College of DuPage
Mary Anderson
Assistant Professor, Reading
Coordinator, Reading Assistance Area

Effective vs. Ineffective Reading

Effective Reading:
  • Aims at comprehension; therefore, memory is achieved through understanding

  • Uses different strategies to get the important information

  • Is guided by organizational aids

  • Focuses on well-defined purposes that are established by prereading

  • Uses writing as a learning strategy and prepares you to be an informed writer on tests, essay exams, and in real life

  • Is practical and prioritized; focuses on reading for main ideas

  • Is therefore rapid, attending to larger units of meaning rather than individual words
Ineffective Reading:
  • Is slow, focused on individual words, or may not be focused at all, with no delineation of goals or purpose (the reader may be tracking over the print only because it has been assigned by the instructor)

  • Aims at finding isolated details, perhaps those in boldface or italics, to memorize later

  • Is reading only for definitions, losing the focus of the phrases in which they're contained

  • Is aimed at simple memory rather than comprehension of concepts
Ten Ways to Read More Effectively:
  • Adjust your reading rate (slower or faster)

  • Connect content with what you already know about the subject

  • Create guide questions

  • Predict content

  • Look for:
    causes and effects
    similarities and differences
    chronological sequence

  • Annotate (write in the margin) or highlight main ideas and key details

  • Draw a map or diagram of the key concepts

  • Rephrase the main idea of each paragraph or section in your own words

  • Reread difficult sections

  • Visualize

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Liberal Arts · IC 2039f· 630-942-2536
Updated 24 March 03