Previewing a Difficult Text
text's arrangement can help you comprehend it more easily. Consider
the following factors:
- Does the reading begin with an abstract, a summary of the text
and/or a biographical note on the author that can help you get
started and interested?
- Do the first few paragraphs include not only an explicit thesis
statement but also a preview of the reading ("In this article,
first . . . second . . .")?
- Is the text divided into sections? Are headings used as each
- Are key terms identified by italics or bold letters? Are key
quotations highlighted? Are illustrations used to reinforce main
- What typical pattern(s) of organization are used, such as cause
and effect, general to specific, and problem and solution?
- Are there post reading questions that can guide your reading
if you read them first?
- Are there explanatory footnotes? Is there a later glossary of