Academic reading requires a different approach than the 'novel-reading' approach many of us are habituated to.

If you want to get the maximum value out of your academic readings, consider following these:

1. Planning:

Try and judge the aim and scope of the text in hand. Come up with a rough plan as to how you are going to cover it. Plan your time management. Plan how long it'll take.

2. First reading must be detailed:

There is no other way. The first reading must be thorough and detailed. Annotate. Come up with personal annotations if necessary.

Throw away your highlighter and use a pencil/pen. Try to emulate suitable conditions for distributed cognition to happen.

Use the margin for conversing with the author. Ask questions. Wrestle with text. Give counter-arguments.

3. Re-read/Revise:

When you find a text interesting enough, go through it for the second time. Make a summary. Note bullet points and key takeaways. Make mindmaps.

4. Compare and Contrast:

Compare the takeaways with the texts you have read earlier. Contrast the author's arguments with dominant trends and deviations. Analyse what you just read.