Mastering Content


Reading skills are paramount in a school setting, as well as a career setting. As you progress through your degree plan and your career, reading will become easier if you use the tools outlined in this paper. For most of us, reading is a burden. We are used to getting the majority of our information through television, a much less inactive activity. This paper may well help you ease the pain of reading lengthy material that is of no particular interest to you. Reading will become less of a burden once you start reading actively. Reading actively, is not as hard as you may think. Now that you know your learning style, you can apply your strengths toward your weaknesses when you read. Read on, and find out how.

Mastering Content

For most of us, reading is a problem. Reading is hard because we read passively and seldom grasp the full content of the text in question. Through this paper, you will learn to use tools that will help read faster and, at the same time, retain more information from reading. You must continue to read actively throughout your studies and your career. Mastering the content of what you read is the key to better writing and better decision making. In the journey of lifelong learning, you will read a mountain of material. Make the most of what you read.

Francis Robinson elaborated a method for mastering content over a half a century ago. It is still used today by educational institutions as a step toward critical thinking because it is effective. He named his method SQ3R. This is an acronym that stands for, Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. As you learn this method, you will adjust it to your own learning style. You may change it in any way that helps you follow it better. Then, it will be your own personal SQ3R.

When you first pick up the material you are about to read, you will survey it. Surveying is simply scanning for items that will give you an idea of what the material is all about. You may compare this step to occasions when you pick up a magazine and scan it for interesting articles before you purchase it. Read the table of contents, chapter titles, and the preface. These items outline the overall message of the material. Also, you will be able to anticipate how long you will have to spend reading and weather the content is interesting to you.

Reading text that is interesting to you is easier. You can engage your thoughts better when the information you read is of some use to you in a personal level. Knowing beforehand if a subject appeals to you is an advantage that you can use while reading. You will then be able to adjust your technique and get the most out of it, regardless of its appeal to you. Weather you enjoy reading or you despise it, it is something that you will always have to do. Take in consideration that reading one of the pillars of learning.

After you survey the material, ask critical questions about what you gathered from your survey. Asking questions, that you formulate while you read, increases your focus on the material. It now becomes a quest for greater understanding. The questions you ask are unique to your point of view. They may be in reference to what does the author want to say. What does he or she imply. As you go onto the next step, you will find answers to your questions. As you find those answers, you will understand and retain the information much easier.

Now it is time to read. You must read actively. “Active reading means engaging with the material through questioning, writing, note taking, and other activities” (Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop, Sarah Lynman Kravits, 2002, pg. 151). Look for the main idea of each paragraph. Highlight points of interest and key words. Avoid highlighting too much. Stay focused on the message. Making too many notes or highlighting too large of an area may end up confusing you later own by overloading you with less than useful information.

Now that you have read the information, ask yourself weather all of your original questions were answered. Answer any new questions you may have