Critical Reading Skills to Retain Information for Assignments

When reading each chapter of your textbook and other scholarly articles for papers, make sure to read the introduction to the chapter or article first.  Find a statement that captures the author’s main point or thesis in the introduction. Then, after you have grasped the overall argument, or the author’s predominant stand point of the article, read the rest  of the chapter looking for the concepts that explain the main point of the reading. Underline or highlight all terms that are in bold, or are italicized. Then, look for any words that are defined or are connected to a greater meaning, theme, or process explained in the chapter that are not in bold and are not italicized. Underline or highlight any key terms that you find that identify the main points in each paragraph.

Look for a central argument or theme within each paragraph and ask yourself questions about the overall meaning of each paragraph to annotate the article or chapter with questions you have of the material or comments about the meaning in the margins. Ask yourself questions depending on the subject matter. You can ask how does the author explain processes and prove their theories? Are their ideas feasible based on the evidence? What type of evidence do they give? Look for ways to connect their ideas and evidence together within the chapter and others as the term progresses to retain the information for tests, quizzes, and other assignments. Are there ideas, themes, patterns, and processes that connect
together throughout each paragraph? Why is this important when defining the author’s main idea or concept they are discussing? Ask yourself, what is the overall goal the author is trying to achieve based on
the central theme, pattern, or argument they are making depending on the subject matter you are reading? After you have annotated the readings in the margins with your questions, answer your
questions with the material  you have read, or find outside scholarly material to help you answer your questions or elaborate more in detail on your comments about the main points in the chapter in another notebook or journal.

In order to make sure you can retain the information in each chapter, after you finish reading each section within the chapter, close your book and summarize the main ideas in each section in your own words. Write this out on a separate sheet of paper. After doing this for each section of the chapter, check your work with the textbook. Also, after completing homework, review the homework questions by summarizing your answers to make sure you have retained the information you learned from doing the homework. When it gets time to take tests, summarize the main ideas in the readings and test yourself with questions that you made while annotating. When listening to in class lectures, look for the pages your teacher is getting the information from and make note of it while writing notes in class. Underline the ideas in the text your teacher discusses when you have time, but more importantly write down what they are going over in class, and then when you get home underline the terms and ideas they went over in the book to review.


About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.
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