Checklist for Reading Purposes


Reading to Be Informed

Before you read:
  • Determine what you want to learn or find out from the material.
  • Look over what you will read.
  • Skim to find out how the author has chosen to present the material.
  • Ask yourself what you already know about the topic(s) the author will cover.
  • Jot some predictions on paper about what you expect to learn from the text.

As you read:

  • Underline, highlight, or take notes to help you construct meaning and recall important information.
  • Ask yourself continually, `Do I understand what I just read and do I see how it fits?'
  • Pay attention to titles, chapter, and subheadings.
  • Examine any tables, illustrations, bold-face print, underlining, colored print, captions, glossaries, and other aids the author has provided.

  • Pause during your reading to reflect upon and organize new information and link it to what you already know.
  • When you don't understand something, review your notes to see where you got off track, reread the passage, talk to another person, or consult such resources as a dictionary.

After you read:

  • Summarize what you have read by restating main ideas from the text.
  • Evaluate your notes and understanding.
  • Reread any passages that you did not understand.
  • Apply new ideas from the text to broader situations to extend thinking.
  • Evaluate the ideas presented in the text.
  • Jot down any questions you still have about the topic.
  • Use study strategies for notetaking, locating, and remembering to improve learning in the subject area.

Reading to Perform a Task

Before you read:
  • Determine what you want to be able to do.
  • Skim to find out how the author has chosen to present the material.
  • Determine if the directions are organized in a way that would be easy for you to follow.

As you read:

  • Read all of the directions once to get a general sense of the task you are being asked to perform.
  • Read the materials again to learn the specific directions.
  • Summarize each direction on paper in your own words or illustrations.
  • Pay close attention to the illustrations or diagrams the author has provided.
  • Pause after each direction you read, and make a picture in your mind of what you are supposed to do.
  • When you come to something important that you don't understand, try rereading it, or ask someone else for help if you can.
  • Use resources such as a dictionary to look up important words that you don't understand.
  • Think ahead about any difficulty you might have in being able to perform the task.

After you read:

  • Review your summary of the directions by comparing them to the original materials.
  • Revise your ideas as necessary.
  • Perform the task.

Reading for Literary Experience

Before you read:
  • Set a purpose for reading.
  • Preview the material to generate questions you would like answered.
  • Think about the title, pictures, and ideas to help you to predict what the selection is about.

As you read:

  • Stop and retell the main events to see if you understand what has happened.
  • See if you can answer any of the questions you asked before you started to read.
  • Continue to predict the outcome of the reading as you move through the material.
  • Reread some parts or read ahead to see if you can figure out what is happening if things aren't making sense.
  • Think about how the author uses special words or phrases to communicate.
  • Use context clues or a dictionary to help you determine the meaning of unknown words.
  • Think about how your own experience compares to the characters' experiences.

After you read:

  • See if you met your purposes for reading.
  • Think about what questions you still have about the story.
  • Consider whether the plot is realistic.

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This site was developed by the Department of Staff Development, in collaboration with the Division of Instruction. Questions, comments, and other inquiries may be addressed to Allene Chriest ( or Jeff Maher  (