Peak Performance:
Success In College And Beyond

Chapter 6: Actively Read

Chapter Objectives

n    List the benefits of active reading

n    Determine a preferred reading system, such as the Five-Part Reading System and SQ3R

n    Adopt active reading strategies

n    Build a better vocabulary

n    Manage language courses

n    Read technical material and manuals and complete forms

n    Address reading challenges

Success Principle 6

Focus on the MEANING, not the words.



Comprehension is the ability to understand the main ideas and details as they are written.

   Interpreting what you read means developing ideas of your own and being able to summarize the material in your own words.



The Importance Of Active Reading

n   Previewing

n   Taking notes

n   Outlining main points

n   Digging out ideas

n   Jotting down key words

n   Finding definitions

The Importance Of Active Reading

n   Asking and answering questions

n   Underlining important points

n   Looking for patterns and themes

n   Summarizing in your own words

n   Reviewing for recall

Reading Systems

The Five-Part Reading System



          Predict questions

          Process information

          Paraphrase and review

Reading Systems

The SQ3R Reading System

          S = Survey

          Q = Question

          R = Read

          R = Recite

          R = Review


n   Do you like to read?

n   What is the title of the last book you read? 

n   How long has it been since you read an entire book?

n   How well do you retain the information you have read?

n   Is it difficult to concentrate when reading a homework assignment?

Reading Style

Your reading style and your attention span affect your ability to read and retain information.

Discovering Your Reading Style

n   How does your reading style affect the way you learn textbook material?

n   Are you an analytical, detailed reader or very non-critical reader?



The key to good reading is understanding—not speed.

Prepare: Approach the Written Word
Organize: Gather the Tools of the Trade
Work: Get the Most out of Your Reading
Evaluate: Consider What it Means and What You Know
Rethink: Get it the Second Time

Advance Organizers

n   Outlines

n   Overviews

n   Section Objectives

n   Looking Ahead Section


Advance Organizers help tie information that you already know to the new material

What’s the Point?

n   Are you reading background information that will not be on a test?

n   Is the goal to highlight information in a chapter that will be used for future study guides?

n   Know the author’s purpose for writing the material.

Reading Tips

n   Read the front matter

n   Preface

n   Introduction

n   Table of Contents


Organizing Tools for Reading

n    Pencils/pens to write notes in margin

n    Highlighters to indicate key passages

n    Copy of assignment

n    Paper or computer to take more extensive notes if needed

n    Dictionary


How Long is Your
Attention Span?

n   Does your mind wander during a class?

n   How long does it take after class begins before you start tuning out the instructor?

n   Are you tapping your foot or rocking in your chair?

n   Do you keep checking the time?

n   What distracts you during class?

Attention Exercise

Close your eyes and concentrate on the sounds that you hear.  In 2 minutes you will be asked to write down any sounds you heard.

Getting the Most out of Reading

n   Stay focused by reading in small bites

n   Take a break when needed

n   Deal with mental distractions

n   Manage interruptions

n   Write while you read-jot down notes

Textbook Tips

n   Make sure you have bought the correct textbook-check your syllabus

n   Write your name, phone number in the book

n   Examine the front matter of each book

n   Get online if the book contains a website or online access learning center

Writing While You Read

n   Rephrase key points

n   Summarize a key point

n   Kinesthetic learning means using movement or motion to help you learn

n   Highlight or underline important concepts

n   Use arrows, diagrams, outlines


Dealing with Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are defined as difficulties in processing information when listening, speaking, reading, or writing.

Types of Disabilities

n   Dyslexia

n   Reading disability that produces misperception of letters during reading and writing

n   Unusual difficulty in sounding out letters

n   Spelling difficulties

n   Confusion between right and left


Hyperactivity Disorder

n   Inability to concentrate

n   Inattention

n   Low tolerance for frustration

n   Trouble staying on task

n   Difficulty sitting still


There is no relationship between learning disabilities and I.Q.


Evaluate Your Reading Skills

n   Identify the main ideas and themes and their value to you personally

n   Prioritize the ideas

n   Think critically about the arguments presented in the reading

n   Summarize the material out loud as if you were teaching it to someone

Evaluate Your Reading Skills

n   Reread the passage if you drift away

n   Reward yourself when you have completed the passage

n   Rethink what you have read

Rethink Your Reading Skills

n   Rethinking transfers the material from your short-term memory to your long-term memory

n   Use concept mapping to rethink the material you have read

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking makes what we read ours.”
      John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding  (1706), p. 20


Reading Strategies

             Determine your purpose

             Set reading goals


             Outline the main points

             Identify key words and key concepts

             Make connections

Build Your Vocabulary

n   Observe your words and habits

n   Be creative and articulate

n   Associate with articulate


n   Be aware and alert

Build Your Vocabulary

n   Look up words you don’t know

n   Write down new words

n   Practice mentally

n   Practice in conversation

Build Your Vocabulary

n   Look for contextual clues

n   Learn common word parts

n   Review great speeches

n   Invest in a vocabulary book

n   Read

Manage Language Courses

             Do practice exercises

             Keep up with your reading

             Carry note cards with you

             Recite out loud

             Form study teams

Manage Language Courses

             Listen to CDs and tapes


             Model and tutor

             Focus on key words

             Have fun

Specialized Reading

Comprehending Technical Material

n           Identify the type of graphic

n           Read the…

          Graphic title

          Accompanying captions

          Column titles

          Labels or symbols and their interpretations

          Data (percentages, totals, figures, etc.)


Technical Reading

n    Identify the purpose of the graphic

n    See a connection between the topic of the graphic and the chapter or section topic in which it appears

n    Explain the information depicted on the graphic

n    Share your interpretation of the graphic


Reading Manuals

n    Compare the description to what you have received

n    Follow step-by-step instructions

n    Go to the index and look up key words

n    Look online at the company’s website or do an online search

n    Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the manual

n    Record access codes and other important information in the manual

Completing Forms

n   Scan the entire form before filling it out

n   If you are unsure about anything, ask for clarification

n   Read the small print carefully

n   Fill in all questions that pertain to you

Reading Forms

n   Write clearly

n   Take with you any information that may be needed

n   Reread your responses before submitting the form