Active reading for anxious brains

These are techniques that work for me. Other brains may differ.

  1. It is better to actively read one section of a text for 10 minutes than to stare passively at pages for an hour and take nothing in.
  2. What I mean by “active reading” is to read with a purpose; to get specific information.
  3. By the end of actively reading you should have some information that you can use in a text.

Step 1- find the section need to read by using contents page, index and skim-reading.

Step 2- consider whether this is relevant to your assignment. If it is:

Step 3-generate a question. What do you need to find out? (for example, what does theorist X have to say about the phenomenon I am researching?) Create a table like this:

My questionAuthor, year, page referenceParaphrase in my own words
   

Do not copy down quotations. Use paraphrase and if you need a direct quotation, use quotation marks and jot a couple of words as aid memoire. This will avoid issues of academic misconduct.

Step 4- go back to the original text and read again to check that you have paraphrased accurately.

I find it helpful to time myself- I have 20 minutes per text. I have a 5 minute break after each one. So after just over an hour I should have enough reading to write a section of an assignment. You should have enough information to write an assignment if you do this for a day.

I hope that this is helpful. Let me know!

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