Why Read Texts?

Why is taking time to read texts important to you?  Watch the video below to explore the ways that reading textbooks supports your learning.  If you prefer reading to watching videos, scroll below the video to read the video transcript.

Video Transcript: Why Read Texts?

At the beginning of the workshop, you identified some possible barriers to reading your textbooks. Maybe reading takes a long time. Maybe you’re not sure how spending all that time reading fits in to your overall work and learning in your courses. So, before we talk about howto read a textbook, let’s think through some reasons why reading a textbook might help you with your learning.  Here are a few reasons to consider. As you hear these reasons, think about the ones that are most important to you.

Reason #1 — Reading Textbooks helps you get the most out of your class time.  This is especially true if you are able to read your textbook before going to class.  Why? Because if you are hearing a lot of material in lecture for the very first time, it can often be difficult to take good notes and understand how all of the concepts fit together.  But, if you’re able to read your textbook before you go to class, you’ll already have a general understanding of the most important topics in that unit.  You’ll have been able to learn some of the key words, and you’ll have a good idea of what you already understand well and what you might not quite understand yet.  That way, when you go to class, your instructor’s lecture will support and strengthen the things that you’re already starting to learn.  You’ll be equipped to ask good questions and to participate well in class.  Overall, you’ll get more out of the time you spend in class.

Reason #2 – Most textbooks include some additional resources to help you study.  Here’s just a few examples of things that could be helpful to you.

a. Many textbooks include the Learning Objectives at the beginning of the chapter.  These help you to know right away what are the most important things in the chapter, and what you should be able to do by the time you have finished studying this part of the course.

b. Often, textbooks will highlight new words.  These might be at the side of every page, the words might be in bold, or the textbook might include a glossary of key terms.  Often, you’ll need to understand these words well to understand your instructor’s lecture and often, these words are tested on your exam.

c. Many textbooks also include study questions and practice problems.  If you’re able to do a few of these every week as you go along in the course, you’ll be more prepared when it comes to your exam time.  This is especially true in classes like accounting, math, or chemistry, where you are tested on how well you can solve problems.

d. As well, many textbooks include online resources like videos or online quizzes. These can help you to review the key concepts in your class.

Reason #3 for reading textbooks —  In many courses, it is important to read the textbook to do well on the exam. In university, in addition to the time you spend in class, you are also expected to spend some time in independent study. Most instructors will include questions from the textbook on the exam, and these things might not have been covered in class.  If you rely only on your class notes, you might miss some key concepts that you’ll need to know for your exam.

And lastly, reason #4 – You become a better reader by reading.  Learning to read textbooks well prepares you to read other complex material that you’ll encounter throughout your studies and later on in your career.  Reading efficiently is a skill that you will use throughout your life – not just in your current classes.

Let’s summarize what we’ve just discussed.  What are some good reasons to spend time reading textbooks?

1.  Because it will help you to get the most out of your classes.

Reason 2.  Because textbooks have resources that will help you study

Reason 3.  Because reading your text will ensure you know all of the material that will be included on your exams.

And reason 4.  Because reading textbooks helps you develop strong reading skills for life

Which of these reasons seems most important to you?  Do you have another reason that you could add to this list?  Complete the reflection on the next page to identify your motivations for reading texts.

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Why Read Texts? by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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