It is important to remember that different types of materials are read at different speeds. A novel is faster reading than a textbook. Time yourself at the beginning of a semester after reading one chapter of your textbook. That will give you an idea of how long you need to plan to study throughout the year.
Take a look at the first chapter of the book. Scan over the material, reading the first sentence in each topic or paragraph. Check out the notes and the diagrams. Look at the nouns and verbs rather than the extra words. Find the main concepts first.
When reading to comprehend, read the text first then go back to take notes. Go over the section and number or list the important ideas. It may be helpful to underline or use a highlighter for important ideas. If you have questions, mark these in the test. That way you can ask your teacher or in class. It is a good idea to find a way to compare your reading, yours notes and any audiovisual or internet materials in order to better understand the text.
One method of reading comprehension is called the SQ3R Method. This means the following: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. Once again, read over the material and ask yourself questions about it as you read. Once you read, look for the answers. Pay close attention to graphics and diagrams for extra information. Recite the information that you chose or the questions that you have. Review. Go back through the information at several different points of time.