173 Reading Strategy

Alexandra talks about the reading skills needed by lawyers.


Todd: So, Alexandra, you're going to be a lawyer.

Alexandra: Yes, I am.

Todd: Very impressive and you're in law school and you were saying that in law school the reading load is very difficult.

Alexandra: Yes, for each class you have to read a few thousand pages over the course of three months, a semester, and it can be very difficult because you have five classes or more depending on your schedule so you end up reading from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep and try not to fall sleep in your book, so that can be difficult, so I try to read for awhile, maybe 50 minutes and take a ten minute break, stand up, walk around the room, and then get back to it or else it's too much information. It won't go in my head.

Todd: Yeah, how do you retain everything?

Alexandra: You just go back. You take notes for every 50 minute block. You stand up at the 10 minute block and stretch, come back and try write down what you read and try to, you know, do small little bullet points of what you read and that sort of keeps it in your mind.

Todd: That's a good strategy. Wow. Do you do anything to actually increase your reading speed?

Alexandra: No, you can't. With law you have to read each word, because each word has a particular definition. It could be a procedure in a courtroom which has particular steps, so if you omit words, or skip things you might miss the whole point of the case, so you can't speed read as it were. That's why you need to do it, you read for a long time. You just have to be careful and try to take enough breaks to give yourself a rest.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

reading load

In law school the reading load is very difficult.

The "reading load" that you have is the amount of information that you have to read and understand.  We also use the phrase "work load" describe the amount of work that needs to be completed.  Notice the following:

  1. His reading load in school was so heavy that he had almost no free time.
  2. Does that class have a heavy reading load?

over the course

Read a few thousand pages over the course of three months.

'Over the course' is a phrase that we use to talk about something that started and continued for a long period of time.  It can be replaced with the word "during."  Notice the following:

  1. Over the course of the next three years we lived in 7 different houses.
  2. Over the course of the next few hours the line was never shorter than 10 people.

get back to it

Take a ten minute break, then get back to it.

To 'get back to something' is to return to it or start working on it again.  Notice the following:

  1. I have to get back to my house right away after work.
  2. Thank you very much for lunch, now I need to get back to work.

bullet points

Do small bullet points of what you read.

A 'bullet point' is a note of important information.  Notice the following:

  1. She read the bullet points slowly.
  2. There was a list of bullet points describing the positives of the new products.


It could be a procedure in a courtroom.

The 'procedure' for doing something is the actions that you must do and the correct order for doing them.  Notice the following:

  1. The operation procedure will take less than two hours.
  2. What is the general procedure for asking for vacation days?


Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
reading load • the course • back to
bullet points • procedures
  1. We have had many good things happen over of the last year.
  2. The do a good job of summarizes the lesson.
  3. The is so intense in my classes this semester that I can't have a job.
  4. I have about 30 minutes to eat and then I have to get work.
  5. The Mexican government has many  that are different from the United States.