The new year brings new goals and self-improvement resolutions everyone wants to meet. If you were like most, you committed to reading more this year than you did last year.
Reading is one of the few activities busy individuals sometimes need help finding time to actively participate in. With so many everyday tasks that take precedence in work and family life, putting that book aside is usually what one does when trying to complete other more ‘important’ tasks.
Learning how to read efficiently and effectively is a great way to improve your reading skills and increase the rate at which you can finish books. A great way to do this is through the practice of active reading. But what is active reading, and how can you practice it? This post gives you an overview of the skill and how to improve your reading skills.
What do we mean by Active Reading?
Active reading is reading to understand with a determination to understand the text and evaluate it according to your needs. When actively reading, you are not just simply going over the text but dissecting it to consider what it means to you.
You can practice active reading by highlighting essential passages, making notes in the margin and by, critically looking at the text and asking yourself questions. You can test yourself by putting the material away for an hour and then trying to create a summary of the text in your mind. You can even tell someone else what the text means to evaluate your understanding and comprehension of what you have read.
Students often use active reading when trying to retain and understand textbook material. It is an effective way to learn more and learn better. As an adult, active reading is a great way to read a book, especially if you are part of a book club or reading circle. It will give you thoughts and comments to share with the group when you meet to discuss what you have read each week. Having questions ready for other readers will help you evaluate your understanding of the text compared to others.
Top Tips on How to Improve Reading Skills
Looking for ways to improve reading skills and reading practice. These tips will get you started in the right direction:
1. Plan It Out
Make a plan and schedule how to improve reading skills. You can also schedule your reading time by scheduling meetings, work tasks, and after-work social commitments. This is the best way to carve out time to read for busy individuals who depend on calendars and meeting invites. This time does not have to be after office hours when you may be overwhelmed with family commitments. You can even spend your lunch hour or commute to and from work reading a book.
2. Create Targets to Meet
Can’t finish that book on time? Why not create small goals you must meet every day or every week? Create targets to meet each week to complete the book by a specific time. By dividing up the chapters and pages, you can manage your reading time and finishing the book will not seem so overwhelming. You can even treat yourself after meeting your goal by watching a movie or engaging in fun reading activities.
3. Research Author and Purpose of Text
Research the author and what inspired them to write the book. This is a great way to give you perspective on why the book was written, its inspiration and the writer’s perspective when they were penning the words. In certain circumstances, knowing why a book was written can give you a deeper understanding and comprehension of the book.
4. Try Note Taking
Making notes on the margins is a great way to practice active reading and remember essential points about passages you read. By writing notes, you can remember important aspects of the book that you can go back to when needed and writing on the margins or sticky notes will help you find them easily.
5. Summarize the Book
Making a written or mental summary of the book is a great way to improve reading comprehension. Book covers have summaries that can be an excellent blueprint for you to follow when making your summary. Share the summary with friends or relatives whenever anyone asks you what you are reading.
Read more Effectively and Efficiently with these Tips
Now that you have five easy ways to improve reading skills that will help you read with more intent, there is no stopping how many books you can get through. It is important to remember that by putting down our phones and tablets and stepping away from our desktops, we commit to unplugging and spending time with ourselves without distraction. Why not pick up a book instead and delve into the relaxing pages of an excellent book to reenergize your soul and mind?
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