Reading as a hobby is a sign of being a true nerd. Don’t get us wrong, being a true bookworm is absolutely no shame. However, did you know there were techniques for reading? Whether you’re struggling to get through that one book you’ve been trying to get through or forcefully learning something in class, there is always a way around it.
Hence, our ultimate reading guide will run you through everything from the basics to the most comprehensive details. While it might be intimidating, learning how to read is part of our lives. Don’t confuse that with the short attention span texts you’re bombarded with on social media. Formal learning through reading requires extensive mental focus, and here is everything you need to know about that.
What is the Most Important Thing About Reading?
You might be wondering why you are going through a reading guide. Isn’t that exactly why you’re going through this? You’re aiming to learn something. It’s that simple. The primary and most crucial thing about reading is understanding and learning.
In a nutshell, the most critical aspect is comprehension. If you cannot understand what you’re reading, there really is no point in you doing so. Not being able to digest the words your eyes are scanning on beats the purpose of the action. You won’t be learning new words, concepts, or ideas. It simply flies over your head.
Now, if you find yourself struggling through a book, there are multiple solutions. First of all, try to slow down your speed. While you might be conditioned to run through the text, as social media does dominate our lives now, take things at your own pace.
For instance, scanning over the words will do you no good when reading a scientific book. Books that are difficult to read, college books, for example, aren’t ones you’re expected to understand in an instant.
The second option is to ask someone else who has read that same book before. While it might be intimidating to ask people for help, it’s beneficial for you and the person helping you. A helping hand in such situations often brings more interesting conversations to the surface, such as discussing the book’s content.
If you’re looking for how to read effectively, check this resource out as a great starting ground.
What are the Different Levels of Reading?
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one” – George RR Martin. George blessed the world with many incredible books, and his quote never fails to hit a sweet spot. However, as a reader, you must know the numerous levels required when reading.
When you want to learn how to read a book, you must first realize that different mediums and topics require distinct reading methods. You cannot read a magazine the same way you read a college textbook. Hence, below is your ultimate guide to the 4 reading levels, in which you have to climb up the ladder to reach the highest one.
As the name suggests, this is the reading skill you acquire throughout elementary school. It’s composed of the rudiments and learning how to master the basics of the art. This level allows you to learn the basics of the action. This all boils down to the following:
- Foundational reading skills
- Understanding the information you’re reading through basic sentences and clauses.
- Considered to be a mandatory step in every student’s life
Hence, almost everyone literate has already mastered this level. It simply teaches you the fundamentals you need for life.
In other words, inspectional reading is skimming over the text or pre-reading. Remember when you briefly read through that book and realized it’s not for you? Well, what you did there is known as inspectional reading. In a nutshell, it’s the action of superficially going over text to get the gist and main points out of it.
Generally, there are considered to be two main types of inspectional reading:
- Systematic Skimming: When skimming over a book, you’re not acquiring any of the main plot points or schemes throughout. However, what you focus on are the basics. That often includes the table of content, the back cover, and maybe the first few pages of the first chapter. This process usually takes a few minutes to complete. It gives the reader an idea of whether the book is worth acquiring.
- Superficial Reading:have you ever had a video playing in the background? Or maybe you’re listening to a few songs without actually hearing what the words insinuate? Well, superficial reading is the same concept. You go through a book without fully grasping the plot points or concepts inside. You don’t even stop to reflect on that passage or look up the word you don’t know.
Analytical reading allows you to fully understand the author’s mind and syntax. This is when you take pauses to evaluate what is happening in the book through critical thinking and deep reading. An example of when someone should do that is reading their college textbooks. For the ultimate guide on how to read a textbook, read our exclusive piece.
In simpler terms, analytical reading requires you to analyze the topic and complete the book with questions you want to ask. This includes:
- Reflecting on the book once it’s done
- Ability to summarize the text and the subject at hand
- Fully understand the syntax offered by the author
- Describing the conflict or the problem that has been tackled throughout the book
If you’re a student looking for how to improve your reading skills, we have the best resource for you, which teaches you the analytical part required to fully comprehend anything you have to read.
Syntopical reading is on an utterly superior level, which many professors or extreme fanatics do. Also known as comparative reading, this is when the process is more demanding and time-consuming. It often entails the reader going through several resources and textbooks, comparing them, and reflecting on each.
Whether it’s contrasting vocabulary, ideas, concepts, or intellect, it requires note-taking and time management. A reader takes the fanatic part and makes it a little crazy. However, such a skill can come in handy when you’re researching for college or your personal curiosity.
If you want to learn how to read syntopically, your first step is understanding how to improve your reading comprehension. A complete guide can be found through the following resource.
What are the 7 Strategies of Reading?
Did you know those common strategies are used to increase students’ understanding? These techniques aim to improve reading comprehension. To do so, teachers often choose various methods to increase students’ developmental awareness and analytical skills. Below is a brief explanation of the 7 strategies used for reading.
A simple phrase to explain the activation strategy is “priming the cognitive pump.” This is based on the assumption that students’ long-term memory already stores enough vital information that is knowledgeable in this specific scenario. Hence, it works on building connections between what’s being taught and what once was learned.
The written, the unwritten, and what is. Sure, that doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, “read between the lines” is the ideal phrase one uses to explain this specific technique. It teaches students to understand the written part, think about what’s not said, and draw connections to what they already know.
This process eliminates the inspectional reading (level 2) mentioned above. Hence, it works on crushing that skimping behavior one gets used to and allows you to practice understanding the text while reading it and afterward when you’re analyzing it.
This is synonymous with the close reading strategy, which you can learn in this guide.
Neve is afraid of asking if you don’t believe you’re 100% certain of what you know. That applies to reading as well. Whether you’re asking yourself, your teacher, peers, or even the text (through the author’s motif), such a strategy allows you to open your mind to a more extensive understanding.
Take this as an example: you’re presented with an essay question as homework. What do you do? This strategy teaches you to efficiently go through the necessary sources and decide on the best one. That applies to both external sources and pieces throughout the text.
As simple as it sounds, summarizing the text allows your mind to dwell on all the tiny details. Sometimes, the weirdest and most important connections are made when writing a summary.
Visual effects play a significant role in instilling a concept or idea into people’s minds. This has been proven through numerous studies. Hence, use your senses to grasp an idea. Immerse yourself in the book through drawing it out, building pictures, or even putting yourself physically in the settings.
While the above addresses the question, what are the 7 strategies? You can learn how to incorporate each individual through the following resource.
How Often Should You Read?
There is never one set answer to how often someone should read. Instead, there are numerous other questions you need to tackle first. These include:
- Is the book/item you’re reading going to impact or make a difference in your life?
- Are you still getting enough physical exercise despite the reading?
- Do you still maintain your work, family, friends, and mental health by reading?
- Do you enjoy what you’re reading?
If your answer to all these questions is yes, then what you’re doing is working for you. However, if you’ve answered no to a question, re-evaluate whether you spend too much time immersed in books, including your college ones.
You know how older people complain that this generation is “always on their phones?” This can also apply to a vivid reader who cannot seem to put the book down. Such habits can destroy your physical and mental health, as socialization and movement are essential to your life.
However, reading for 30 minutes daily without interruption from your phone or people is a solid starting point. That sums up to 3.5 hours a week, which won’t guarantee you finish a book but can get you started.
If you aim to finish one book every week, know people who often spend anywhere from 1.5-3 hours a day going through the nitty-gritty of reading. Hence, the time consumed while reading depends on your ultimate goals.
Overall, if you want to learn how to make reading a habit without distraction and an ample amount of motivation, we have a separate source for you.
How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension?
If your aim is to improve your reading comprehension, then most of the preparation you’re required to do is initiated before you even pick up the book you want to read. This is mainly gained from experience from reading previous books and learning new ideas and concepts. Some of the methods you can use include:
- Eliminating distractions to focus on the words you’re reading
- Expanding your vocabulary to include a broader range of words
- Always read between the lines to anticipate what’s coming ahead
- Take your time to read the text, and don’t compare yourself to others
- Write a summary as you go, especially if you’re someone who puts the book down to ponder over it
- Come up with questions while you’re reading
- Take breaks while going through chapters instead of over-crowding your mind with ideas
The ultimate guide can be found through the following resource, which gives you the best 12 pre-reading strategies for comprehending the text.
5 Steps to Effective Reading
To learn how to read a book effectively, you must know that the main idea is understanding the book you’re going through. This is what the definition of compelling reading is. While it might be a tricky pattern to build, as it takes time to instill any habit, it will come in handy in your academic and professional career.
Here are our top tips for learning how to effectively read:
1. Start slow: while you might be incredibly excited, a few pages are often the foundation of any book. Hence, fully understanding what’s about to begin allows your mind to grasp the main ideas and concepts awaiting you.
2. Stop for vocab:if there’s a word you don’t understand, take a breather and look it up on your phone or dictionary. While that might seem like a waste of time, words give us context into what the author’s tone is and what the underlying meaning is.
3. Write and keep notes: while some readers hate having notes on their books, you’ll often notice that the most fanatic ones have pieces of lines scribbled all over. That allows the reader to draw conclusions and assumptions as they’re reading.
4. Ask questions: do you know how it’s hard for a movie to surprise most people nowadays? That’s because originality is hard to find. This applies to books too. Start asking tough questions, and see if the plot pans out how you expected it to.
5. Summarize: whether you mentally or physically do it, summarize the chapter when you’re done. That allows you to reflect on what you have read and will let you go over any missing details if you feel like you’re skimping through.
While the list above is an excellent start, we recommend checking out the complete guide for strategies to improve reading comprehension.
How Do You Pick a Good Book to Read?
After this comprehensive reading guide, you might wonder how to choose the perfect book for yourself. The first step, especially if you’re a beginner reader and haven’t got into the habit, is selecting a topic you enjoy. After that, consider the following pointers:
- Ask about classic books people seem to enjoy. Also, go for books people speak passionately about or ones that impact people’s lives.
- Read the synopsis or a summary (without spoilers!) online to understand what the story entails.
- Read the first 5 pages and evaluate whether this is for you or not. Sure, you cannot judge a book by its cover (or its first 5 pages), but it allows you to reflect on whether the writer’s tone and vocabulary suit you or not.
- Always start with topics you genuinely enjoy. Don’t dive into unknown territories expecting to enjoy it when you’re unfamiliar with the terminology or the concepts.
Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways from Definitive Guide to Reading
All in all, reading is the ultimate habit everyone should build. While it might not be enjoyable initially, having that skill comes in handy in both professional and academic life.
This ultimate reading guide allows you to find all the tips and tricks you need, regardless of where you’re starting right now. Once you find your zone, hone down on the techniques, and strategize your way, you’ll be all set. Simply choose a book you’ll enjoy; that pace will allow you to roll through the reading journey.
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