Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Guest Post ~ 7 Highly Practical Tips To Read More Effectively ~ Anitya Brown (@HookedtoBooks)

Hey y'all, I have a guest post from Anitya Brown today. I found Anitya @ChapterBreak where she did a guest post on 10 reasons why she's in love with her ereader. And today she's sharing some tips on reading more effectively. Enjoy!

7 Highly Practical Tips To Read More Effectively

We all know how to read, but not everyone knows how to read effectively.
Sometimes we stare at a book and turn the pages unconsciously for hours. But after we finish, we can’t recall what is discussed.
Photo credit: Pixabay
How to start understanding the book for real while we read?
How to yield and recall the knowledge we learn from the book?
This article covers the seven easy, practical tips to help you read with efficiency, comprehension, and pleasure.

1. Bring your book/ereader everywhere

It’s not always easy to devote the time to finish your book. While it’s nice to enjoy a novel for two hours straight in a peaceful night, there are always days when you get home and all you want to do is crash right into bed to sleep.
The solution? Bring your book or ereader everywhere with you. Make use of the small chunks of time between your major tasks during the day to read. Open your book while you’re on the train, or when you’re waiting for someone at a cafe.

Some books can be quite difficult and require full concentration and a longer consecutive time period to digest. If the time blocks are too short for reading, use them to reinforce the concepts you encounter during the previous read. That way, the next time you sit down to continue with the book, you don’t have to spend time going through everything again.

2. Avoid distractions

Ever caught your mind wandering somewhere else while your eyes are gazing on the book? When you read, make sure you are really there.

If you can, choose a quiet, peaceful place to read. Turn the TV off. Refrain from checking Instagram or Facebook halfway through a page. Put your phone on silent mode, or better yet, out of sight. Don’t surf forever for a concept on Google.
Photo credit: George Hodan

You can apply the Pomodoro technique to your reading plan. Make a small oath to yourself to focus on reading in 25 minutes, then take a rest for 5 minutes. When coming across unfamiliar words or some new concepts, highlight them to check later during the resting time, and keep reading. If you’re on an ereader, use the built in dictionary or the X-Ray function very briefly.

When you concentrate, it’s easier to both notice the small details and get the big pictures. You will not only read faster but also understand the content much better.

3. Know when to give up

If you’re reading for pleasure, always remember the “pleasure” part. When you come across a book that you find unpleasant or too tricky to read, don’t feel guilty to toss it aside.

Give it a try for a dozen pages at most. If you read till page 10 and still fail to find anything appealing, don’t be too hopeful that you will somehow be fascinated by the next pages. Save your time for quality books that are not a pain to read.
Credit: Worak

No need to put up with the torture even if you’re using the book for study. Go through the parts that you can understand, and take notes of the ones you don’t click with. Find another book of the same topic that explains things in a way more interesting and comprehensive to you. Yes, such books are almost always available in your library or at the bookstore!

4. Take notes at the right time

Always have at least a pen while you read (unless you read on an ereader).
When encountering new concepts or ideas, highlight or jot them down for later research. If a related question or idea comes across your mind, write it down on the side of the page or on your notebook before you forget it. Use only a few words to describe your ideas - don’t distract yourself from the book by taking notes!
Photo credit: Buenosia Carol

At the end of every chapter, try to make a brief summary of what is discussed. Once you’ve finished the book, re-collect all of the notes, questions, ideas, and summaries. You can write a short essay to reflect on what information you’ve retrieved, and your ideas and thoughts on the book. This not only helps to reinforce your understanding of the book, but also allows you to get a clearer look at the large picture.

5. Take advantage of technology

Technology sounds like distractions, but used in the right way, it can boost your speed, comprehension, and efficiency in reading.
For example, instead of a physical book, try reading an ebook on a professional eink device. All ereaders come with built-in dictionaries that can show you the definition of a word immediately. Some ereaders even go as far as saving the word search history and make flashcards out of them for you to review later on. In addition, they also allow you to search for concepts on Wikipedia without leaving your book. That helps you comprehend better with much less time spent.
Photo Credit: Atirador

Being tech savvy makes reading more flexible for you too. If you have a Kindle app on a voice-enabled device, try Whispersync for Voice to switch seamlessly between an ebook and its audio version. Never put down a book you’re enjoying to do the laundry anymore - you can continue by listening to it.

6. Discuss the book

The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. However, you don’t always have to give a lecture about what you’re reading.

Instead, pick some ideas you find intriguing from the book and discuss them with people you know are interested. If you’re reading about new economic policies, for example, talk about it with your entrepreneur friends.

Your discussion partners may ask you to clarify some points, and you will find out very quickly if you don’t truly understand the book. They may expand your knowledge by giving their own input and introducing more ideas and books on the related topic. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

7. Be consistent

To read effectively, a little bit of consistency is required.

It’s best to set a fixed time to read every day. Read during the 30 minutes of cool down after your weight lifting session in the afternoon, for instance. That way, after a short while, your body and mind will be accustomed to the activity. They will anticipate, and get themselves down for a read right as the time arrives.

If it’s too hard to set a fixed time, make a goal of the number of pages to read instead. Get yourself to read 20 pages a day, for example.  Stick to your goal, and try to finish it as early in the day as possible, before everything else takes up all of your time and energy.

You may find it hard to switch to the book from other activities at first. However, if you keep doing it, you will train yourself to be a master. After a month or two, it will become much easier for you to gain concentration to the content within a short period of time.


Anitya is a full-time nooblogger from Hooked To Books, a blog dedicated to book and reading gadget reviews. She aspires to make the reading time the highlight of the day for everyone by sharing her reading tips, introducing interesting books, and reviewing gadgets that provide comfort and enhance reading efficiency.
You can find her on Twitter, and Facebook.

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