Any Tips for Reading Textbooks?

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    • #116063

      I was recently diagnosed with ADHD (within the past few months), and I’m still trying to figure out some skills to cope academically with my attention problems. I was a voracious reader as a kid, but now I can’t read a textbook for the life of me. I find myself reading the same page over and over for a half hour just trying to understand the one page, and I don’t have the time or energy to finish five pages, let alone an entire chapter. I can still read novels very easily when I find them interesting, and when the text is less interesting to me, I use audiobooks and that works out for me. I’m starting college next fall so I was hoping for some tips if anyone has any to give!!

    • #116065

      Hi I’m a high school student and i hate reading textbooks too. What i try to do is find an online version of the textbook and then you can use accessibility features on your phone to read it to you. If you have a computer there’s a program called read and write that also can read your textbook. If you don’t want to listen to your textbook read it in very small chunks. As soon as you find that you aren’t paying attention, stop reading take a break and start reading again in a minute or two. One last option is that if you have any really close friends have them help you with reading or have them read it for you.
      Hope this helps!

    • #116074

      Cool advice is to read it out loud, add intonation, even if it is bare figures and an object or book that is of no interest to you. You will not be able to lose attention by reading out loud, and this is useful, and with a bonus you create your own mood. Reading will go slowly, but this is a real way out, believe me, I myself have come across what you are describing.

    • #116159

      1) Skim through the contents page for that chapter and sub headers and have some basic questions, like what it means, how to do something, why is it important, categories for something.

      Eg for my special dietary requirements subject, the main points are types of special dietary requirements , religious dietary requirements, what are my responsibilities as a chef for these customers and how we would prepare food safely for them to avoid killing them / making them sick. After that, I would read each part in detail. After reading a chapter, I would record myself saying a summary with some brief explanations in my own words within 5-10 minutes without looking at the text.

      2) Record your lectures/lessons using your phone or a voice recorder and listen to it after class. I don’t catch everything in class so it helps me to fill in the gaps.

      3) Make it interesting by reading/watching related content.

      I’m a fantasy novel fan, so I think I need to read things with a story instead of just facts like a science subject. For example, for my biology elective about stem cells, I read articles about case studies and breakthroughs in stem cell research in other countries via magazines or newspaper articles, like how they use it to regrow different body parts. Or I watch documentaries about science stuff.

      4) If you are an audio person, listening to relaxing background music may help to concentrate a bit longer like 15 minutes. I get distracted easily by noise so I can concentrate well as long as I’m listening to music in a quiet place.

    • #116226

      I recently started taking online classes, which means reading the textbook is no longer “optional” (in quotes because it was always required, even when I didn’t do it). I have a pen and I track the pen along the bottom of each each line. I read to keep up with the pen (although I will re-read if I get distracted and miss stuff). I underline anything I want to remember. This helps because you end up reading the underlined portion an extra time or two, and you have to focus on it as you underline.

    • #116292
      Penny Williams

      If you have a diagnosed learning disability, you can use Bookshare for free. It reads aloud in sync and has other tolls. My son was approved for the free version with only a diagnosis of ADHD.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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