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11 Ways to Take Notes While Reading

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Photo credit: mikekrieger

Do you passively read books, or do you take some form of notes? This is more relevant for nonfiction obviously. I’m in the process of writing a post about how I organize I remember information and part of that is taking notes. I’m curious what your methods are though. – Cameron Plommer

1. Use colored pens

Mike Bruny: i use a colored pen so I can underline and take notes in the margin.

Carmille: I underline in both fiction and nonfiction. There are some memorable quotes, theories, and in fiction–scenarios. I’m a big fan of the business-pen (you know, the one with different colors in the barrel?). So I use different colors for main points/arguments, and other colors on things favorite quotes I want to add to my Tumblr, or ideas I want to elaborate on via blog. Like to write on the margins too.

2. Underline

Sarah Fowler: I’m a big underliner. I can flip through later and see what was important.

3. Google Docs

Scott Rafferty: First off, I have set up a Google Site that is the central command for my life. It’s my single source of truth with Gmail, Google Calendar, To Do, Document Storage, Projects or Ideas. Within my Google Site I have a “Reading” section that I take book notes and save them there. I usually write down the page number, the quote or thought, and my thoughts about it. It’s amazing how much of a book comes back to me when I just review my book notes on my Google Site.

4. Arrow flags

Gustavo Lemus: I use post it arrow flags, then i take some notes in my lap top. That way i keep a digital track of ideas, and i can read the book again and notice some “new” ideas.

5. Word document

Danver Chandler: I actually open up a word document and type page numbers and a brief synopsis of the page/quote. I prefer my Word document with notes and quotes – I just open a second window or keep the lap-top nearby. If not possible it goes on paper then the computer very shortly.

6. Post-It Notes

Tai Goodwin: I use post it notes – jot down the page# and idea and sometimes a quote.

Regina Twine: When I was in school, I would highlight my textbooks but now that I’m out I tend to write notes on post-its and stick them on the page I’m referring to.

Christina: Personally, My first time through is just for pure enjoyment…If it is a book however that I feel I will need to reference later I use the small sticky notes and pen to mark pages and take notes

7. Sheet of paper

Percival J. Meris: I hate to be distracted with taking notes while reading. I read the entire material first, and if I should decide to take notes, I do it in the second reading. I do it on a separate piece of paper, because I do not want to write on my book.

8. A Mindmap

Christopher How: I’m big on mindmapping if there’s the need. A single page of mindmap allows me to make all the notes I need from a single book. When I’m done with the mindmap, I simply keep it in the first page of the book for future references.

9. Highlighter

paulmacp: My first read is always fast and deliberate, then I re-read with a highlighter and my note book

Emily D. Vere Nicoll: I tend to highlight or make comments right along the book margins. That keeps me engaged while reading and helps me remember what I was thinking when looking back over the book.

10. Evernote

Cameron Plommer: The method I use is an adaptation from calnewport.com, Study Hacks. When I read something that I want to remember or is a main point or is just a good quote, I use a pen to make a small dot on the sentence. I do not stop to write it down because this slows down momentum. Instead I go back after I’m done reading and write down the dotted sentences in Evernote.

11. Facebook Notes

Melanie McGrath: I underline and write notes in the margins! Sometimes I write notes on my facebook notes for some reason.

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  • http://obatjerawatbatu.blogspot.com janet

    I’ll write a note in another book, and gives a sign on the pages cited

  • http://www.futurestay.com Jean B – Vacation rental marketing and advertising

    As I read, I underline key facts in the text. In addition, I connect this information with other facts, observations, and even my ideas , as notations in the margins. This not only makes it easier to remember , but allows me to expand my thinking right there,

  • http://www.sellitlikeawoman.com alyse hart

    I underline and place 1-4 stars next to the thought. 4 indicates I love it. It’s fun to look back a year later and see how I’ve grown and changed and what I pay attention to.

  • Dan

    I find it extremely helpful to summarize each chapter or section in one sentence, and then summarize it in one paragraph. I often do this one a large 6×8 post it style note and stick it in the relevant place. I might also add either short notes or more likely, references to items within that particular chapter or section on the post it note. Later, (repetition is important for me to remember things) I will add the information to a database program on my computer. Finally, I make sure to make my outlines and summaries accessible not only on my desktop but “in the cloud” so that I can access them on my Android or iPad whenever necessary.

    Most of my notes are on non-fiction, research material relevant to what I do, so having thorough notes that are readily accessible is important for me. And by thorough, I don’t mean it has to be terribly in depth. Just having the summary there usually triggers what I need. If it does not, it almost always alerts me to the place I need to go in the book to get the info I need.

  • http://www.windows7command.blogspot.com Windows 7 Command

    A bright yellow highlighter and Windows Notepad are my best friend when I’m trying to take notes.
    A simple voice recorder also works well and it’s a fast method to record the notes you would usually have to write down.

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    Pretty good post. I just found your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.In any case I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon.

  • http://www.reallbattle.wordpress.com Lara

    Just what I needed. About to read a book that I know I’ll want to make notes on and interested in how others do this. I’ve a couple of ideas now to try out!

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  • Blueway9

    I like to think of chapters in a book of any sort as room numbers and the chapter I’m reading is a room I entered. Now I can pick apart any room and know which room my information came from. It’s an Einstein relativity way about going at it …but just think everything is capsuled in time whether events, people etc.

  • Dude

    Highlighters are SUPER helpful. You have to take more time, though, when using color pens because you have to keep switching between colors. Yes, you have to switch pens with highlighters, but they just take a couple “swipes” and you’re done.