How do I go about deciding what is important as I read? It definately depends on what I'm reading. Of course for school readings, words in bold, bullets, or underlined always stand out. If there's a list, it's probably something important. Depending on the boring factor of the text, I may or may not have much of an inner dialogue. For instance, I'm reading a book called Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather. I find it extremely interesting, and many time's before I turn a page I'm compelled to read a passage again. Because it resonated within me, because it made me ask questions and seek the answers in myself, it is important enough to reread. In a book like 1984, basically it's all important to me. The details add to the full effect. My mind creates pictures, and it seems like the words are read to me by the author himself. I ask questions and notice the occasional daydream, but my feelings and thoughts attached with reading the book are important to me as well. So as far as my chosen books go, the important things are what make me think, question, go deeper into the story, and perhaps outside the story, creating my own version of a book's reality.
School books, honestly, are a different ballgame to me. Unless I find it interesting, I will skim a book and seek words I've heard in class, or seen in notes. The bold titles or questions at the end of a chapter are what I focus on if there's little time and interest. The connections I make with a book or chapter to class are what make things stick out as important to me. I'll make a mental note or post-it for passages that seem relevent and necessary for me to remember for a class. Above all, what I find to be important in text tends to be what makes me think and question my take on reality.