Academic Coaching

Reading Strategies:

When Reading is Tough

  • Read it again. Difficult material is often easier the second time around.
  • Read it aloud. Read the passage out loud several times with different inflections. Pretend you are the author talking.
  • Stand up. Changing positions can combat fatigue. Stand as you read aloud, especially if you get stuck on a tough passage.
  • Hold a mini-review. Pause briefly to summarize. Stop at the end of the paragraph and recite in your own words what you have read.
  • Look for essential words. Cross out all the adjectives and adverbs, and read the sentence without them. Find the important word.
  • Skip around. Jump to the end of the chapter and read the summary or conclusion to get the big picture.
  • Pretend you understand, then explain it. Pretend the material is clear as a bell and try to explain it to another person, or to yourself. You may know more than you thought you did. 
  • Mark it. When you feel stuck, put and “S” for “stuck” in the margin. A pattern of marks over several pages will indicate the questions you want answered in class. 
  • Google it. Look up confusing concepts on the web and read the explanation in “user friendly” language.
  • Stop reading. Admit confusion and take a break. Allow some time to process the information. When you return, you will see it with fresh eyes.
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