Of all the readings I have been assigned in English class this year, this one is the most in-depth and eye-opening. Outsmart Your Brain by Daniel Willingham made me fully sit up right after reading the first chapter. Willingham places a trap in there, and I fully fall for it. In the midst of explaining his assertion he places a short text to explain and asks the readers to pay attention to it, but the topic and final sentence fully contradict each other. The trap was to prove to readers that you might understand what each sentence means but if you cannot connect between the lines, there is no understanding or learning. As I realized this, I suddenly became much more attentive to what I was reading, and I picked up some habits alongside. Here is what I have learnt from the text:
(1) The majority of students (myself included) do not always understand advanced texts because of the default reading style, understanding lines but not making the overall connection. When reading, this is a crucial step, especially in texts that aren’t straight-forward, otherwise the basis of understanding is lost and a false meager of comprehension is provided. (2) Reading and highlighting important pieces of information in new and sophisticated text is a waste of time. You can’t possibly know what is important and what isn’t when reading new text, there is no background knowledge on it, and you’re only highlighting information you think is important, which could be wrong. Instead employ this method, SQ3R (survey, questions, read, recite and revise). First you survey the text, read a few headings or a summary, and get an idea of what the text is on. Make questions about the text from the information you gathered from the survey. Read the text. Recite and ensure you understand and remember what you read, as well as make notes. Revise the notes you have down. (3) How to take notes. ” Do you think your notes are good enough that even if you set them aside for a few weeks, reading them will be enable you to recover all of your insights into the content?” If your answer is no, your notes are not sufficient and your note-taking skills need to be worked on. After reading a chapter, write some things about it down. In your words, explain what you understand and ensure you take as much time and caution as you did reading the text. (4) Schedule appropriate times for reading. You’re assigned some reading to do on a new topic in a class, and you want to do it after basketball practice, not a smart move. Setting times for reading is as important is the reading itself. In addition, only reading summaries or lesson aids over the actual passage is extremely inefficient. A summary cannot compare to the actual text, with its nuanced explanations and word usage.