Reading is one of those core skills that many people take for granted. In the bustle of modern life it can be easy to get confused and become a scattered, diverted reader. Here are some tips for becoming a better reader and improving your reading skills.
Set the Mood
If you want to improve your reading and become a skilled master of books then you need to set aside the time and intention to read. Reading even a chapter or section of a book doesn’t necessarily take that long, but if you’re distracted or checking your phone half the time you might as well not even read.
Drill down and focus, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. You’ll become a better reader who remembers and appreciates more of what you read.¹
Read Your Level
Reading at your level doesn’t just mean to read young adult fiction if you’re a young adult and so on. It also means choosing subject matter and a style of book that you’re interested in and engaged with.
If you drop a book on advanced physics in the lap of a brilliant literature student, he or she might not get much out of it and vice versa if you drop Shakespeare’s sonnets on the lap of a talented physicist. Choose what you’re into and don’t try to dive into deep or archaic material until you’ve started slowly and built your way up to it.²
Note It Down
Taking notes while reading? It sounds excessive but it can actually help you focus on what you’re reading and recall and process the content. You don’t need to write notes constantly, but put one now and then if you’re on Kindle or write it down by hand in the margins if you’re reading a physical copy.
Maybe there’s a quote in the book that you particularly love or a question you have about a claim or story the author is telling: write a note and find out later once you’re done reading.³
Skimming is the one thing that so many of us do that lowers our reading level and makes us miss key information, lose out on great books and become distracted hamsters spinning in a spaghetti salad of words.
Instead of skimming, try reading as slowly as you need to really focus. Start with just one sentence and fully grasp it before moving to the next. Better to read one page fully and get into it than 20 pages and still be totally distracted and not absorbing most of what you read.¹
Keeping a list of books you really want to read will help build anticipation and increase your motivation to read. The truth is that if you want to become a good reader you need to … read. But nobody will force you to read unless you’re still in school – and even then it can be a tough bet – so it’s up to you to seek out books that you’re interested in and have a go at them. You might find yourself enjoying it quite a lot.³
Hone Your Skills
Becoming a better reader is all about practice. Note down new vocabulary and set aside time to read with your full attention, enjoying the experience and avoiding skimming or multi-tasking.
The more that you read with your full attention the more you will enjoy books and come to appreciate and retain information from them. From there you are well on the path to becoming a better reader and are ready to tackle even more challenging and difficult books that you’ve always been wanting to read.²