Spiderman Reading a Book

Effective Reading: Get the Most Out Of What You Read

Effective reading is a useful skill to help you understand, process, and give an informed reaction to any given text. It allows you to understand the writer’s message. Especially if you’re a college student or working in a field that requires lots of reading, or a Bible student who desires to carefully divide the Word, this skill will come in very handy. The more effectively you read, the easier it’ll be, the less time it will cost you, and you will get the most out of what you read.

Reading is one of my favorites. In fact, as soon as I graduated from college, I made it a goal to work in one a book publishing company. Things went slightly different but still, I ended up in book retail and distribution. 

I had the time of my life back then, being surrounded by books I get to read regularly, plus I am eligible then for extra discounts whenever I want to buy a title. Perhaps my love for reading is the reason why I also dreamt of becoming an accomplished writer. 

Many motivational speakers even agree that a common thing to most successful people is their love for reading. 

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

Anne Lamott

But reading is just half of the story. How do we get the most out of what we read? 

Define your objectives

Before you begin your reading journey, you should know your purpose. This will serve as your anchor to keep you going. Some people I know can devour thick pages of novels because their objective is to keep up with the craft of their favorite author. I am not into novels, but I love reading from the Christian literature genre. I read to reflect, to learn, to improve my insights, and to teach. Other objectives can be for entertainment, for quick note-taking, for intensive research, or to confirm ideas. 

Engage with what you read

Effective reading includes conversing with the author. The reason why reading seems dull at times is that we read just for the sake of reading. Don’t think of it as a lecture but as a dialogue with a friend. Ask questions, whether mentally or write them at the edges of the book. You can also read aloud at times. When reading poetry, you may read it poetically. 

The reason why reading seems dull at times is that we read just for the sake of reading. Don't think of it as a lecture but as a dialogue with a friend. Click To Tweet

Take notes and highlight

Just like the previous tip, engaging with the author may require you to take notes and highlight some important passages. Though I believe some readers don’t like their book pages to get dirty, or the book they are currently reading is a borrowed one, making highlights is a NO. You can make notes on a separate paper instead. Just make sure you indicate the page number for your reference. 

Chew until you digest

Sometimes, I resort to speed reading especially when I cram to review. But we all know that most of the time this is not helpful. If you want to make the most of your reading, adjust your reading speed at a pace where you can fully comprehend every idea and concept presented. Chew until you fully digest what you have learned, otherwise you will just waste your time if you have not retained anything.

Make a book review

This may not be for everyone but making a book review helps me understand the concepts I read more by sharing my thoughts, my arguments, and my reflections about it using my own words. It is a form of cognitive reinforcement so that the next time I’d like to discuss the topic, I can refer not only to the book I have read but also to the review I have written. This is basically the same as taking examinations in essay form. It helps you remember and process your thoughts. 

Apply what you read

Reading would not mean that much if it will not be translated into actions or changed principles. Especially when you are reading self-help books, it has to be applied. One vlogger I follow on YouTube, Nomad Finance Girl, encourages her subscribers to apply the concepts she read within 72 hours for maximum effect. Reading should not be an end in itself. It should be the beginning. 

Reading would not mean that much if it will not be translated into actions or changed principles. Especially when you are reading self-help books, it has to be applied. Click To Tweet

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

Mortimer J. Adler

What are your thoughts about this effective reading tips? What is your current read?

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