Five steps for effective reading
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Five steps for effective reading

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We take reading for granted but there is an are to reading just like there is an art to writing.

We take reading for granted but there is an are to reading just like there is an art to writing.

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  • 1. Five Steps for Effective Reading “ There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing” (Isaac Disraeli)
  • 2. Difficulties with effective reading
    • Time management:
    • Finding time to read to get an overall idea about a subject
    • Finding time to read to prepare for assignments
    • ‘ Technical’ reading issues:
    • Learning in English if this is not your first language
    • Puzzling over unfamiliar words of jargon
    • Repeatedly going back over what has just been read to check understanding
    • Reading aloud or under the breath
  • 3. Five steps to more effective reading
    • Feeling right about reading
    • Become a more selective reader
    • Become a smarter reader
    • Become a more focused (and faster) reader
    • Become a more active reader
  • 4. Step 1: Feeling right about reading
    • Which one of these is you?
    • I enjoy reading all types of things and often read for pleasure as well as for work or study purposes.
    • I quite like reading, depending on the subject, and will get on with doing it, particularly for work or study purposes – but I would not say that it was my first priority for pleasure purposes!
    • I’m not very keen on reading, but will do it because I have to for work or study purposes. I might, occasionally do it for pleasure!
    • I dislike reading, have never really enjoyed it, and try to avoid it whenever possible
    • Share with the person sitting beside you
  • 5.
    • Your feelings about reading
    • People who enjoy reading generally:
    • Find the right place and time to read
    • Get into the right mood
    • Get involved actively with what they read
    • Find the right text to read
    • These basic reading practices will help you in higher education
  • 6. But if you don’t like reading or have mixed feelings about it
    • Try to increase your enjoyment of reading by:
    • Once a week buy some thing to read that you really enjoy – a magazine or a comic – funny, exciting, gossipy – whatever floats your boat! Try and look forward to this point in the week. Read it and enjoy it. Stop when you get bored.
    • Try and encourage a friend or partner to read the same thing you selected and then have a discussion about what you have read.
    • Set yourself strict limits for reading things – 40-50 minutes reading at any one time. As you read, try and engage more actively with the text.
  • 7.
    • Become a more selective reader
    • You are not expected to read set books from cover-to-cover. You are meant to read with a particular learning purpose in mind.
    • Don’t be afraid to deviate from recommended books – some books are easier to read than others – find one that you can understand and then once you have grasped the key ideas go back to the recommended book.
  • 8.
    • Become a more selective reader
    • You may prefer books that illustrate ideas with pictures and graphics (links to your learning style) – there is nothing wrong with that! The important thing is that you develop your understanding of the ideas, theories and practices that you are learning about.
    • Be clear about the purpose of your reading and what you want from the text before you start – this will save you time and stop you from ‘faffing’ about.
  • 9.
    • Become a smarter reader
    • Read the summaries or conclusions of chapters and articles to gain an overview of what the chapter or book is about – this might be all that you need (key points)
    • If you need more depth then use the key points that you have picked up and then read for purpose to fill in the gaps - each paragraph in a well written piece usually contains a key point.
  • 10.
    • Become a smarter reader
    • Read at the right time to coincide with your energy levels
    • Know when to stop (40-50 mins)
    • Distraction problems – if you find your mind wondering off – ask yourself ‘how does this relate to real life?’. Try and connect with the subject to what you already know and your own experiences
  • 11.
    • Become a smarter reader
    • Listen to music – some types of music is thought to aid concentration e.g. baroque
    • If you are revising for an assessment try not to surround yourself with too many books so that you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed!
  • 12.
    • Become a more focussed (and faster) reader
    • Ask yourself if you do any of the following things:
    • Mouth words under your breath?
    • Keep going back over words just to reassure yourself you have understood their meanings?
    • Stop reading frequently to check unfamiliar words
    • Share with the person sitting next to you
  • 13.
    • Become a more focussed (and faster) reader
    • If you mouth words you an only read as fast as you can speak. Try to stop doing this and you will find that you reading speed increases (combine with the next technique)
  • 14.
    • Become a more focussed (and faster) reader
    Do you keep on going back over the words you have just read? This can be caused by anxiety – make a shape like this out of card and cover the text that you are not reading.
  • 15.
    • Become a more focussed (and faster) reader
    • Do you stop reading and frequently to check unfamiliar words?
    • Try keeping on reading as often the meaning becomes obvious once you read on.
    • Underline any words that you don’t understand and then go back to them an look them up later.
  • 16.
    • Become a more focussed (and faster) reader
    • Speed reading – you can actually learn how to read between 10,000 and 25,000 words a minute!
    • This technique is useful if you want to quickly find something in the text.
    • However often you need to read more slowly so that you can analyse or critically appraise the text.
    • The trick is to know when to speed up or slow down
  • 17.
    • Become a more active reader
    • Get involved with what you are doing – make notes
    • Making notes is different from taking notes – when you take notes you just copy down what you have read
    • Note making means summarising or highlighting what you feel is important or relevant
    • Ask yourself –
    • ‘ Do I really need this information, if so, which bit?’
    • ‘ Will I ever use the notes? If so, when and for what purpose?’
  • 18.
    • Become a more active reader
    • Use a voice recorder to record your notes – summarise in your own words - record the key points – replay it when you are in the car or on public transport
  • 19.
    • Become a more active reader
    • Visual forms of note making