Here's a Reading Secret: It's OK to Skim!
Students are told time-and-time again to not “skim through the reading.” Instead, students are instructed to pay attention to the details, to analyze every other sentence, to thoroughly read through the material, etc. While I recognize that these methods can be useful, the truth is: This usually isn’t the case. I, rather, encourage students to pay closer attention to the question that is posed to them than the reading itself.
Picking out the specific details in the question(s) regarding the reading material, and focusing on that, makes it a lot easier to get through the reading. Something of major importance to remember is this: Analyze the question, not the reading. Once you fully understand what is being asked of you, you are suddenly on a mission! The focus is shifted from: Pay attention to all PLAUSIBLE important details of the reading, to: Pay attention to the details of the reading that you KNOW are important to find.
Learning to focus on the question first, rather than any number of possible solutions, makes finding the actual solution much easier.
Next time you have a reading assignment, don’t forget:
Questions first, answers later.
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