Chapter 5. Reading and Notetaking

Career Connection

Sanvi is a pre-nursing student who is having trouble between all the reading she is expected to complete, her general dislike of reading, and her need to comprehend both her reading assignments and her own notes to be successful in nursing school. She has spoken with several of her instructors and a tutor at the Student Success Center on campus, and their advice centers around Sanvi’s reluctance to read in general. She is working on how to manage her time so she has more dedicated time to read her assignments in between her classes and her work schedule.

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

Sanvi’s nursing instructor reminded her 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.

Nurses/doctors Patient charts, prescription side effects, medical articles
Teachers Student work, lesson plans, educational best practices
Architects Blueprints, construction contracts, permit manuals
Accountants Financial spreadsheets, tax guidelines, invoices, trend diagrams
Beauticians Client hair and facial features, best practices articles, product information
Civil engineers Work site 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 her 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 notetaking skills now that you have some more strategies?


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