Ways To Make Textbook Reading More Memorable & Fun

By Ashley Paskill on December 5, 2018

For some, reading a textbook is the preferred method for learning and retaining material for their classes. For others, reading the textbook is a chore. While some professors do not draw too much exam material from the textbook, others do and some expect you to read the textbook and come up with discussion points for class participation. If you find that reading your textbook is tedious and dreadful, here are a few tips to help you spruce up your reading and help bring the black and white text to life.

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Highlight key points

As long as you purchased your textbook or are allowed to highlight if you rented it, highlighting key facts and main points is a great way to bring out the material you need to know in a chapter. This is a great way to emphasize key information that you can use in an outline when you go back to study or look at the material again. Use different colored highlighters for keywords and main points. For example, use a pink highlighter for key points and a yellow highlighter for important events. When you go back to make an outline, read the key points out loud to help you remember what you read.

Make an outline

Take notes in your own terms. Instead of copying each word verbatim, rephrase them in language you use every day. Putting the textbook information in your own words allows you to connect with it and process it in a way that you will remember and understand. Textbook language is usually scholarly and formal. Write your notes in an informal tone. Study with classmates and recite key information back in your own words. Not only will using your own language confirm that you know it, but saying it out loud helps you remember the material.

Take notes using a pen and paper. Studies show that handwriting notes helps you remember material better than if you type it. You can always go back and type it up to reorganize, and seeing the material again will help you remember it. It has been proven that seeing material three or more times helps solidify it into your memory, so going back to it multiple times is useful and writing it in multiple places will reinforce it.

Have a conversation with the textbook. As you read, make notes of things that stand out to you or that you have questions about. As you continue, write down the answers to your questions. If you finish the chapter and your questions have not been answered, ask your professor during class, as it is likely that your classmates had the same question. Be sure you write down the answer and go back and write it in your notes and outline once you are working on homework and studying.

Create flashcards out of possible exam questions

Include the questions throughout the chapter as well as end-of-chapter questions that are featured in the book. If you have not taken a test in this class or with this professor, check with previous students to see what you can expect and how in-depth the exams get. If you know what kind of material will be on the exam based on previous exams, focus on that. Many teachers may provide a study guide for each exam, so make sure you take the time to complete it and create flashcard questions based on the topics listed in the study guide.

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Make different kinds of visuals

If you are a visual learner and are overwhelmed by the walls of writing that are in your textbook, synthesize the information into visuals. This can be in the form of tables and graphs from numbers included in the information. If you are reading a history textbook or passage, create a visual timeline of important events, which can be useful if your professor wants you to know dates. Make various infographics. There are a variety of templates online that can help you create infographics and other kinds of visuals. These platforms also allow you to share your visuals so you can share them with classmates.

Make a game out of textbook reading

Make a plan with a few classmates to read the textbook and meet up for a trivia game using information from the textbook. Have each person create a few questions and bring them to the study session. Keep track of who gets the most right and have an incentive for whoever wins. This will inspire you to read not only to make sure you get answers correct but also to think of some different questions of various difficulty levels.

If you do not end up studying with classmates, you can still have an incentive in place for reading your textbook and taking notes. For textbook reading, set a reward for every 10 pages you read. If you are rewriting notes, make an incentive for every five pages of notes you copy. Avoid using time as you may be tempted to procrastinate. Have a set amount of pages to complete before taking a break or getting your incentive will make you feel more accomplished and satisfied.

By Ashley Paskill

Uloop Writer

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