Every day we do some type of reading, either it is reading an article on medium, reading through a blog post, perusing files work or preparing for an examination. But trying to read through dense passages of a book can be exhausting and time-consuming.
We have prepared five tips on how to read faster and also effectively.
1. Preview the text.
Often times before going to the cinemas to watch a movie, we visit youtube or any shared video hosting website to watch the trailer of the movie, this prepares us on what to expect in the movie. Likewise previewing a text before reading, it gives us a brief understanding of what to expect in the article/book/material.
How to preview a text
- Read through the introductory paragraph of the text, if it is a book read its preface.
- Scan through the headings and the subheadings of the text.
- Pay attention to texts in large font, bold font, list.
- Examine any images and graphs found in the text.
- Read through the concluding paragraph of the text.
2. Strategize your reading process
How you approach a text makes a big difference in how you can effectively understand the contents of the book you are reading.
Steps to strategize your reading process
- Think about the purpose why you are reading the book (What do you want to learn)
- Have a pen and a note with you to jot down important points, you can also use a pen highlighter to highlight important text in the book.
- Write down some questions you want to be able to answer at the end of reading the book
- Plan to read some parts of the book slowly and skip some parts that are irrelevant, especially when you are reading a scientific book as opposed to a novel.
3. Read for important details
Books can be thorough and contain so many details for your consumption. In order not to be lost in the sea of so many details, focus on what is most important to you in the text and also highlight them with your highlighter pen or jot them down in your note. Read for the important details first and you will be able to sift through the mountain of information available.
In a book important details are easy to spot, they are often in headings, bold text, bullet points, slanted text etc
4. Don’t read every word
To increase your reading speed, you have to read in chunks (which comprises 3 to 5 words). Reading each word individually slows down the speed of your reading. Also, stop the inner monologue which is called subvocalization – which is the process of speaking each word in your head while you read.
Pointing your finger at each chunk of words will enable you to read faster and it will encourage you not to subvocalize.
5. Don’t read every section or chapter of the book
It is an old fashion myth to read every chapter in a book. Unless you are reading something very important skip the chapters that do not add up to the main object of why you are reading the book. Reading selectively makes you read faster and also allows you to digest the main points of the book.
Note: This step applies to selected books, such as textbooks for school, scientific materials etc. Novels, empowerment books may require you to read all chapters or sections of the book
6. Read the book once but your notes multiple times.
It is important to know that you should never read a chapter more than once. If you have read properly and taken notes or highlighted the important points with your highlighter pen, you have a record of the thoughts being communicated by the author.
We know it may take a while to adapt all these tips to your reading process, but don’t be upset or frustrated if it is not easy implementing it the first time but if you put in the work now to get used to reading a book more effectively with speed, consider the time you’ll save in the long-run.
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