• So much of your time at university is spent reading, it has got to be worth your while to spend a little time exploring the strategies you can use to get better at it. Of course the purpose of reading is to make sense of it, react to it, use it. To do this you need to develop the mindset (and skills) of reading critically. Below are suggestions for starting points for both aspects of reading.

    Reading strategies

    • Reading skills
      (RMIT, Aus) This is a perfect introduction to developing efficient reading skills. It includes:
    • Reading at university
      (Edinburgh Napier University, UK) Also an excellent introduction to all aspects of reading – with student comments, clear and helpful reading skills from skimming and scanning, primary and secondary sources, to reading journal articles. All clearly set out and easy to follow.
    • Managing academic reading
      (Reading University, UK) suggests that you are focused and selective in your approach to reading – and suggests ways to improve your reading skills.
    • Textmapping
      (R. David Middlebrook, The textmapping project) Textmapping helps you see the whole article, not just 2 pages at a time. Print off on one side only, tape the pages together, and stand back. You'll see the different elements, structure, even the development of the argument. Great for anyone, especially if you like visual and kinaesthetic learning.
    • How to read 10 books (or thereabouts) in an hour
      (University of Cambridge, UK) Just because a book or article is there, it doesn't mean you have to read it all! A 1-page bulleted summary on how to use the structure of books and articles to speed up your decision-making about reading
    • Reading - thoughts from Brookes students
      Anything here for you?

    Critical reading

    • Critically processing what you read
      (Open University, UK) explains what you should be doing to analyse, compare and synthesise material as you read, and gives a checklist on evaluating sources you find.
    • Reading and research: developing argument
      Chapter 5 of A Visual Guide to Essay Writing helps you make the connection between your reading, and how it contributes to your thinking. It includes reading critically, keeping track of notes and sources - all in an accessible style, with witty illustrations and examples.

    For postgrads

    Critical thinking - critical reading

    (RMIT, Aus) This thoughtfully designed resource shows you step-by-step how to develop as a critical thinker and bring this approach to your reading. Work your way through it.