How to Preread a Textbook Chapter

1. Read the chapter title. The title provides the overall topic of the chapter.

2. Read the chapter subtitle (if included). The subtitle suggests the specific focus or approach to the topic of the chapter.

3. Read any focus questions at the beginning of the chapter. These questions indicate what is very important in the chapter. They are meant to guide your reading and help you be on the lookout for their answers.

4. Read the chapter introduction or first paragraph. The introduction, or first paragraph if there is no introduction, serves as a lead-in to the chapter. It gives you an idea of where the material is starting and where it is heading.

5. Read each boldface subheading. The boldface subheading will give you an idea of the major topic of the following chapter sections.

6. Read the first (topic) sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence often tells you what the paragraph is about or states the central thought. However, be aware that in some material the first sentence may instead function as an attention getter or transition statement. In this case, go on to the second sentence to try to determine the main idea of the paragraph.

7. Look over any typographical aids. Notice important chapter terms that are emphasized by being written in slanted italic type or in dark boldface type; often a definition or an example of a new key term follows.

8. Look over any other visual aids. Notice any material that is numbered 1, 2, 3, lettered a, b, c, or presented in list form. Graphs, charts, pictures, diagrams, and maps are other means of emphasis and are usually included to point out what is important in the chapter.

9. Read the last paragraph or summary. The last paragraph or summary gives a considered view of the chapter and helps you identify important ideas. Often the summary outlines the chapter’s main points.

10. Read quickly any end-of-chapter material. If there are study questions, read through them quickly since they will indicate what is important in the chapter. If a vocabulary list is included, skim through the list rapidly to identify terms you will need to learn as you read.

davepoobond: in conclusion, this takes longer than reading the whole chapter anyway, so just read the chapter and forget about prereading…

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