Downloading Patterns

This article is part of the teaching tip "Five Keys to Helping Students Read Difficult Texts"

Five patterns for QUICK DOWNLOADING are Slash, Linear, Web, Pictorial, and Random.  The reason to do a quick download during reading is to hold the meaning of what you just read so you can move on.  You record that meaning as words or phrases rather than sentences—you are “distilling” the key information; you are creating a visual with relationships among the parts which will facilitate recall later; you are synthesizing along the way.

After reading a section of the text:
  • Select one of the Download Patterns below that fits your style and the text, OR make up a pattern of your own.  These can be effective, fast, and memorable ways to take notes of your reading, and you can keep adding to them as you read.
  • Rapidly “download” what you’ve learned.  Do this in one of several ways: 
  • On a separate sheet of paper – be sure to label with text name and page number 
  • In the margins of the text – so handy when you go to review
  • On a sticky note – can write more, can transfer to another sheet, can keep a borrowed text clean
More information about these downloads may be found in Frank (1990, Remember Everything You Read, 104-121), Chapter 6:
Tip conributed by:
Marné B. Isakson, Ph.D. (
Developer of courses: Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading
Author of Learn More & Read Faster: A Handbook of Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading: A Handbook of Essential Strategies for College Success. 
For more information please contact Taylor Halverson, Teaching and Learning Consultant