Skip to Content

Reading Skills

Reading Resources


Being presented with a reading list on a new course can be daunting for most students. They worry over how much to read, which bits of books and papers are releveant, and how to make effective notes from readings so that they can understand and remember the important points. 

The first thing you should do when you are given a reading list is to find out which books and papers are necessary for particular lectures, tutorials or seminars and essays. If this is not clear from your module handouts do not be afraid to ask them to direct you to the most useful texts. By doing this you will be breaking up your reading into more manageable chunks and it will seem less of an obstacle.

Generally your module guide, or lecture/tutorial handout, will specify certain readings as ESSENTIAL. These are the ones you really should take the time to read.

Then there may be sources under SUGGESTED reading. These are generally very useful and will bolster your knowledge beyond set texts. Use them for essays, seminar presentations and perhaps, revision for exams.

FURTHER reading lists can be dipped into, if you have the time, when it comes to essays.

Remember – you are not expected to read everything or to read texts from cover to cover. The whole idea of academic reading is to train you to be SELECTIVE. However, it is good to get into the habit of reading beyond the set texts. But again, do not worry; deciding what to read will come with practice.

Download Resources

Reading Skills Handout

Reading Tips

Research Quick Notes Sheet (a useful resources for making quick notes as you read)

Critical Notes Sheet (a useful resources for making more detailed notes as you read)


1. Learning Styles

2. General Study Skills

3. Note Taking in Lectures

4. Reading Skills