Reading and Understanding

Learning to Think Like the Teacher

Before Reading


  • Psych yourself up! Create interest; set goals; ask questions.
  • Use what you already know: Review old information. Make internal and external connections.
  • Intend to remember: Make the conscious decision to remember what you read, and monitor your performance.
  • Anticipate test questions: Select what you need to know, and begin to think like the teacher.
  • Read: Title, headings, subheadings, outline, summary, and end of chapter questions.
  • Look: At pictures, graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.
  • Think: About what you already know, what you will need to know, and what you will need to do to learn the material.
  • Begin to formulate questions: Ask "Do I have a clear idea of what this chapter is about?" Ask who, what, when, and where questions.
  • Set personal and textual goals: Personal: What do you personally want to know? Textual: What does the class/teacher require you to know?

During Reading

Read and Annotate

  • Be selective based on:
  1. What you already know
  2. The amount of material and the way it's presented
  3. The kind of information the text and/or the teacher stresses
  4. The types of quizzes, exams, papers, class discussion and other "performances" you have to give
  • Create meaningful organization: Put away your highlighters. Write, don't just underline. Remember that what you mark is for future reviewing.
  • Work on one "chunk" of the text at a time.
  • Put information into your own words whenever possible.

After Reading


  • Organize and REDUCE the information: Take notes on your notes.
  • Put ideas - main ideas and details: Into your own words and your own format.
  • Use Rehearsal Strategies: Mapping, concept/cue cards, matrix charts.
  • Monitor your learning: Ask yourself if you're getting your questions answered and if you understand the material.
  • Distribute your study time: Don't plan to study for more than two hours at a time.

Adapted from Developing Textbook Thinking, Nist & Diehl, D.C. Heath, 1990.

Download (pdf).

Don’t miss this virtual career fair happening in two days! Visit for more info.

KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times