While You Read: Strategies for Close Reading
Understanding a work that is challenging requires a close reading — one in which we make decisions about what the text means as we read it, keep track of the author’s ideas and points, and connect these new ideas with what we already know. Marking up the text while we read facilitates this process. Here are some suggested marks for things you should look for while you are reading (but you should try to think of your own):
|Look for . . .||Mark it with . . .|
|The main question or issue in each chapter or section||aim / objective / main|
|Fundamental concepts and their explanations or descriptions||highlighting / underlining|
|Important conclusions (You may use more than one to rank the importance)||3* / --> / X|
|Unclear or confusing parts, faulty logic||Q / ?|
|Supporting data or information used as evidence||evidence|
|Author voicing an opinion||viewpoint / VP|
|Problematic assumptions being made||problematic/ prob|
|Greater implications of the argument or discussion||implication|
You may also keep track of your own ideas as you are reading in a separate journal or on the blank pages or half pages of the book. Making diagrams to visualize how the important ideas are related is also a helpful technique.
Don't forget: if you would like assistance with this or any other type of writing assignment, learning coaches are available to assist you. Please contact Academic Support by emailing Academic.Support@esc.edu; calling 1-800-847-3000, ext. 3008; or calling the main number of the location in your region (see Academic Support Regional Contact Information for more information).
Questions or feedback about SUNY Empire's Collegewide Writing Support?
Contact us at Academic.Support@esc.edu.