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Reading to Learn


Reading to Learn, or R2L, is a project of Northwest Florida State College designed to support students’ learning through direct instruction of reading strategies. Because college students face heavy reading loads, they often find that keeping up with reading assignments is challenging and time-consuming. Reading strategies are powerful tools that help students become skilled readers of their textbooks.

This page features resources such as how-to handouts, tutorials, and links to web resources. You can also find a reading strategies inventory — the MARSI — that you can take to assess your knowledge and use of reading strategies.

Take the MARSI test

Strategy 1: Previewing

If you often find your mind straying when you read, you will find previewing strategies helpful. Previewing is a simple yet effective reading strategy that involves skimming the assigned reading before you begin reading in earnest. The strategy helps you activate background knowledge and define a purpose for your reading. Previewing also deepens your understanding of texts and enables you to learn more from what you read.

Previewing Strategy Tutorial

SQ3R Previewing Strategy

THIEVES Previewing Strategy

Strategy 2: Summarizing

If you have a difficult time figuring out what is important and what is not important in your reading assignments, you may want to practice a reading strategy called summarizing. Summarizing involves identifying the key points and concepts in a text and restating them in your own words. The more comfortable you become at identifying the main idea of a text, the more able you will be to learn from your reading.

Summarizing Tutorial

Read Strategy Tutorial

READ Handout

Gist Strategy Tutorial

Shrinking Paragraph Tutorial

Key-word Summary Handout

Strategy 3: Annotating

Annotation is an effective reading strategy that is particularly useful when struggling with dense academic texts. The strategy involves reading with pencil in hand and includes a variety of marking techniques that range from underlining and highlighting words and passages to writing notes, questions, et cetera, in the margins of the text.  It is an active strategy encouraging engagement, comprehension, and synthesis. Use annotation to get more mileage from your reading assignments and to become a more efficient and effective learner.

Annotation Tutorial

Annotation Handout

Triple-highlighting Strategy

Strategy 4: Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a reading strategy that helps you comprehend the overall structure, logic, and concepts contained in what you read. Creating mind maps of chapters, concepts, vocabulary, etc., will aid you in digesting and comprehending what you read.

Making a Mind Map – The Basics

Create a Mind Map

Mind-Mapping Tutorial

Interactive Tutorial (via University of Arizona)

TedX Talk: The Power of a Mind to Map

Workshop Schedule

All workshops are free and are held in the Student Success Center (Bldg 410). Materials are provided, but it is encouraged to bring your own. Please call (850) 729-5389 for more information or to set up a workshop.

Research Paper Problems: MLA Style Review

Research Paper Problems: APA Style Review