I, like every other college student, have had plenty of opportunity to work on my reading skills. The large amounts of reading assigned to me has helped me over the years to work on finding what is important in what I am reading. I feel it is important for me to understand how I figure out what is important when I am reading, as well as what goes on in my head while I read, because it will better able me to explain these processes to new readers.
When reading college texts it is fairly easy to determine what is important in the reading. Usually, what has been discussed in class is being supported by the assigned reading and therefore I have an idea of what main points to pay attention to. I use a highlighter to mark the main ideas of paragraphs and other interesting facts; so that I can remember what I thought was important. The internal conversation I have while reading college texts usually connects the reading back to something else, either read before or talked about in class. I also try to imagine myself using the techniques or lesson ideas, presented in the reading, in my own classroom. This helps me to better understand what the lesson or idea is about and to visualize its usefulness.
When I read for enjoyment, rather than for school, my process for deciding what is important is different. It is harder for me to determine what is important while reading novels because if I do not know what is going to happen in the book I cannot determine what is important information and what is not. My internal conversation while reading novels for pleasure talks through major events. If an important event has happened in the book I then try to think about why it was important, how it related back to the beginning of the book, and how this certain event will/will not change the course of the book. I also have a constant running visual of the images and events that happen when I read, because if I did not do this I would lose focus and begin to think about other things unrelated to the book, while still continuing to read.
My reading of college texts differs from that of reading novels for pleasure, however, I always try to connect the reading to something while having some sort of a visual to keep me focused.