Strategy #1: Using titles and boldfaced headings in textbooks

Many textbooks use boldfaced headings to signal topics within a chapter. The better textbooks, for our previewing purposes, also use color coding and/or variable sizing. Both of these help students understand the organization of the chapter. The organization, in turn, lets students understand how the chapter fits together into a pattern of information building on information. Remember, students are constantly entering new fields of learning, and they may need all the help they can get to reach a point where they can focus on what is being said, why it is being said, and why it is important. Here are some basic instructions you can give to your students:

1. Skim through all the boldfaced headings in the chapter, thoughtfully, beginning with the title.
2. List your learning goals for the reading and consider what the chapter is attempting to teach.

This activity stimulates interest and helps provide a framework to establish purposes and goals for reading. It also creates an awareness of prior knowledge to build new learning.