Reading Strategies

In our article “Why To Read“, we outlined 10 specific reasons why reading is essential. Its good for your mind, your general health and your creativity. So therefore, the more quality books we can read, the better it is for us.

But, some of you struggle to read more, and even if you do manage to read more, you struggle to fully comprehend and internalize what it is that you have read.

For that reason, we’ve compiled 7 effective reading strategies, which will enable you to not only read more, but to fully understand and enjoy what you’ve read.

So, without further ado, here are:

7 Effective And Simple Reading Strategies To Help You Read More Effectively

1. Before Reading – Ask Questions

Before you start reading a book, you will have a basic idea of what the book is about. This allows you to ask yourself 3 simple questions before you start to read. They are:

– What do I already know?

– What more do I want to know?

– I wonder if…

The answers to these questions will give you a foundation to build on and something which you’re looking to get out of the book. This means you’re not just reading without an objective, but instead you’re actively looking to learn something from the book.

2. During Reading – Take small pauses and ask more questions

As you’re reading, you need to take small and intermittent pauses to ensure that what you’re reading is sticking. Ask yourself the following questions as you’re reading.

– Does this make sense?

– How does this information connect to what I already know?

– What does the writer say about…?

– What does the writer mean about…?

– I still need to know more about…?

By asking yourself these questions as you read, you are constantly evaluating whats being said. By looking at what the author is explaining, as well as the meaning behind it, you will understand the thinking process more effectively. You are also continuing to look for more specific information in the upcoming text.

Reading strategies - take a pause

Reading Strategies – How To Read

3. During Reading – Take A Longer Pause After A Difficult Section

You want to make sure you are fully understanding what is being said, so when you come across a particularly difficult part of the text, its important to stop and do the following:

– Pause and think about what was discussed

– Break the text into smaller chunks

– Look up words which you didn’t understand

– Build yourself a short summary of what you read

– Discuss what you read with someone

These steps will make sure you have fully processed and understood this section before you move on.

4. During Reading – Visualize

To better understand what you’re reading, its important to make visual representations of what is being discussed by:

– Picturing what…might look like

– Creating a mental image of a system or a process working

This will help you remember not only what you read and understood, but how it looks as it is functioning.

5. During Reading – Make Connections

A critical part of learning and understanding something new is to connect it with pieces of information that you already understand. You will already know about certain parts of what you’re reading from previous texts, your own personal experience and other people so you will be able to add to that base.

Reading strategies - take notes

Reading Strategies – Take Notes

6. During Reading – Take Good Notes

The best way to take notes during reading is:

– Look for the main ideas and focus on those

– Use words you understand

– Make the notes as brief as possible

– Use simple headings and sub headings to organize your notes

– Constantly review, add and revise as necessary while you continue to read

7. After Reading – Find The Main Ideas

You’ve completed the book, made effective notes, took time to reflect and understand as you read and asked yourself good questions as you read. Now that the book is done, you need to think about the important ideas in the book.

Ask yourself the following:

– What was the most important thing you remember about the book?

– What was the main message of the book?

– What do the ideas in this book relate to?

– What could be the biases of this book?

– What did this book leave out?

The last question will give you the opportunity to do some research and find another book to continue your learning, make connections, and continue to read more effectively.

We hope you find these reading strategies helpful. For more information about how to read more effectively and a more detailed reading strategies guide, check out this post from the Ontario Ministry of Education, Canada.

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