Guided Reading Activity

So far in this module, you have learned about techniques for active reading and observed them being applied. Now, it’s time to try them out. We will do this in a guided practice manner, meaning that below you will find directions to guide your active reading practice session. At the end of this activity, self-assess how it went and if needed, connect with the Learning Curve. The Learning Curve can support you in applying what you’ve learned in this module to your courses and assigned readings.

For this activity, you are going to use the Pomodoro Technique. Start by watching this video (2 minutes 21 seconds) overview of what it is:

Now, let’s follow the steps outlined in the video!

Step 1: Chose the task

For this activity, your task is to apply active readings techniques to an assigned reading in one of your courses. Now is the time to open the text and get ready to read. Select a location with reduced distractions, if possible. Think about what techniques you want to use. If you are using the SQ3R method you may want to have the steps with you for quick reference.

Step 2: Set the timer for 25 minutes

You can use any timer for this. You may want to try the Pomodoro Timer website because it allows you to customize the length of your break and you can track the task you are working on.

Step 3: Focus

Focus and work on the task at hand, reading your text and applying the strategies.

Start with 5 minutes for pre-reading and activating your prior knowledge.

  • Preview the text by flipping through the pages and reading the titles, headings, subheadings, bolded words, defined words, and illustrations.
  • Think about what you already know about the topic.
  • Make connections between the text, your life, and what you are learning in the course.
  • Set a purpose for reading the text — why are you reading and what do you hope to accomplish?
  • Restate any questions, titles, or heading in your own words.

Read while continually asking questions to monitor your understanding of the text, such as:

  • What is the author saying?
  • How could I say this in my own words?
  • Am I understanding what I am reading?

At the 20-minute mark, stop reading so that you can engage in the post-reading phase. This phase helps reinforce your understanding of the text. It helps codify, or cement, the information in your brain so that you are more likely to remember it later. Take five minutes to:

  • summarize what you read in 3-5 sentences;
  • ask yourself, “What is the most important information in this text?”;
  • write down questions or items you want to review again;
  • reread confusing parts or unknown words.

Step 4: Break!

Your 25-minute timer will be buzzing now. Well done, you’ve completed your 25-minute reading session. Time to take a break! You deserve it.

Step 5: Reflect

How did it go? Were you able to focus for 25 minutes? Were you able to apply the active reading techniques? If it didn’t go as well as you hoped or you’re looking for more advice, please connect with your instructor or the Learning Curve.

Career Connection

Sanvi is a nursing student who is having trouble between all the reading they are expected to complete, their general dislike of reading, and their need to comprehend both their reading assignments and their own notes to be successful in nursing school. They have spoken with several of their instructors and a tutor at the Learning Curve on campus, and their advice centres around Sanvi’s reluctance to read in general. Sanvi is working on how to manage their time so they have more dedicated time to read their assignments in between classes and their work schedule.

That is helping some, but Sanvi is still worried because they know one problem is that they don’t exactly know what types of reading or note-taking they would need to know how to do as a nurse. This confusion makes them doubt that the extra reading they are doing now is really beneficial. After some reflection on what was holding them back, Sanvi mentioned this aspect of their studying to one of their instructors who had been a hospital nurse for years before coming to the college to teach. They recalled that the first time they read a patient chart in the hospital, they had to think quickly about how to get all the meaning out of the chart in the same way they would have read a complex textbook chapter.

Sanvi’s nursing instructor reminded them that all professions need their personnel to read. They may not all need to read books or articles, but all jobs involve reading to some extent; for example, consider this list of disciplines and the typical types of reading they do. You may be surprised that not all reading is in text form.


patient charts, prescription side effects, medical articles


student work, lesson plans, educational best practices


blueprints, construction contracts, permit manuals


financial spreadsheets, tax guidelines, invoices, trend diagrams


client hair and facial features, best practices articles, product information

Civil engineers

worksite maps, government regulations, financial spreadsheets

Auto mechanics

car engines, auto manuals, government regulations

As this incomplete list shows, not every job you pursue will require you to read text-based documents, but all jobs require some reading.

  • How could Sanvi and their instructor use this list to make more sense of how college reading will prepare Sanvi to be a stronger nurse?
  • How would understanding the types of professional reading help you complete your reading assignments?
  • If your chosen field of study is not listed above, can you think of what sort of reading those professionals would need to do?
  • Think about the questions that opened this chapter and what you have read. How do you feel about your reading and note-taking skills now that you have some more strategies?

Where do you go from here?

Reading is such a part of our everyday lives that we sometimes take it for granted. And even we don’t formally write down our thoughts, we take notes in our heads far more often than we use our note-taking skills to make sense of a textbook passage or a graphic. Honing these fundamental skills can only help you succeed in college and beyond. What else about reading and note taking would you like to learn more about? Choose topics form the list below to research more.

  • How to maximize e-readers to comprehend texts.
  • How professionals use reading and note-taking in their careers.
  • Is speed-reading a myth or a viable strategy?
  • Compare the reading and note-taking strategies you use to those from different countries.



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