Use the acronym “premium” to remember these components of active reading:
To increase reading rate and comprehension rate, you should:
- Narrow down what you will read in a single sitting (5/10/20 pages)
- Read available preface/introduction and conclusion/summary
- Read the first sentence of each paragraph or the heading of each sub-section.
- Read one paragraph (or even one sentence) at a time. It is okay to go slowly.
- Give what you are reading your full attention. Find a place to read with minimal distractions. Likely it will not be in your room.
- Stop after each paragraph (or sentence, or section, depending on the level of difficulty) and check your comprehension by doing the following:
Main Idea/Most Important
- Highlight modestly.
- No more than one sentence per paragraph.
- Find either the main idea OR the most important point to remember.
If textbook “resale” value is a concern, find an alternative way to capture this information by keeping a separate set of reading notes.
- Ask yourself: “What is this sentence, paragraph, or section telling me?”
- Then put it in your own words and jot it in the margins (or somewhere else if necessary).
- Use short phrases, numeric lists, or even a doodle to help trigger your memory.
- Did you find something worth highlighting?
- Were you able to make a note in the margins about what you read?
If you don’t understand and/or remember what you just read, then you need to read that section again.
Repeat the PREMIUM process with the next sentence, paragraph, or section of reading.
When you finish actively reading an assignment, you will be able to:
- Participate more fully in class discussions
- Use your annotations to prepare for quizzes and tests
- Easily find documentation to support your essays and written work