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Reading Resources: Reading Strategies

Before Reading

1. Read the front and rear jackets of the book, including information about the author. This can give you a more rounded picture of the book while reading.

2. Always read the title page, introductions, table of contents, prefaces and any notes from the author. These will help familiarize yourself with the content of the book and its origins.

3. Check to see if there is a glossary, index, or any other information at the back of the book that you can use while you are reading.

4. Read the discussion questions for the book (provided on this research guide--use the tabs above). That way you can be prepared to look for those topics/sections as you read.


5. Find the right place to read your book. Some people need complete silence while others can read in any environment. Only you know what your best reading environment is, so find it and use it! Many students like to read & study in the library, where there are both areas with some activity and areas that are designated as quiet zones (such as Individual Study Rooms and Couchman Reading Room). You might consider reading outside, in a vehicle, in an empty classroom, in a building lobby, in the Heritage Center cafe, in bed, or anywhere!

After Reading

1. After you have read the book, you may want to re-read it, or skim it again, adding to your notes and highlighting. Pay special attention to sections relevant to the discussion questions.

2. Keep all of your notes with (or in) the book so that you can go back and review it. Bring the book & these notes to your book discussions.

3. You may also want to make a list of characters and descriptions for the characters to better help you remember them.

4. If there is a confusing timeline in the book, you may want to create your own timeline on paper to help you understand the sequence of events. Choose the top ten events from the book and put them in order.


5. When you are done with the book, don’t put it down for a while! Complete any assignments for it and review your notes before any discussions or assignments.


Unless otherwise specified, suggestions here have been adapted with permission from:

Ground Rules for Reading

Here are some ground rules for reading. You don't have to do any of these, but don't be afraid to do any of the following. In fact, we encourage it!

It's okay to....

Active Reading & Annotating

Reading for discussion is very different from reading just for fun. Here are some tips for how to effectively read & prepare for your book club discussions. Remember, you own the book, so write in it!

1. Highlight, underline, or circle key information, including vocabulary you don’t understand, significant quotes, references to other literary works, or any parts of the text relating to themes, significant characters, or events.


2. While you read, use a pencil to make notes in the margins about key material. Include important terms with definitions, your own reactions, and questions you may have. You can use punctuation marks (such as stars, arrows, question marks, check marks, and brackets) to mark the text that you may want to come back to. You should come up with your own unique system to mark what you think is important, questionable, or worthy of discussion.


3. At the end of each chapter, summarize the main ideas/events in the chapter in one or two sentences.


4. Use the inside front cover of the book to keep a list of important information with page number references in the book. Some examples of what you could list here are themes, text that connects to the book’s title, important names of characters, memorable quotes, or key questions you may have about the text.

5. Use the inside back cover to make a list of key vocabulary words and definitions from the text. Choose words that are unique to the author/story/culture or advanced vocabulary.

Want to read for fun?