The ability to read for comprehension is essential for success in an online course. The online classroom relies heavily on the written word with not only readings assigned from the textbook, but also required text-based lectures. While many courses do include audio and video components that enhance the material presented, course interaction in the majority of online courses is conducted primarily in writing. It is expected that the online student is able to combine reading from the textbook, lecture documents and class notes and incorporate the information learned into class discussions, written assignments and exams. Therefore, the successful online student needs to be able to read actively as well as think and learn independently as they read. Outlined below are tips and strategies that might help you develop your reading skills.
Tips and Strategies
Determine the Time of Day and Location in Which You Can Read Most Effectively
You want to schedule your reading assignments during a time of day that you are most alert and able to concentrate. For some, this may be early in the day and for others a later routine may work best. Either way, make sure to not read when you are extremely tired. You will also need to determine a type of location that works best for and allows you to derive the most learning possible from your reading. Again, this differs for different people. Some require complete silence (such as a library or closed off room) in order to sufficiently concentrate. Others prefer to have a bit of background noise such as music or soft background noise. Once an ideal time of day and location are established, be sure to add appropriate reading time slots to your schedule.
Break Your Reading Up Into Segments That Work For You
Think about realistically how long can you read effectively without taking a break. For example, you may determine that 40 minutes of straight reading on a particular subject is your limit before needing a brief break. Schedule this into your plan. The goal is to maximize your comprehension of the material as you read and if taking a break works to achieve this goal, then make sure you do. You will be able to come back to the material refreshed and continue with another 40 minute segment.
Briefly Review the Entire Reading Assignment Prior to Sitting Down to Read For Comprehension.
Skimming the complete Chapter or Online Lecture Assignment prior to reading the text in its entirety will give you an overview of what you will be learning and prepare you for the material to come. By scanning the key points before reading about them, you will be in the proper frame of mind when they come up in the reading, thereby improving your comprehension of the material.
Take Notes as You Read
Taking notes as you read will increase your comprehension of the material. To further expand upon your understanding, it is helpful to relate what you are reading with the material that exists in the lecture notes and class discussions. Summarizing all reading assignments in this fashion will help you build a comprehensive study guide in your own words that can be used in preparing for discussions, assignments and exams.