The Best Tips for Reading Textbooks in College

Text books for college

Reading Textbooks in College

Many people enjoy reading for pleasure, but not so much when it comes to reading college textbooks. College textbooks can be tedious with so much detail that reading them becomes an overwhelming task. However, there are strategies that any student can use to make navigating college textbooks more manageable and less tedious. Listed below are some of our best tips for reading textbooks in college.


Before diving into your assigned reading take time to preview each chapter. This process includes looking at the chapter outline, chapter review questions, and the key terms to get an idea of what the chapter is all about.

Create Questions

The next strategy to use after previewing your chapter is to look at the headings and subheadings and turn them into questions. For example, if the chapter in your history book has a heading that says “Origins of the Cold War,” you want to turn it into a question that says “what were the origins of the cold war?” The point of creating questions from your chapter headings and sub-headings is that finding the answer to the questions becomes the purpose for reading, in other words, the question guides your reading.

Take Notes

As you are reading, write down the answers to the questions you created from your headings and subheadings. This will help you with the retain the information you are reading. Taking notes does not have to be hard and it can be done in a number of ways such as margin notes, highlighting key items or taking notes on a separate sheet of paper.

Chunk Your Reading Assignments

One of the most overwhelming parts of reading a college textbook is that chapters are very lengthy. A good strategy is to break down a lengthy assignment into small manageable chunks. You will be more likely to finish reading the assignment as opposed to trying to read a full chapter in one sitting.


After you are done reading your assignment go back to your notes and write a quick summary of what you read. Look at your lecture notes and make connections to your reading notes. This strategy will also help you comprehend and retain the information.

To learn more strategies on how to read your college textbook check out this article.