Reading skills for effective learning skills
Effective reading makes for productive study time and helps you develop good study skills. Effective reading ensures that you make the best use of your reading time, assimilating as much as possible from the reading material. Improving your reading skills helps you to quickly and effectively prepare ahead for your classes so that you are familiar with the lesson that is taught, if you are preparing for a meeting or interview, your reading skills enables you to effectively collect information prior to the meeting so that you are prepared for the kind of questions and issues that could be raised in the course of the meetings or interview. Students need to do a lot of reading especially at the college or university level and effective reading is of great value for effective learning or study skills.
To develop the habit of effective reading it would be important to get rid of mental blocks that prevent good reading skills. Very often I chance to meet students who think text books are boring, the library is boring. This is probably because they have not taken the time to develop the habit of reading. One needs to approach reading with the right mindset, if not, it is futile to continue reading as most of what you read will not even register in your brain. Developing interest is very crucial to effective reading.
Simple ways to develop interest in reading
Picking up books that you like to read and reading the material for about 45 minutes at a time, would help develop the habit. A habit is formed by developing a routine and doing the task day after day without fail. For more information on forming good habits and breaking bad ones follow this link. When you find that your interest is developed, you need to focus on increasing your concentration and moving to other kinds of material that you ought to be reading.
Develop the right attitude
Effective reading is possible only with the right attitude. Without interest or enjoyment of the reading matter, it would be difficult to improve reading skills. A negative attitude towards reading puts a mental block that stops a person from getting the most out of the material. Some people could read for hours on end but, without being able to even remember a few points about what they have read. Their attention span is wavering and generally, they would have to re-read most of what they have read to make some sense of it.
Finding the purpose for your reading
The next important aspect of effective reading skill is having a purpose for reading. Your purpose decides the level of concentration and the intensity of the reading required. If you know what is that you want from the material that you are reading, you could decide on the reading technique that you need to adopt.
When you are only trying to find a particular term or name you don’t have to read through all information, you just need to scan through to look for those words that will connect you to the concept you are searching for. This involves more of eye movement over the material to help you achieve the purpose.
To prepare for a lecture, a quick review would do the job. You could skim through the material generally getting the gist of it, in order to help you follow the lessons taught in a class.
For research purposes, one would have to do a thorough study of the material at hand and adopt an investigative style of reading.
Reading techniques for effective reading
Active reading is active learning. Active reading is an important tool for effective reading. Active reading skills requires a person to have a proper reading plan. To do that, you need to gather all the information you can on the subject, decide what are the things that you really need to focus on.. your syllabus tell you where you need to focus.
In active reading, you grasp the main points or the meat of the text by which you get the key concepts and facts right. Making notes, highlighting, making bold or even underlining key words and phrases are an important part of active learning.
Summarizing after each page or paragraph would not only make reading meaningful, but make sure that you have all the points right and help you to remember what you read.
Ask questions and look for the answers while reading, makes your reading more planned and effective.
Scanning the reading material after you have read the whole chapter and blocking parts of the text trying to fill in the gaps to check your understanding of concepts makes reading time hugely effective and productive.
For effective reading, the person should be able to know when his/her concentration is lagging and know when to stop. A person is able to concentrate well for 40-45 minutes and not beyond that so a person needs to know when to take a break so that he/she is able to make the best use of the reading time.
Pause , it is good to pause after you have read through a new concept or idea and try to understand it in your mind. Research proves that much of the information gathered during reading is processed effectively during the breaks. Effective learning occurs when you pause between active learning.
Smart reading - Often with so much to read, time is a major constraint and you may have to make good use of smart reading techniques. Smart reading consists of reading summaries, introductions, prefaces, conclusions, etc. to get a complete gist of what is being said in the whole chapter. This enables a person to get the maximum benefit within a short time span. This also helps to keep focus on what is central and important to the chapter. Most often the summaries tell you what is most important in a chapter, from the author’s point of view.
One important point to keep in mind for effective reading is that mouthing words slows the pace of one’s reading. Scanning with the eyes can help you read much faster. With a little practice, eyes easily pick out key points, making reading even more faster.
Speed reading is good when you have a lot of material to keep up with. This should be done with your reference material and not the course material. Speed reading is especially important for students in universities and professional colleges, where you need to go beyond textbooks and read a lot of other reference material. Adjusting the pace of the reading to suit the purpose is of vital importance in effective reading.
Sometimes, you may not have to read all the material that is available so the reader can look up sub headings and do selective reading of the required material only. This could save a lot of time and effort and help you keep your focus on relevant material. In active reading, some times it would be smart to sideline the prescribed text books if they are complex in nature and look for material that is easy to understand but in keeping with the prescribed standards..
Another effective reading technique is reading with an analytical and critical eye, comparing the material to the lectures or other material that you have read. This not only makes reading interesting but also helps to clarify concepts and gain more understanding of them. Making good use of technology would also be a smart part of effective reading. Having your material read by a text-to-voice converter or having your voice recorded when you read and listening to it when you are engaged in other activity is putting technology to good use and making your reading doubly effective.
With so much to read and so little time, it is important to pull all techniques that can help you to read effectively into practice. Effective reading is important for every student who dreams of making good grades in college or high school.