Continuing from the last article on how to effectively read and learn from a book, I bring you the next in line – a topic which was better to be explained in a separate article – the trouble of correctly highlighting paragraphs. Highlighting is essential for understanding most of the topics and simply to highlight those for later.

What is Paragraph Highlighting?

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Paragraph highlighting or marking is actually not just that yellow or light green background that you’d be smudging over the text but a lot more. For an avid reader it’s both the already read past and indication to take it for notice in future. Paragraph highlighting, which should be correctly called Paragraph Marking – is the process in which you, while reading a book or according to someone’s instruction – tick a certain parts of chapter of a book. Highlighting can be done by colored highlighters, pencils, pens and certain symbol types.

How to correctly do paragraph highlighting?

Choose any one from the options below to highlight a book – or even notebooks:

  • Color highlighters: This are most popular and can easily attract your attention to the parts it was used. But if the page is of poor quality – this option may rather ruin your reading experience. Additionally, highlighters’ inks are known not to last forever. By time you’d see highlighted area fading away. Also, that – there is no undo in highlighters.
  • Pencils: Better option to highlight but not as popular as color highlighters.  As the pencils come in many colors, these can be used to stylize highlights in multiple colors. Also, such highlights can easily be fixed as pencil marks are erasable. Unlike Color highlighters, pencils can also be used to make small notes over book if needed.
  • Pens: Widely used underline tool. Can not be used for regular highlighting purpose.
  • Certain symbol types: Check – how the bullet lists have been converted into checklists. Such symbol type can be used to show mental acceptance of facts. Tick (✔) for the matter you want to remember for later. Tick (✘) for the parts that are not even to be considered. Other symbols like stars, boxes etc. can be used for similar purposes.

Once chosen your favorite tool, you can start highlighting and underlining chapters of your choice.

Highlight only important text

At first read, your instinct will tell you to highlight everything as everything you read will appear correct. But that is not correct. You can not highlight everything you want. You will have to understand what’s important and what really is not. Proper highlighting comes from months or year of practice. Make sure the text you are highlight right now if extremely important. If it’s not leave it away – or just underline using a pencil or any other secondary material.

Highlight the words you don’t know

This is important as well. Highlighting unknown words make you learn those words and also to remember those better. You can circle around those words if you are prefer pen or pencil as your preferred medium.

Be as creative you can be but keep the book clean, please

Poor highlighting can ruin the appearance of the book. So, make sure that all highlights are done elegantly making sure no extra marks are made. If you find something, of one or two words, to note – you can do that on the book page using a pencil or pen. But don’t do that often. For note-taking, there are notebooks and apps – use those. In short, don’t write a lot inside the book. Sticky notes can be an option for proper writing inside the book if that has to be.
That’s all for now but I’ll leave you with this CrashCourse video:

This article is part of a series on Become a better student

Gaurav Tiwari

A designer by profession, a mathematician by education but a Blogger by hobby. Loves reading and writing. Just that.

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