11 Reflecting on What You Read

Whenever you finish a piece of reading, it’s worth your time to stop and reflect on it. This not only helps you think about the content and what it means to you, but it also helps cement it within your memory, allowing you to recall the key ideas later and to apply them in other reading and writing situations. You can also use these later for gathering ideas for your assignments.

Here are two ideas for post-reading reflection:

  • Write in a personal reading journal.
  • Angelo and Cross suggest writing a “minute paper.” To do this, take one minute to jot down a few sentences about something you learned or discovered while reading. Or ask yourself a question about the reading and write an answer.

When you work with a text, you enter into a conversation with it, responding with your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. The way each of us responds to any text has a lot to do with who we are: our age, education, cultural background, religion, ethnicity, and so forth.
As you explore a text, be aware of how you’re responding to it.

  • Are you reading or exploring easily and fluidly, or are you finding it difficult to navigate the text? Why do you think this is happening?
  • Do you find yourself responding with some sort of strong emotion? If so, why do you think that may be feeling this way?
  • Do formatting or structural issues (examples: unusual use of punctuation, use of dialect or jargon) affect your navigation of the text?
  • Can you identify with the text’s central idea or the information it’s sharing?
  • Have you had any experiences like those being described? Can you identify with the story?
  • Are you able to identify the surface meaning?
  • Have you explored the text’s deeper, hidden messages?
  • Do you need to look up any words to do any quick research? If so, does this help you better understand the text?
  • What questions do you have about the work?


First, read the Canadian Running article “Junk miles: Are “easy” runs sabotaging your training?

Next, write a minute paper (see description above) by jotting down a few sentences in response to one of these questions:

  1. What do you think of the idea that you run “wrong”?
  2. Do you have any emotional response to the idea of being a hard-core runner, or even of getting fit? Explain.
  3. Do you have any experience with running? If no, does that affect your ability to pay attention to the more detailed parts of the text? If yes, do you find you absorb this material better?

Text Attributions

  • This chapter was adapted from “Reflect” in The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear, which is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 Licence. Adapted by Allison Kilgannon.

Media Attributions


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Advanced English Copyright © 2021 by Allison Kilgannon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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