Understanding Readings and Textbooks

Watch and Learn

This video will help you prioritize your readings, as well as provide you with strategies for active reading.

If you do not see the video, please click on the link to view it in a new window or tab (you will leave this page):

Textbook Reading

Top Tips for Reading a Textbook

Active reading will help you remember information and use your time effectively. Take notes on the text, ask yourself questions and search for major themes. Dartmouth University has some great strategies for reading actively.

Reading quickly isn’t always the most effective strategy. For critical reading, a slow, careful pace may be necessary. Understand which sections you can skim and which sections you should read in depth.

Plan to read when your energy and concentration levels are at their highest. Learn how by checking out Ohio University’s concentration study tips.

Integrating your lecture and reading notes will help you:

  • retain information,
  • build understanding
  • and prepare for tests.

At the end of a lecture or reading, draw a mind map that summarizes the material. Now draw connections to other lectures, readings and course themes.

Textbook Reading Cheat Sheet

Enhance your Learning

So you have to read a 1000 pages to prepare for your exam. Here is a great method to capture the information you need without have to write dozens of pages of notes.

If you do not see the video, please click on the link to view it in a new window or tab (you will leave this page):

How to Take Notes from a TextBook

Enhance Your Wellness

Stress, to varying degrees, is a part of every student’s experience. Your perspective on stress and the ways you respond influence the impact of stress on body and mind. To understand how stress can be positive and to learn about how reaching out to others reduces stress, watch Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk:

For more wellness resources, see https://services.viu.ca/counselling/health-wellness-resources.

Student Support Areas

Writing Centre


Get the most out of studying

Get the Most From Your Classes

Tips on better note taking, reading strategies and learning online

Value for Me?

Re-reading has been shown to be ineffective compared with other strategies. Students can be more actively engaged in reading, enhancing learning of key terms, by using techniques of:

  • questioning,
  • outlining, 
  • and note-taking.

Visualize Topic

Study Method SQ3R

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Technology Integration

  • Margins If you like taking notes in the margins of books, this app is for you.

There are lots of free tools you can use to create mind maps