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How To Read More Efficiently
How To Read More Efficiently
It may seem like reading more is a simple matter of picking up a book a little more frequently, right? While this will definitely help, perhaps the act of reading itself isn't as efficient as it could be. If you've got a stack of books and magazines that you're ready to start tackling, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your reading skills. Here are a few tips that can help you speed up!
1. Know what you're reading. It's important to note that there are different ways of approaching something to read. A leisurely mystery novel isn't going to require the same mental effort as a more complex article in something like The New Yorker. For this reason, you'll want to adopt different strategies depending on what happens to be in your hands. With a casual novel, you can get away with lying in bed and reading at a faster pace - it's not that the novel itself isn't worth your time, but it's going to be easier to digest and comprehend than something more complicated.
2. Be an active reader. If you're having a difficult time with a particular piece, it's worth slowing down and honing in your focus. Rather than simply trying to muscle your way through the entire article in one pass, spend time going over a section that you find to be somewhat difficult. You may even want to highlight important passages and take notes, especially if you're reading for school. Once you can get past the idea of simply going from the beginning to the end of a piece, you might find it to be much easier to digest the information in front of you. A piecemeal approach is a great way to improve your comprehension.
3. Look up words. You've probably been told to look up words that you don't know in the dictionary, but how often did you actually do this? Well, now's as good a time as any to start! It's important to do this because you're unlikely to see that unknown word again for quite some time, and you're probably not going to look it up once you're finished reading. Instead, keep a small pocket dictionary (or download an app on your phone) and really make an effort to learn words you don't know. You'll notice an improvement in your vocabulary in no time!
4. Don't be afraid to stop reading. Sometimes, an article simply isn't something that holds your interest. There's no need to force yourself through everything in a magazine - if one feature happens to touch on something that doesn't hold your interest very well, go ahead and skip it! If you get bored, you can always revisit it later, and if not, you'll have spent your valuable time on something that you're actually curious about. It's a win-win!
5. Reread if need be. You're not necessarily going to reach a full grasp of what you're reading on the first try, even if it's a small section. If this happens, feel free to go back and quickly look over anything you might have missed. You'd be surprised how easy it is to let small but significant details slip through the cracks on your first pass in of a piece.
If you follow these methods, you'll hopefully start to notice that you're getting through books and articles much faster and taking away more than you previously were.