Personally, I’ll read anything handy, just to be able to read something. But the fact that I have always loved to read didn’t make it any easier to face some of those deadly textbook reading assignments. As a student, you inevitably will be required, as I was, to spend hours poring through ponderous, fact-filled, convoluted reading assignments for subjects that are required, but not exactly scintillating.
You may love reading for pleasure but have trouble reading textbook assignments for certain subjects. You may get the reading done but forget what you’ve read nearly as quickly as you read it. Or you just may hate the thought of sitting still to read anything. Whatever kind of student you are—and whatever your level of reading skill—this chapter will help you surmount your reading challenge.
Define Your Purpose for Reading
What is your purpose for reading? If the best answer you can come up with is, “Because my teacher said I had to,” we need to uncover some better reasons. Reading a chapter just so you can say, “I finished my assignment” is relatively futile. You may as well put the book under a pillow and hope to absorb it by osmosis. Unless you identify some purpose for reading, you will find yourself flipping the pages of your textbooks while retaining little more than the chapter titles.
Few textbooks are written by what most of us would even remotely call professional writers. While the authors might well be experts, even legends, in their particular fields, writing in jargon-free, easy-tograsp prose is probably not their strong suit. You will occasionally be assigned a textbook that is so obtuse you aren’t sure whether to read it front to back, upside down, or inside out.
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