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Active reading

About this guide

At University you need to read a wide variety of information. In fact, active reading is a core skill for both study and for future professional roles. This short self-paced guide will develop your active reading and your learning skills. By engaging with this guide, you’ll learn tips and tricks to make it easier to:  


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Read different types of information sources

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Find and use Unit Readings

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Read and take purposeful notes

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Reference articles, books, and other resources

Readings at Deakin

Most units at Deakin have set readings known as your Unit Reading List. Key things to know about Unit Reading Lists:

  • Reading Lists may be grouped into weeks, concepts or topics depending on the Unit.
  • Each item on your reading list should have a description as either prescribed, recommended, or further reading.
  • The reading description is set by your lecturer and it tells you more about the reading so you can make informed choices on time spent reading. 

Reading before class

Completing weekly readings before class helps you to develop discipline-specific vocabulary and have a better understanding of the topic. It allows you to write down questions to ask in class and to contribute more confidently to discussions.  

Unit readings help you understand your course content and support you in completing your assessments. They build your knowledge of key concepts over time. All of this is key to you developing a body of knowledge in your field. 

Reading after class

Reviewing or re-reading texts after you've covered the content in class allows you to read in a more informed and engaged way. It builds deeper understanding of the topic and concepts. A great way to do this is talking to a friend about what you have read and trying to explain the key elements to them.  

Readings are important to prepare for tests and examinations.

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