Textbook Reading Hacks: Visual Learners

Okay, so I told you one way to determine your learning style already. If you happened to discover that you are primarily a visual learner (or if visual learning was one of your multi-modal strategies), I’m going to suggest a few ideas to help you learn by using our book.

Visual learners tend to do well with lots of color and ideas. One thing I tend to suggest is to read with a variety of colors of highlighters, pens, or colored pencils at the ready.

  • Use a different color to mark different types of things
    • Terms in one color
    • Concepts & explanations in a second
    • Examples in a third
  • Mark things in different ways
    • Use highlighting for a term
    • Underline a concept’s explanation
    • Draw a box around the example
  • Draw charts or graphs when needed
    • Use Venn diagrams (overlapping circles) to compare & contrast ideas
    • Use Web diagrams (mind maps) to show how ideas relate

The principle here is to make sure that you find ways to remember ideas later on.

One last idea: save a particular color for things I go over in class. This way, when you go through your materials and see that color, you can know that it was something I brought up in a class discussion, rather than something you read on your own. I have even seen students use a different color of notebook paper for that purpose.

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