In-depth reading is used to
- gain deeper meaning and comprehension of a text
- research detailed information for an assignment
- read difficult sections of a text
There are four different strategies or methods that should enhance your comprehension: the RAP strategy, the RIDA strategy, the Five S method, and SQ3R.
The RAP strategy
The RAP strategy is good for textbook explanations and research articles
Read (a paragraph or a section)
Ask yourself some questions about what you have just read
Put the answers in your own words (and make notes if you need)
You can use this strategy whenever you are reading a difficult passage or when you find your comprehension wandering from the page. By taking your eyes off the page and making yourself reflect on the meaning of what you have just read, you will find you can develop the ability to recall and retell yourself the information along with its relevant importance and where it fits with other information on the topic.
You may be able to say such things as: “Okay this section is about … and the author has made three main points which are … and … There was an example about … and the last point was that …”
The RIDA strategy
The RIDA strategy relates to descriptive and narrative texts.
Imagine the scene you have just read about
Describe it to yourself
Add more detail as you read
This strategy makes you reflect on the details about places, people, actions and events and create a picture based on the words and style of language used by an author. You can note which imagery has the most powerful effects and add your reactions in the form of margin notes.
The Five S method
The Five S method is a power-reading method that reminds students to use the appropriate reading style and save time (Gawith, 1991).
Skim: Read the introduction, summary and first and last sentences of each paragraph.
Scan: Where is the information on …?
Select: Do you need to read all this chapter? Select sections that you need to know more about.
Slurp: Read in-depth and more slowly selected sections. Can you tell yourself about this concept now? Read again if necessary.
Summarise: Use a map, keywords, index cards, or questions as a framework for some notes. Take no more than 10 minutes.
Survey: Skim through the material you are about to read, noting headings, sub-headings, diagrams, graphs, etc. This step is used the give you a general overview of the material you about to read.
Question: Ask yourself some questions about the material while you are reading, use the section/chapter headings, questions at the end of chapter or reading objectives from study guides.
Read: Read the material using a slower in-depth reading style. Pause frequently to answer the question you have raised, then read on. Read with a pencil and make margin notes or underline words or phrases which are important (e.g. definitions). Read all of the material, including charts and tables.
Recite: Make notes from memory on the sections you have just read. Try to recall the main headings and concepts.
Review: Check your recalled notes against the section that you read. Add in anything important that you missed out. Put a * by these points so that you attend to them when you go through these notes the next time. Repeat the review process a number of times.
References and further reading
Gawith, G. (1991). Power learning: A student's guide to success. Lower Hutt, New Zealand: Mills Publications. [Massey Library link]
Mulcahy, R. F., Marfo, K., Peat, D. W., & Andrews, J. (1987). SPELT: A strategies program for effective learning/thinking - inservice edition. Edmonton, Canada: Cognitive Education Project, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta.