Tip #11: Reading

Reading in college involves interpreting all written texts relating to classes.

Have you ever finished reading something only to realize that you cannot recall anything that you just read?  Did your mind take a mini-vacation?  Do you have a reading strategy for understanding assigned readings that are not interesting and not easy?  Some techniques and links below will be helpful in this area.

Why is reading important?

Reading is an essential part of learning in a college setting, and reading critically and actively promotes success.  Also, in The Community College Experience, Amy Baldwin notes, “Lifelong learning is accomplished by reading on a regular basis.”


The SQR3 method is an effective way to read dense material like an assigned chapter in a text.

  1. Survey title, headings, sub-headings, images, and the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
  2. Question what you are reading: who? when? what? where? and why?
  3. Read the entire chapter, taking notes as you read.
  4. Recite what the chapter was about.
  5. Review by reading the chapter again.


The OK5R is a similar reading strategy:

  1. Overview
  2. Key ideas
  3. Read
  4. Record
  5. Recite
  6. Review
  7. Reflect

Muscle Reading

Muscle Reading is another effective way to read dense material.

Before you read

  1. Preview
  2. Outline
  3. Question

While you read

  1. Read
  2. Underline
  3. Answer

After you read

  1. Recite
  2. Review
  3. Review again

Tips for reading

  1. Keep a dictionary nearby as you read.
  2. Read as much as possible, including reading for pleasure.