Textbooks are often overlooked in discussions about note-taking. When students take notes from their textbooks they can practice extracting and summarizing key information before class. Taking notes while reading a textbook will add a few minutes to the reading time, but it also helps students retain information and allow them to make quizzable study tools without repeating work.

As with lecture notes, students should summarize and not try to recopy the textbook. I teach students that when taking notes and actively reading they should spend about 5 minutes per page. This means that most college students can complete a chapter in less than an hour, and most high school students in less than 30 minutes.

In the video, I explain two different approaches students can use to integrate their textbook notes into the two-step note-taking process. My preferred approach is that students take textbook notes BEFORE class. Students can use their textbook notes to quickly structure their lecture notes. This is a great method for everyone because it primes the brain for the information during the lecture. It is especially great for students who feel like they have a hard time keeping up with the pace of lecture because they do not need to write everything down, instead they can fill in details and examples.

The second approach is how students can use their textbooks after the lecture to hone their notes AFTER the lecture. While this approach does not give student an advantage in lecture, extracting information from the textbooks to flush out their lecture notes is important.