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Getting the most from your readings
Transcript of Getting the most from your readings
Ability to sound out, memorize, & recognize words
Levels of Reading
SQ4R | Six Steps for Reading and Studying Textbooks
Watch to see a visual demonstration of SQ4R on a structured textbook
The two most common student statements about assigned readings for courses:
I can’t possibly read everything my profs tell us we should!
How do I know I’m getting what I need from my readings?
Fairbank Memorial Library
Getting the most from your reading
Reading for Research
You follow many of the same steps for research reading, but the recitation for retention is not as necessary.
You still Survey, Question, & then Read to understand the content; you inspect it. This is then followed by Analysis/Evaluation and Comparison against other research.
Just like there are many kinds of walking - toddling, strolling, hiking uphill, hiking downhill, speed walking - there are many kinds of reading. We all read, but different items require us to do it at varying speeds and with varying levels of attention. Reading textbooks and resources for research requires a slower, more purposeful & observant kind of reading than what we all do in our day-to-day lives.
2. Inferential Comprehension
Ability to understand information that is implied, but not stated
Ability to use, implement, manipulate, & transfer the knowledge represented by the words
How do we get to this point?
Z4.1 Hash Functions
The hash function takes an element to be stored in a table and transforms it into a location in the table. If this transformation makes certain table locations more likely to occur than others, the chance of collision is increased and the efficiency of searches and insertions is decreased. The phenomenon of some table locations being more likely is called primary, clustering. The ideal hash function spreads the elements uniformly throughout the table—that is, does not exhibit primary clustering. In fact, we would really like a hash function that, given any z, chooses a random location in the table in which to store z; this would minimize primary clustering. This is, of course, impossible, since the function h cannot be probabilistic but must be deterministic, yielding the same location every time it is applied to the same element (otherwise, how would we ever find an element after it was inserted?!). The achievable ideal is to design hash functions that exhibit pseudorandom behavior—behavior that appears random but that is reproducible.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for constructing hash functions. We will examine four basic techniques that can be used individually or in combination. The properties of any particular hash function are hard to determine because they depend so heavily on the set of elements that will be encountered in practice. Thus the construction of a good hash function from these basic techniques is more an art than anything amenable to analysis, but we will present general principles that usually prove successful, pointing out their pitfalls as well.'
Read the following paragraph
Complete Quiz 1, referring to the passage as needed. Use the -> and <- arrow keys to travel between the questions and the text.
1. Into what form does a hash function transform an element?
2. Define the term "primary clustering."
3. Describe an ideal hash function.
4. Why are the properties of a hash function difficult to determine?
5. What is "pseudorandom" behavior?
Were you surprised that you could answer all 5 questions?
You shouldn't be. You were using a useful strategy that involves looking for matching terms in the text and inferring which part of the text around that term comprises the answer to the question.
Emboldened by your success, try a second quiz.
Complete Quiz 2, referring to the passage as needed. Use the -> and <- arrow keys to travel between the questions and the text.
1. Give an example of an element to be stored in a table.
2. Define the term "transformation."
3. Define z and h.
4. In what situations might "primary clustering" be important?
Unless you have already taken courses in computer programming, you probably could not answer these questions. Why not? You did well with Quiz 1; how is Quiz 2 different?
Quiz 1 tested only your ability to read (decode) the words and find similar phrases in the text.
Quiz 2 tested your understanding of the terms used in the passage, your inferential comprehension.
Main Headings & subheadings
Visuals & Captions
Headings with who, what, when, why, how, where
Objectives in text
"What did my instructor say about this chapter or subject when it was assigned?"
"What do I already know about this subject?"
Questions at the end of chapter
Relation to previous material
Actively and with a plan
Look to answer questions
Identify main ideas
Locate supporting details
Read to Comprehend
Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or phrases
Reduce speed for difficult passages
Stop and reread parts which are not clear
Read only a section at a time and recite after each section
Organize facts into answers
Orally restate from memory
Take notes from the text but write the information in your own words
Underline or highlight important points you've just read
Use the method of recitation which best suits your particular learning style, but remember, the more senses you use the more likely you are to remember what you read
Highlight key ideas
Mark for emphasis
It is easier to remember ideas that are personally meaningful.
Connect with life experience
When you study a chapter, try to link new facts, terms, and concepts with information you already know.
Use memory clues, acronyms, visual pictures, & word association
Make flash cards of key topics & vocabulary
Cover text below headings and test your recall, but in your
To read a textbook well it takes planning. If you read it only with the goal to complete it, then you will drown in a sea of concepts, terms, or examples, and become frustrated or confused. Why put yourself through this unnecessary torture? SQ4R allows you to read a textbook with greater understanding, forcing you to stay active in the reading, which enables you to get most from the text.
: This is like watching a trailer to a movie. Familiarize yourself with the material by taking a few minutes to read the headings, subheadings, and diagrams of each section. Read the summary at the end for an overview. Getting a sense of what you're about to read before diving in makes reading the entire chapter a bit easier.
As you preview, allow yourself to ask questions. "What does this section have to do with the section we covered last week?" Have a silent conversation with what you read to stay engaged.
Just like it sounds... Read in chunks; don't make it a full days work. Try to answer your questions. Recognize the real purpose for the reading. What is the main idea? Are there details that you need to pay special attention to? Are there some you don't need to pay attention to? If you begin to wander off, stop yourself and take a break to get your mind back. Avoid distractions for best reading results.
Talk out loud to hear it for yourself when you finish with a section. Speak aloud a summary of what you just read; this mentally organizes and reinforces the info you need to remember. Talk it out with yourself, a friend, or act like the professor.
Go back to the reading and highlight key words and ideas. Write margin notes or notes on paper making a mind map about the info you just read, and put it into your own words; this is the best way to remember all that info.
Look at your notes frequently (once a day for 15 min.) to remind yourself of what you've already learned; do this as a warm-up before you study new material. Just don't let the night before the exam be the first and only time you review the material.
Mortimer Adler -
How to Read a Book
His method consists of increasingly critical levels of reading.
the first and most elementary level where the reader simply attempts to understand what the author is saying.
the reader asks if what the author says is true.
the reader compares and contrasts the author's ideas to those of all of the other authors who have addressed the same question.
The complete reader first addresses
, and finally
Analytical & Syntoptical Reading
What is Critical thinking?
Probe beneath the surface appearance
Search for underlying issues
Recognize & understand key points & ideas
Question validity of data, assumptions & statements
Identify contradictions, inconsistencies & deceptions
View issues from different perspectives
Perceive flaws in arguments, conclusions & advice
Consider the pluses & minuses of events and decisions
Predict potential consequences
Respond skeptically to simple statements
What is the significance of this material?
Do I agree with the author or instructor’s interpretation of the facts?
Do I perceive personal biases in what is written?
Do I believe that the author has chosen to disregard certain facts and weigh information subjectively, rather than objectively?
What issues have been addressed and what questions are still unanswered?
Is there more than one legitimate way to evaluate this information?
Are my conclusions and interpretations different from those of the expert?
Can I defend my position logically?
Can I express my conclusions persuasively and without triggering resentment?
This is done primarily through asking yourself questions, such as
Read this section critically
The Cherokee, Apache and Shawnee tribes hated the settlers who crossed their territory, appropriated their land and carved out home-steads for themselves. Ferocious attacks on wagon trains were common, and many settlers were killed. Farms and ranches were burned to the ground by marauding war parties. In retaliation, federal troops frequently attacked and burned Native villages. To resolve this difficult problem, the US government set aside reservations for the Native Americans, signed treaties that promised them land and food and then resettled entire tribes in these designated areas.
Why shouldn’t the natives resist the settlers?
It mentions settlers being killed, but doesn't mention that Natives were also killed in the retaliation by troops. It also neglects to show the numbers killed on either side so we can properly compare the actions of each side.
What about trappers who cheated the Natives, and the hunters who killed off the main source of food?
Which land was set aside for the tribes? How faraway was it? Was it comparable/ equivalent to the land that was taken?
How effective were the treaties at solving the problems? Were the treaty promises kept?
Words used to describe Native actions:
hated, ferocious, killed, marauding.
All have severely negative emotional connotations
Words used to describe settler/government actions:
appropriated, retaliation, resolve, promise, resettled.
Neutral or positive emotional connotations
Questions to ask
The Cherokee, Apache and Shawnee tribes
the settlers who crossed their territory,
their land and carved out home-steads for themselves.
attacks on wagon trains were common, and many settlers were
. Farms and ranches were burned to the ground by
war parties. In
, federal troops frequently attacked and burned Native villages. To
this difficult problem, the US government
reservations for the Native Americans, signed treaties that
them land and food and then
entire tribes in these designated areas.
What if my text/reading doesn't have all those nice headings, chapter summaries & built in questions?
It likely still has headings, so read those and the first paragraph underneath each heading and subheading
Not all texts are created equal
Scan the text for clues such as numbered lists, information in brackets, italics & bold print
Visually different text
Signal words in text that indicate NB text
You can still survey the text for clues to important information. Here are two examples.
Articles & Research
- Look for content
- determine quality
- look at context & compare to other research, experience, & information presented in class
For more help on this topic, you can drop by or contact
The Academic Learning Centre
Fairbank Memorial Library
Click on the link below to let us know what was most useful and what you'd like to see changed - all in a short three answer form.