How to Mark a Textbook




Marking a textbook properly is an excellent way to interact with and master the information.  See it as your opportunity to have a dialog with the book.




First, mark your textbook, short section by short section (a few paragraphs to a page or so), only AFTER you have read the short section.  Do not mark while you are actively reading the section.   Once you have finished the active reading, go back through it and mark the appropriate items (the “Big Six”).  This gives you a second “touch” on the information. 


Second, use highlight pens sparingly.  Highlight pens make it too tempting to mark too much information or information of little use.  In addition, highlight pens do not distinguish among different types of information (The Big Six).


So grab a pencil instead and consider giving the following guidelines a try:






TERMS—using your pencil, draw a box around key terms.


DEFINITIONS—again using your pencil, underline the definitions that go with those terms.  Underline ONLY definitions.


EXAMPLES—bracket examples and write “EX of _________” in the margin to the left of the example.


LISTS—number lists of items or steps (enumerations) using 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  Place the corresponding number at the beginning of each new item.


REASONS WHY—bracket reasons why and write “REASON for ________” in the margin to left of the reason.


ITEMS on the BOARD—does not apply to textbooks.