Monday 9 November 2015

Reading & Notetaking

I find I am quite a fast reader when I read for pleasure. However, when I am reading for understanding, as I am for academic studies, I am much slower. I spend a lot of time flipping back and forth between the articles and a Google Doc where I take my notes. I find taking my notes as I read most effective and then will review and reflect after I have read the article. I also realized I used the SQ3R reading strategy without even realizing it. Primarily as I read for an academic purpose I focus on the learning outcomes as my ‘questions’ and try to answer them throughout my reading and review as necessary. I find I can only read for about 30 minutes before I need a break. One strategy I try to use is read for 25, break for 5 minutes. This allows me to extend my total length of reading and studying time. 
As I read a text, I focus primarily on the comprehension of the text. It is not until the review and reflection time that I begin to explore analyzing, interpreting and evaluating the text. These components are done more so in my reflective blogs and discussions.
When I am reading a textbook for a course, I try to improve my knowledge of the vocabulary by making a glossary in addition to my notes. Often the keywords are bolded so I scan through the chapter and write down all the words that are bolded. Then I go to the back of the textbook and look up the definitions of the words. I find this to be helpful so I have a developed schema before I read the chapter. This strategy allows me to read through the chapter with a higher level of understanding and less frustration trying to figure out what is meant by certain terminology. It also allows me the ability to quickly reference terminology I forget the meaning of. 
When I do brainstorming (specifically in my class), we always agree that there are no bad ideas. The point of brainstorming is to gather as many ideas as possible. We use post it notes and have 1 idea per post it and then try to categorize them if possible after. I find the tangible post-its help me to get excited about generating many ideas. Sometimes it is more difficult to make the connections and categorize them after the ideas. 
I had not used the Cornell method before, though found it similar to the way I do my notes with bullets. I use headers and indents with my bullet points to help me organise my notes online. I feel the two strategies are connected because the first column in the Cornell method would be a normal bullet point and the second column in the Cornell would be an indented bullet point. For me the flow of working down the page is easier than going left to right with the Cornell method. The other benefit about taking my notes online is that I can insert links to other sites or articles directly in my notes for future reference. 
As I take notes from articles, I always include the APA referencing of the article so I can access it easily in the future. I sometime struggle with writing page numbers for every note I make throughout the article. However, I do know I can easily go back and search the article to find the point again if I need it.

Strategies have been taken from Charles Sturt University Study Skills Guides ( : 
-reading strategies 
-critical thinking 
-brainstorming and mindmapping
-notetaking while reading 

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