Reading

Overcoming Reading Distractions

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by infra-leve

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by infra-leve

1. Set aside 3 minutes to work on a reading assignment for your class.

2. As you read, any time you are distracted, make a checkmark on a piece of scrap paper and think to yourself, “I will not be distracted by that again.” At the end of the 3 minutes, look at how many times you were distracted while you were reading by counting the number of checkmarks on your paper.

3. When you can read for 3 minutes without being distracted, try testing yourself for 5 minutes.

4. At the end of the reading assignment, make note of the greatest length of time you were able to read without being distracted.

5. Write a short paragraph about the experience and what steps you might take to help you focus better as you read.

 

Preparing to Read

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Silvia Sala

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Silvia Sala

Academic reading can require more focus and energy than reading you may do in your free time. To help you focus during your next reading or homework session, be sure to prepare your workspace.

  • Select a space with good lighting and ventilation.
  • Select an appropriate space with minimal external distractions.
  • Be well-rested so that you don’t fall asleep.
  • Be sure to process, or temporarily put aside, any internal distractions (e.g., worries or concerns about other aspects of your life or other classes, etc.).
  • Warn others, physically and/or digitally, that you are studying, and ask them to not distract you.

1. Take or draw a picture of your prepared workspace. Use any computer drawing program (e.g., Paintshop, MS Paint, Google Draw, etc.) to draw your workspace, or use a pencil and paper to draw it. Then take a picture of the drawign with a camera.

2. Share your image.

Skimming Before Reading

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Mr.TinDC

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Mr.TinDC

1. Before you read something for class (especially a textbook chapter),skim the reading with the following techniques:

  • Read the title: how does that cue you into what you will be reading about?
  • Look at headers and other organizational cues; how do they cue you in to key words, points, and arguments?
  • Textbooks use formatting like bold, italics, and bulleted/numbered lists to make key words, concepts, and ideas stand out; how do they cue you in to important information?

2. After skimming, list the key terms, phrases, ideas, and concepts that skimming provides.

3. While reading, take notes by filing your notes underneath the terms, phrases and concepts you wrote down while skimming.

4. Share both your skimming and after-reading notes.