When it comes to reading texts, I read in a completely different way than I would if I were reading a book for enjoyment. I think this is natural as texts seem to not have a flowing plot but are designed as informational guides. The way I decide what is important is usually by first noting what the author felt was important. If I am taking notes I always use the headers somewhere in them because they are a good way to know what the author felt was important and to organize notes. Another way I decide what is important is dependent upon the class that it is for. If I am in a teaching math methods class and am reading a text for it, I am going to try to pull out any math methods information that would be useful. It is most useful in reading to know ahead of time the purpose of your reading, otherwise it can get muddled with unnecessary information and note taking. Finally, along with using the aforementioned methods for reading texts, as I am reading I tend to skip over concepts I already know. From class to class and book to book, there can be a lot of repetitiveness. If I am absolutely sure that there is a section of my reading over a concept I am certain I have mastered then I will just skip it. There is no use, to me, in reading over something I already know when I could be reading and gaining new insights on a completely foreign concept.
When reading texts I tend to not have as much internal conversation going on. This could be why I come out of reading a text with little comprehension the first time around. I seldomly ask myself questions about what I am reading because oftentimes it involves a lot of new ideas that I am simply trying to understand. Usually at that stage the questions are mostly “what does this mean?” Which is usually answered later in the text or in class.
When it comes to knowing what is important in a text, I rely, as I said before, on the topic at hand, or questions the teacher poses. There are so many details in texts that unless there is some guidance as to what you are looking for, you could very easily get lost. It is easiest to pick out the important parts if the teacher provides thought provoking questions or if there is a “sum it up” section at the end to help guide the thought process.