Adjusting Reading Habits to New Study Spaces

Contributed by Jane Currie

Did you have favorite places for particular reading before you started taking all of your classes online? Did you tend to read on campus and at favorite spots nearby—philosophy on the third floor of the IC, sociology at a favorite coffee spot, or the New York Times website on your morning commute, perhaps? If so, you may find you’re still adjusting to your new setting even as you begin final exam preparations.

Consider how you read and where in your new work and living space you might find the setting and comforts you need to read effectively and retain the words on the page.

Assess the conditions you prefer: What type of lighting, seating, and level of background sound serves you best? Consider the nature of the reading: Does it challenge you or do you find the content straightforward? As you consider your new reading options, be creative! Where can you create a nook that provides the kind of chair, light, and sound level optimum for the reading you have ahead of you?

In any setting, engage as an active reader. Take notes and gather questions to think through yourself or ask of classmates, your professor, or a librarian. After reading a section, challenge yourself to summarize or analyze what you’ve just read. If you cannot verbalize that, you haven’t retained your reading and need to return to it afresh.

Finally, remember to manage your time. Dedicate 25 minutes to sustained, concentrated reading. Then, give yourself a break! Rest your eyes. Stretch. Take a few deep breaths. Then resume, refreshed and ready for more.

Want to talk through notetaking strategies, ways to create a quieter study space, or methods for finding focus even with the stresses of our times? Write to librarian Jane Currie ( Let University Libraries partner with you as begin summer courses.

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