapter-at-a-Glance
2. Chapter Introduction
3. Then you will read the Conclusion
5. Delve into the chapter itself
6. Complete the assigned exercises and/or answer the questions
Follow this Methodology for Each Assigned Chapter
In fact, even though I built this framework and designed its primer to support any learning style, you should feel free to modify any segment of this process to compliment your personality. If you do modify it, please feel free to share your best learning practices here or contact me directly and I will publish it with your consent and give you full billing.
Organizing Your LibrarySuggested Recommendations for organizing your Libraries in order of precedence:
(Indexed by keywords, topics, titles, and author)
Hard Copies Library
Desk Reference Shelf
Office Library Shelf
Reference Library Shelf
Tools of the Trade
Microsoft Office Project
Most students today are enrolled in an official work-study program or work and while attending school. Whatever the situation, you must manage your time effectively to prevent overload and possible failure.
I suggest Using MS Office Project to manage your work and course load. Microsoft© offers free online courses for just about every Office Application. Additionally, when you install MS Office you will have access to Help which contain videos and step-by-steps and how-to’s.
Microsoft Office Visio
This tool will help you create diagrams, figures, organizational charts, use cases, etc. of any method, procedure, or concept you wish to illustrate in your own logic.
[i] Refer to my white paper on “Organizing a Study Group”, OnSocial Media™: Minds Under Construction Project 2014©
[ii] I recommend that you read the article I wrote titled “Book Reviews Best Practices”, OnSocial Media™ Minds Under Construction Project 2013©
To find out more about the OnSocial Media™ Minds Under Construction Project - Please visit onsocialmedia.org or you may contact me through Linkedin or G+
Comments | Constructive Feedback | Arguments | Additions | Corrections are all welcome!
As always, Thank You for taking the time to read my work. I hope that you have been able to derive knowledge as a result of my efforts.
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