Use a Graphic Organizer

We have officially made it through the first section of this series (planning) and now we are on to the second section (reading)! I am super excited to talk about this because reading textbooks always seems to be the most challenging part of studying! I mean, it’s challenging enough to find time to READ as it is. And, as you have probably noticed, textbooks aren’t exactly thrilling, edge-of-your-seat page turners. Comprehending and retaining info from textbooks takes strategy, planning, and discipline!  
I had never really effectively gleaned a lot of information from textbooks that I read on my own until I started this Teacher’s Education Program. Last year, I had this awesome, awesome professor who made us fill out a graphic organizer each week with information from the assigned reading. They were only worth 10 points each… but as the semester went on, everyone in the class got so into making them!

We used markers, colored pens, crayons and displayed them in our classroom (yes, like a bunch of 1st graders)! And even though it was an easy and fun assignment for a grade, guess what? It totally helped us learn the information, too! It really helped to see the chapter outlined so simply. Not only that, but it made the CONTENT of the chapter more memorable. I can literally still tell you what some of those chapters were about and even some direct quotes! This was a whole new strategy for comprehension!

Now, whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content or the complexity of a chapter, I print out one of these little graphic organizers and just start breaking the big chapter down into smaller, bite-sized amounts of information. You can use a color coding system for this or just make it as pretty as you want. Another great thing about using these organizers is that they are super easy to study!

You can hang them on the wall, stick them to a bulletin board, slide them into the plastic part of a binder and easily review the information throughout the day. It’s so much better than having to drag out a messy notebook full of dense notes! There are also a ton of places to find these for free online! I typically just type “free graphic organizers” into Google or Pinterest and print out ones that look helpful for whatever it is that I’m trying to accomplish! This is seriously one of the best note taking plans ever!
After all, it’s hard to feel intimidated by information that’s shaped like a cheeseburger! 🙂

Did your teachers give you graphic organizers in grade school? Have you tried using them as a college student? Do you think this would help you keep from feeling overwhelmed from by textbooks?! 

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