Effective learners engage in a very deep level of processing. They are active
learners, thinking of each new fact in relation to other material. As a result,
they learn to see similarities and differences among facts and ideas, and they create a context in which many new facts can be organized
Based on what is known about memory, we suggest two specific guidelines for
reading a textbook. First, make sure that you understand what you are reading
before moving on. Second, use the PQ4R method, which is one of the most successful strategies for remembering textbook
material (Anderson, 1990; Chastain & Thurber, 1989; Thomas & Robinson, 1972). PQ4R stands for the six activities that should be followed
when you read a chapter: survey, question, read, recite, and review. These activities
are designed to increase the depth to which you process the information you
Preview One of the best ways to begin a new chapter is by not reading it. Instead, take a few minutes to skim the chapter. Look at the
section headings and any boldface or italicized terms. Obtain a general idea
of what material will be discussed, how it is organized, and how its topics
relate to one another and to what you already know. Some people find it useful to preview
the entire chapter once and then survey each major section in a little more
detail before reading it.
Question Before reading each section, stop and ask yourself what content will be covered and what information should
be extracted from it.
Read Read the text, but think about the material as you read. Are the questions
you raised earlier being answered? Do you see the connections between the topics?
Reflect As you read your text, think of examples of concepts that might apply to
your own life. Create visual images that reflect the concept, and ask yourself
how each concept might be related to other concepts within that chapter and in other chapters
you have already read.
Recite At the end of each section, stop and recite the major points. Resist the
temptation to be passive by mumbling something like, "Oh, I remember that." Put the ideas into your own words.
Review Finally, at the end of the chapter, review all the material. You should see
connections not only within a section but also among the sections. The objective is to see how the author has organized the material. Once
you grasp the organization, the individual facts will be far easier to remember.
At the end, take a break. Relax. Approach each chapter fresh. Following these
procedures will not only allow you to learn and remember the material better but also save you considerable