Reading and Note taking Strategies For Theatre
A number of reading strategies enhance student comprehension of theatre texts. SQ3R, reading guides, and margin notes are discussed in this section (J. Ihlenfeld, CAL).
Reading guides are lists of important information or review questions used to provide structure and organization while reading. To make a reading guide, compile a list of chapter headings or turn the chapter headings into questions to be answered in the reading. Make use of summary and review material at the end of each chapter.
Students are often tempted to highlight important information while reading theatre texts. While this approach may work for some students, the margin notes strategy is often more effective in maintaining student attention and insuring comprehension. Making margin notes keeps the student more active while reading, and it requires that one process information more completely.
The margin notes strategy is relatively simple and straightforward. As you read the text, underline the important terms, names, and concepts, and write your own summary or explanation in the margins. Margin notes may be transformed into study guides for test preparation (See test preparation for examples), or they may be incorporated into recopied lecture notes (See Below).
Note taking Strategies
In most theatre courses, several notetaking strategies may be used to improve note content and organization (J. Ihlenfeld, CAL).
It is important for students to prepare for lectures and notetaking. At the minimum, read the assigned text before it is covered in class. The lecture material will be more familiar and it will be easier to take good notes. In addition, students should review prior notes before each new class. Other preparation tasks are: compile or xerox term lists from the book to take to class, xerox illustrations from the book to take to class, and use chapter headings in the book to develop outline templates for recording notes.
Taping lectures using a cassette recorder allows students to make permanent records of the lectures. Students listen to the tapes after class to check the content of their notes and/or to review. Students must realize that taping is not a substitute for taking at least some notes in class. And, students should always obtain permission to record lectures from the instructor.
Focus on Terms and Concepts
Even if students have trouble taking notes during lecture, they should be encouraged to at least record terms, names, dates, and concepts. Then after class, students may consult the readings, tape recordings, and other sources for specific definitions and explanations.
Students should choose an appropriate format for organizing lecture notes. The Cornell method is highly recommended. Key terms, names, list titles, and concepts are recorded in the left-hand recall column of the notes, and more detailed notes are written in the right-hand column. Other formats include two column, REAP, and outlining.
Recopy and Reorganize
Frequent reviews of lecture notes should become a daily habit. One of the best ways to review notes is to recopy and/or reorganize them. Recopying and reorganization make reviewing a very active process, improving comprehension and retention of the information. Again, choose an organizational format appropriate to the type of material and one's personal learning preferences. Rewrite notes by hand or enter them into a word processing file. You may choose to incorporate margin notes you took from the readings when recopying your notes.