Strategies for reading short texts

by Daniel Christianson

With school in full swing, I know there are students like me who have three different reading assignments all due tomorrow. You don’t want to skim the reading, but you also feel overwhelmed with the amount that has piled up. Well you’re in luck! In this blog, I will share two reading strategies that help me engage with the reading and ultimately get more out of my assignments.

Read early, read often—reflect and retain

Often it can feel like you have to do all the reading in one sitting. This can actually be detrimental to your goal of learning the information. When you start the reading a little early and take your time with it, you have more time to reflect on what you got out of it. To do this, start reading early, and whenever you have a few spare minutes, you can read a few pages.

Whether on the bus, waiting for class to start, or winding down before bed, reading often—in small chunks—can help you apply the information to everyday life. We, as humans, remember what is relevant to us. If you spread your reading across a week, you are more likely find instances where it connects to you.

Awareness and activity

Do you ever have that feeling where you have been reading, but if someone asked you what you just read you wouldn’t be able to answer? Well that may be because you haven’t been actively reading.

Active reading is when you are engaging with the text through questions and you evaluate what you are reading. An example of this would be something as simple as writing in the margins. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just simple remarks like, “Why does the writer think this?” or “on next test.” Simple things like that can make a big difference in terms of your engagement with the writing and can help you later when you are doing homework involving the reading. I have found that writing a paper on a section of reading is a lot easier when you mark up your book with notes, questions, and highlights.

This can help you connect the text to your life and raise good questions to ask in class. This concentration on reading can’t be done without the occasional refocusing, however, so don’t feel bad about occasionally getting up, taking a break, and then refocusing on the work.

Hopefully these reading strategies help you get more out of your shorter assignments. For those of you with longer assignments, don’t you worry, I will be back in a couple of weeks to share some ideas on how to handle those readings.


Daniel is a sophomore from California majoring in business and pursuing an independent major in accounting. He likes crocheting, running, and capybaras.


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