When I am reading something I first assess what the point of the reading assignment is. If there is a key concept in the class that we are focusing on, I know that I should be looking for information that will help add to my knowledge of that concept. As I read I do have an internal conversation. I read something and go over what I just read and then decide if it’s important or rather decide if this helps to elaborate on the key concept. If it is a broad chapter of information I often look for any bullets, separate boxes containing information, or bold or italicized words that could all indicate important information.
When reading books for enjoyment it is a little harder to distinguish important points of what I am reading. I often remember or pay attention to main points such as characters and setting. It is more difficult to tell important parts of a book, because in a novel you often don’t know what will happen or what is important to pay attention to that will help in analyzing a situation later in the book. Oftentimes I will need to go back to the beginning to recap on specific details that will help to understand the passage later in the book that I have reached.
I think it really depends on what you are reading and why you are reading it to determine what is important in the text. Many school texts have a plain reason why we are reading it and so we know what kind of information is important for us to know in order to succeed in class, on a project, or on a test. When reading for pleasure something in the book may seem less important than others. For instance, something romantic happening in a story could be important to one person, but insignificant to the overall plot to another person reading the same book. Subjectivity comes into play when finding important features in a text because everyone comes from different backgrounds, has gained different background knowledge, and sees things differently. Because of this, everyone sees novels or class texts differently and may interpret some things more important than others. It is mainly important as a teacher to make clear to students the goal of what they should get out of the text and the purpose for reading the text for them to find the importance and meaning behind what they are reading.