Too much reading? How to tackle assignments like a pro
Assignment #1: First 60 pages of Huckleberry Finn
Here’s how to tackle it: Log on to Wikipedia or a Cliff Notes-type website and print out a character list—that way, you at least won’t be confused by the various people popping in and out of the story. Start strong by reading the first chapter or so carefully, taking note of the way the author writes as well as various similes, metaphors, symbols, motifs and themes that crop up (hello, participation points!). You want to get a feel for the flow of the novel. Got that down and now in a time crunch? Read the first and last pages of the following chapters—or at least enough to get a grasp of what’s going on. Before test time, try to go back and dig deeper into the stuff you skimmed.
Assignment #2: MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail for history class
Here’s how to tackle it: If you’re reading it online or from a book, do yourself a favor and print out a copy. Now, grab a highlighter and a pen in a bright color, and get to work. Start by highlighting statements that sound important to you. Don’t stop to consider them yet, just make it through the whole thing, first. Now, go back to the beginning and use your pen to circle the article’s thesis statement, or the general idea. Then use that pen to underline the examples or arguments he uses to make his point. If your assignment has you looking for certain devices, look persuasive techniques, go ahead and note those, too.
Assignment #3: One chapter for bio
Here’s how to tackle it: Read the intro to the chapter to understand what it is you’re supposed to be learning, than flip through the following pages and read each bolded heading and subheading so you can get an idea for the way this lesson will progress. Then, take a peek at the problem solving questions at the end of the chapter to get your brain thinking critically. Now, head back to the beginning, re-read the intro, and plow right into the material. Don’t forget to take your time and look at the pictures, illustrations and diagrams! Sometimes those can be even more helpful than the text.