Reading & Understanding Textbooks

Sitting down to read a textbook can seem intimidating or boring. To get this under control, there are some tips that work.

  • Read Actively. Begin with the chapter title and subheadings. Check your syllabus to see if any topics will be a focus.
  • Do Not Read Every Word or Sentence. Think of writing your high school English papers. Each section has a focus and each paragraph has a topic sentence. The topic sentence tell you what the paragraph is about.
  • Take notes. Using the titles, subheadings, and topic sentences from the book, create an outline of the information in the book. Writing helps you remember
  • Look up words. If you do not understand any words, look them up. Write them on flashcards with the definitions to help you study them later.
  • Write down any questions. If you cannot understand something and cannot find the information on the internet, write the questions in your notes. Remember to ask them to your instructor during class or by email.
  • Add pictures or drawings. Pictures can help you remember things that are important. You can use your phone to photograph and email the picture to yourself to print it out and add it to your notes.

More Information - Diving Deeper


- How to Read Your Textbooks More Efficiently - College Info Geek:
- Reading Textbooks and Taking Notes (NGAcademic SkillsCenter):
- How to Take Notes [on textbooks] (AZDistanceLearning):

More Information - Diving Deeper


- Reading a Textbook for True Understanding (Cornell College):

- How to Take Notes from a Textbook (WikiHow):

- 4 Steps to Reading a Textbook Quickly and Effectively:

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