GUIDELINES FOR READING MATHEMATICS                M 362K (Fall 03, Smith)

You will be given regular reading assignments from the text and handouts in this course. You will be expected to read for understanding and retention. This means in particular that you will need to read more slowly than if you were reading a novel or even a history textbook. Be sure to allow enough time for your reading assignments!
In many reading assignments, you will be given some reading guidelines. Be sure to read and follow these to help focus your reading productively!
    You will need to think as you read, connecting examples, explanations, and diagrams. Most people  find that when reading technical material like mathematics,  their mind sometimes wanders  away from the subject. When this happens, be sure to go back and reread the section you were not concentrating on.
    Math textbooks usually do not include all of the details of calculations and other technical explanations; some are left for the reader to fill in. Unless told otherwise, you will be expected to work out for yourself details that are not included in the reading, so have pencil and paper handy to do this.
    If you are assigned reading that is on the web, print it out before reading it. Hardly anyone can read mathematics adequately  directly from a computer screen.

    Learning vocabulary is an important part of learning in any subject. Many terms used in this course will be defined in the text. Usually they appear in italics when they are first used. Be sure to learn their meanings. Be especially careful not to confuse their use in a technical sense (as defined in the text) with other meanings of the same word. For example, in Section 1.4, the word "combination" is used in a way that is more specialized than (although related to) the ordinary use of that word.

    For more tips on reading textbooks (in this or other classes) effectively, try the following websites:

UT Learning Center  handout:

Mathematical Association of America website : Helping Undergraduates  Learn to Read Mathematics: Reading Theorems and Reading Definitions:

Other math professors' handouts on reading mathematics: