Reading is skill we use daily. We read our clocks and watches, menus for meals, the daily news, novels, magazines, television advertisements, and more. For each of these tasks, we apply different reading skills and strategies. In college, reading is content-focused; you need to understand the big pictures presented in textbooks or scholarly articles along with individual words.
Previewing a text allows you, the reader, to grasp the basic concepts that will be covered in a text. This contextual knowledge of what you are about to read will help you begin to make connections to knowledge you’ve already gained, and it will prepare you to learn more.
- Look at the headings and subheadings.
What topics do you know will be addressed? What is the focus of the text?
- Read the introduction and conclusion.
What is the entire chapter about? How does this relate to what is happening (or what will happen) in class?
- Read any questions at the end of the chapter.
Reading these questions will guide you to understand the purpose of the text.
Below are additional resources and tips for reading textbooks.