As I have come to realize, there are always going to be textbooks that I know in advance will be discarded and those I will want to keep to create my own personal library of reference books.
Pertaining to the textbooks I know I will keep for a lifetime, I have discovered there are advantages in writing in the margins, underlining key passages, circling words, and the like. By writing in the textbooks I own, I am making them suit my interests and needs.
- Writing in textbooks is a way of personalizing these books to my own advantage.
- Avoiding Clutter
- Writing in the textbook makes the book a self-contained unit of information, therefore eliminating the need for separate note paper.
- Writing directly in the textbook, then, has the advantage of keeping both my desk and my mind free from distracting clutter.
- Grouping Ideas Together
- Writing in the textbook also lets me group the author’s ideas together in a way that I can understand more clearly. Because I own the book, I can boldly take a pen, circle a word, and draw a line to similar terms in the dense passages of material.
- I can also write on this line that connects terms to describe the passage in my own words.
- Writing in the textbook has advantages because it makes me a kind of coauthor. I am breaking down the complex reading into my own manageable terms.
- I discover how I read and understand in the most effective way, and then outline the chapters accordingly.
- Creating References to Other Books
- Writing in the textbook has the additional advantage of letting me cite relevant books and definitions by which I may later benefit. These citations can be written either at the beginning of the chapter or at the end. For example, I may write: “See also in This Book, Page 45” Writing in the textbook allows me to extend the principle content of the particular textbook into a reference book which cites other resources.
- Again, textbooks can become self-contained units of information, but only when I am bold enough to write in them.
In sum, I have discovered advantages to writing in those textbooks I know I will own for a lifetime.
As I create my own library of personal reference books, I discover that writing in textbooks lets me take the information that is already there and personalize it in a way that will best suit my academic needs.