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Textbook Note Taking
The textbooks you buy for class are tools for learning. Unlike television, textbooks are not passive instruments, they require active manipulation. When you sit down to read, have a pencil in your hand ready to respond to the author. Take notes in your texts.
The purpose of book note taking is really twofold: 1. It will serve as a process to keep you actively involved in your reading, and 2. It will serve as a valuable review/study aid for tests.
When taking textbook notes, keep the following pointers in mind.
Respond. Your margin notes are your reaction to what the author is saying. This means that you must question, speculate, disagree, agree, highlight, list, and emphasize key ideas. The simple motor response of marking your text will serve to reinforce your mental involvement with the reading.
Economize. Be sure not to over mark your book. Too many notes, symbols, and graphics in the text will not only junk up your book, it will clutter your review later.
Focus. Economically zero in on the author’s main points. Highlight key phrases, jot down pertinent facts, write a brief statement of purpose for a paragraph or a section, number lists of facts or ideas; in short, do what you have to do, but remember that your notes are used to jog your memory later. They do not have to restate all that you have read. A cluttered text will result in cluttered study later.
Create. When you take notes don’t simply paraphrase the author. Use your own words. This will intensify your thinking about the reading. Moreover, when it comes time for review, you will know what your notes mean because they are yours.
Systematize. Develop a symbol system for text notes and use it consistently. This means constructing a meaningful system of graphic codes: brackets, parentheses, arrows, stars, underlines, quotation marks, etc.
Conceptualize. Whenever feasible develop a diagram or flow chart to help put information together. Often the visual inter-relationships that a diagram provides will help you understand the material
Below are some suggested symbols for textbook marking.
Sample Textbook Marking Symbols