Remember how you always had a notebook and pen to take notes during college lectures?  Any time the professor said something you felt was important, you’d take down notes to go back to later.

Note-taking and note-making can enhance your understanding of a topic. They’re especially helpful when you have to read reports or complex pieces of writing. Not only will your notes help you understand what’s written, but they will also supplement the reading process by making it more approachable.

Reading is a critical skill in the workplace. When you have 15 emails and multiple reports to go through, the ability to read deeply and absorb information effectively can help you work more efficiently.

Harappa Education’s Reading Deeply course will teach you about the three steps of reading—pre-reading, reading and post-reading. Each step is geared to help you approach your reading material so that you can learn to enjoy and absorb everything you read.

Let’s look at the importance of note-taking and note-making.

The Importance Of Taking Notes

An effective way of improving your reading ability is taking notes as you read. It’s a simple way to remember the key ideas in a text so you can come back to them at a later stage.

 Processing information while you’re at work is especially hard because you’re dealing with so many things simultaneously. Taking notes will help you keep track of the things you’re reading. Remember, your notes are for your personal use. Choose the most important points and note them down. Later, in case you forget an important detail, referring to your notes will help you recall what you had read.

Your notes also act like bookmarks to locate important sections of text.

How To Take Notes While Reading

There are a variety of effective note-taking methods that you can use. These include writing down your ideas in the margins of a book or report, bookmarking key webpages if you’re reading online or using sticky notes to keep track of important sections that you want to refer to.

Let’s look at three easy ways of note-taking and note-making:

1. Highlighting

In school, it was common to highlight entire pages of our textbooks with a fluorescent marker. But at work, you have to be careful about what you highlight. Focus on the parts you think are important and relevant to the purpose of the text.

2. Commenting

Commenting is a way of interacting with the text. You can put down your comments in words or make diagrams or charts to visualize your thoughts and ideas. Your comments can include new ideas or expand on an existing idea. You can even add a critique about a specific thought or message in the text.

3. Summarizing

Summarizing each passage or idea while taking notes can help solidify your understanding of the text. A brief note in the form of bullet points, diagrams or short passages will come in handy when you revisit the text after a few days.

The point of taking notes is to bookmark relevant information to save reading time that can be utilized elsewhere.

Digital vs Print

These days, we don’t just read text on paper. Many digital platforms are available for us to access reading material. Taking notes on a digital medium like a computer or a smartphone is easier for some people who enjoy reading on a device. Note-taking software and applications come with many tools to highlight, leave comments and track any edits to your notes.

For instance, you can take notes in the Adobe PDF reader or track changes in MS Word. Even when you’re going through a presentation, you can easily make changes, highlight relevant information and type comments on the side. Pick the format you prefer to optimize your experience.


Taking notes while reading is an excellent way to gauge the writer’s intent and their underlying message. Whether it’s the minutes of a meeting or a report, you can take notes to get a deeper understanding of the text.

Harappa’s Reading Deeply course will help you develop your own style of note-taking or ‘shorthand’ so you can familiarize yourself with key ideas and messages in the text. You’ll also learn about the other two steps in the reading process—pre-reading and post-reading—to become proficient at reading complex pieces of writing at work.

Explore the skills & topics such as Reading Skills, Levels of Reading, What is Pre-Reading & How to Improve Your Reading Skills from our Harappa Diaries blog section and  improve your reading quotient.

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