How to Become a More Effective Reader

How to Become a More Effective Reader

Assume you’ve been reading a book for more than an hour and have completed a couple of pages. You pause to consider what you’ve learned from everything you’ve read thus far, but you’re completely blank. You’ve been skimming through the words, sentences, and paragraphs without gaining much insight from the text. Why does reading appear to be a waste of time at times?

Advantages of Being a Good Reader

The importance and benefits of reading extend far beyond passing school tests and exams. Reading exercises your brain. In fact, reading stimulates your brain in the same way that exercise does. As you read a book, you have to remember a lot of things that have already been mentioned, which improves your memory.

Strange words will frequently appear as you are exposed to various types of material. You will also come across familiar words in new contexts. Reading increases your vocabulary. The more words you know, the better you will be at describing your surroundings.

How to Improve Your Reading Skills

The following are some reading tips that will help you read more effectively.

Skim before you read

Skimming is the act of reading something quickly or superficially. It is especially useful for mapping out the text you want to read. Knowing how an article or book is structured allows you to pay more attention to what you believe to be important. According to one study, skimming a text before reading it improves comprehension in the majority of cases.

Estimate the amount of time and mental effort required

It is critical that you have an idea of how long it will take you to read a book. Different texts necessitate varying degrees of mental effort. A 300-page math textbook, for example, will take much longer to read and fully comprehend than a 300-page history text. This is where skimming comes in handy.

Start at a comfortable reading level

If you have mastered the fundamentals, you will find it much easier to progress to more difficult materials. Although it is wonderful to challenge yourself to read texts that are quite advanced for you, it may leave you feeling discouraged. This is especially important and applicable in math and science subjects.

Read at a reasonable pace

We all want to be able to read faster because there seem to be an infinite number of books waiting to be read. The brain can only hold about 3 – 5 chunks of information at a time, which is referred to as working memory. This limits the speed at which we can read. In fact, anything faster than 500 – 600 words per minute, or 8 – 10 words per second, is unlikely to result in comprehension loss.

In other words, if you read faster than that, you are likely losing significant comprehension of the material. Of course, we all know that comprehending what you’ve read is more important than speed. So, read to comprehend.

Look up strange words in a dictionary

Increasing your vocabulary will make reading easier and more enjoyable in the future. The more words you hear, the larger your vocabulary will become. While reading, look up words in the dictionary that you don’t recognize or understand.

Make use of your imagination

Making a metaphor or analogy for the concepts you’re reading about is one of the best ways to remember and understand them. The more visually appealing your metaphor, the better. A metaphor is simply a way of recognizing that one thing is similar to another. For example, if you are attempting to comprehend the flow of electric current through a wire, consider water flowing through a pipe as an analogy or metaphor.

Expand your library’s scope

Read various types of books. Don’t limit yourself to specific writing and presentation styles. There are books written in a variety of styles that cover every topic imaginable. Even if you are reading about a specific topic that interests you, expose yourself to graphic materials, research papers, journals, magazines, novels, short stories, and even comic books. Local libraries, bookstores, and the Internet can be extremely useful in this situation.

Inhibit Information 

Individuals with the highest performance are not those who can remember the most, but rather those who know what to block out and what to focus on. This is a skill that develops as you get into the habit of allowing the diffuse mode of thought to take over after a period of intense focus. Because not all books are worth reading, read selectively and limit how much information you take in at one time.