Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 11, 2021

9 Effective Reading Strategies For Quick Comprehension

9 Effective Reading Strategies For Quick Comprehension

Whether you are a veteran at reading or just starting to get into adult reading for the first time, you know that reading isn’t quite the same as before. It might be taking you more time to process what you are reading, or maybe you’re looking to speed up your reading overall. Whatever the case may be, what’s truly blocking you from getting up to the right reading speed is the lack of a reading strategy.

I’ve been there plenty of times before, and thanks to the various reading strategies I’ll be talking about, you can devise a reading comprehension strategy to make you understand and read things faster than before.

Here are nine effective reading strategies for quick comprehension:

1. Read With a Purpose

The first strategy that I’d suggest employing is to read with a purpose. This is my go-to strategy for quick comprehension. As I’ve expressed in the past, life is very fast-paced, and reading a book allows me to slow down as I give myself fully to the book, regardless of the genre.

The reason I approach my reading this way is that if your brain is distracted or unable to process the information presented, then you’ll lose that information.

Another way you can look at this is to read with a purpose in mind. You’ll lose that information if you don’t focus on that purpose for reading.

Knowing how to read with a purpose is a matter of grouping books into three categories:

Advertising

  • Books that strengthen a skill – These books are packed with knowledge consolidated over the years that you can quickly access.
  • Books that share success stories and allow you to learn about a person’s struggles and failures – Even though your circumstances are different, reading about a big name in a field you’re interested in humanizes the process you’re going through right now.
  • Books that let you experience life in a different way than yours – These books provide profound insights into other life experiences and help you understand people on a deeper level.

By grouping books into these categories, you have a clear purpose for reading each book and processing information in that manner.

2. Previewing

I’ve read many books over the years, of course, and one thing you’ll quickly find is that many authors—in non-fiction books specifically—will talk about similar concepts. While an author’s view will be different, some concepts are consistent across the board.

This is where this strategy truly shines as this is all about previewing a text and tapping into what you already know about the subject. While a book or an article could expand your knowledge of something, this can speed up your reading time and understanding because the author is talking about something you’re already familiar with.

There’s no point in reading over something you already know, so it’s easier and faster to move on to how the author uses that information instead.

3. Predicting

Expanding from previewing, the idea with this is that you’re making predictions about what the book or article you’re about to read is like. It sets up expectations.

For example, when you read the title of this post, you expect reading strategies to make comprehension easier. You’re not expecting anything else but that.

This same concept holds true with any book you read. Of course, you’ll make adjustments to your prediction as you read through, but like previewing, you are still brushing over pieces of information that you’re already familiar with or that you expected to be there.

Advertising

4. Identifying the Main Point

Every book has a summary to entice readers, but you can provide more in-depth summarization as you’re going through chapters of a book. If you’re looking for faster comprehension of a book, you must find the main idea that the book is presenting to you. Furthermore, by putting it into your words, you’ll have a better grasp of it.

The main point of the book could also be explained in the preface section. Most non-fiction books are set-up in a way where they explain their arguing points of why something matters and why you should continue reading. From there, they’ll discuss what the book contains.

Oftentimes, the main point is in there and you can use that as a blanket statement for the rest of the book. Knowing the main point of the book allows you to put information into context. They’re explaining this concept because it ties into the main point they’re trying to convey.

This saves you a lot of time on reading since if you’re even somewhat familiar with the topic, you can gloss over information with the other methods. Furthermore, you’ll be able to retain this information better as you can describe the main point of a book in a single sentence in the future.

5. Questioning

While you are preparing to read a book, another key reading strategy is to have questions in mind. This may require you to briefly skim through the book and ask yourself questions based on what you skimmed. Questions can stem from various sentences or even the titles or headlines that authors use.

By creating questions, you then begin to focus on answering those questions. Naturally, this brings comprehension quickly as the book ought to be equipped to answer those questions.

How you go about asking these questions is up to you. You could think of them and hold onto them, or you could consider writing them on the right margin of the page where you got that question. As you read through the book, you could mention the answer on the left margin or underline the answer and note the page number underneath the question you asked.

Advertising

6. Inferring

This is all about reading between the lines—a skill that not many people have or are hesitant to use. Inferring is a reading strategy that can seem like it would backfire as people’s interpretation of something could be off from what the author intends to convey. But that’s further from the truth as inferring is a process of learning and something you can develop over time.

It’s fine if you’re wrong about things as inferring encourages more of discovering and absorbing information on a deeper level. This naturally increases your comprehension of a topic.

Inferring, in the end, is all about drawing your own conclusions. An author presents information that you can then deduce for yourself and develop all kinds of questions. What do they mean by this? How does this fit in with everything else they’ve said thus far?

Again, even if you’re wrong with the answers to those questions later on in the book, there’s still knowledge to be gained. The answers that you have created could spark new questions or understanding. And when an author presents something different from yours, then your knowledge still expands with that in mind.

If you happen to be right, then you save yourself a lengthy explanation, which cuts down on reading time and comprehension.

7. Visualizing

Visualizing covers the creative side of things and is one of the more thrilling methods of quickly comprehending something. Even if you’re reading a non-fiction book or article, visualizing is still a helpful tool.

The idea is to be crafting, drawing, or making mental images of the information that you have. If the author outlines a system for you to use, look at the various aspects of that system. Visualize yourself performing these specific actions. Things like these keep you invested in learning and understanding more since you’re using both sides of the brain to digest information.

Advertising

Visualizing also keeps you invested because it answers the question, “how is this relevant to me?” We read books because of specific emotional or personal reasons and visualizing can help you in answering that question, especially how you see it fitting in your life.

8. Monitoring/Clarifying

Stemming from inferring and predicting, monitoring/clarifying as a reading strategy is taking your deductions and comparing them to what you are actually reading. In many cases, your understanding of something can be different from what the author is stating, and from that comes a deeper understanding of the information. This can also stem from questioning strategies as you are searching for clarity in those answers.

9. Searching

The final reading strategy stems from questioning where you are looking for answers—similar to clarifying. The difference between searching and clarifying is that clarifying is designed for a general understanding.

For searching, you’re looking to find information that backs up and reinforces what you wish to be learning about. This puts you in a situation where you’re defining things that you’re uncertain about, and it allows you to solve problems that you still have with the text.

Final Thoughts

Comprehending what you’re reading involves having a system of reading strategies that you can easily tap into. Effective readers will employ several of these strategies to rapidly understand what they’re reading.

As such, I would strongly encourage you to employ these methods and experiment. Find out what works for you and develop a reading strategy that works best for you.

More Essential Reading Strategies

Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive Do You Know Your Motivation Style? A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) What Is A Flow State And How To Achieve It For Productivity

Trending in Learning

1 How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 2 How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ 3 How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) 4 10 Best Methods of Learning Smarter and Faster 5 What Is Double Loop Learning And How Is It Valuable?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 13, 2021

How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone

How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone

One of the best ways that we can make sure that we grow and develop as people is to keep learning as much as we can. Learning teaches us some new knowledge and new skills, and it also keeps our brains alert and active. Learning is great, but sometimes you can lose the motivation to get on and study. This can be all the harder if you learn something outside of your comfort zone or something that you wouldn’t usually think to learn.

The important thing to remember when it comes to learning, whether within or outside of your comfort zone, is that motivation is yours to find. But how do you get the motivation to learn?

Here are 10 ways to help you find the motivation to learn anything outside of your comfort zone.

1. Find Out Why You Are Procrastinating

Procrastination is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t have the motivation to learn. So, working out why you are procrastinating and putting your learning off is one of the first steps to finding your inspiration.

There are a variety of reasons why you may be placing it on the back burner. Here are some examples:

  • You are worried that you are going to fail.
  • You are finding the learning boring.
  • You are waiting for the perfect time to start.
  • You are feeling overwhelmed.
  • You are not sure where to start.

Once you know the reasons why you lack motivation, you can start to work on fixing it and getting back out there.

Advertising

2. Find Out Why You Are Doing It

As well as finding out the reasons why you keep procrastinating when it comes to your learning, you also need to remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. Having this end goal in mind can be all the motivation that you need to get there in the end.

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn, and you cannot say that yours is the same as someone else’s. This means that you need to think about what matters most to you.

It could be simply to develop yourself, it could be to take the next step on the career ladder, or it could be to retrain and be something else totally. No matter what reason you have for learning, finding out why you are doing it can motivate learning that you may find you need, helping you to get where you want to go.

3. Break It Down

Sometimes, you may lack motivation because you feel overwhelmed by how much you need to do. It may sound obvious, but one of the best things you can do is break down the material into more manageable chunks.

Think about how much realistically you can fit into one chunk and then assign a period to it. This could be one day or one week, depending on your end deadline. Once you break it down, you will see that it is not as daunting as you were worried that it would be and that you can get it done.

The important thing to remember is that you are in control of your chunks, which means you can decide how big they are and how often you focus on them.

Advertising

4. Choose a Reward

We are simple creatures by nature, and when we feel that we have done well, we will want some kind of reward. It doesn’t matter what the task is or what we want to do, if we reward ourselves, we will be much more inclined to try harder next time. This can help us to greatly improve our motivation to learn.

The reward doesn’t have to be anything huge. Sometimes, it can just be your favorite chocolate bar, some free time to read a book, or perhaps even a short session to soak in a nice hot bath. Whatever it is, you will want to try hard if you know something positive is in the future.

5. Stick to a Routine

The idea of sticking to a routine might not sound like an exciting way to get you motivated to learn, but the truth is that having a pattern can actually be one of the most valuable approaches to take.

The thing about routines is that they are something that we can get used to. When you do the same thing and the same kind of time or in the same order, then you will start to think of it as a habit that you do rather than something that you need to put a whole lot of thought into. While you need to focus on your learning, not having to think about the task at hand means that you won’t need to find excuses not to do it.

6. Seek to Understand, Not Just Memorize

When it comes to learning, most of the time, you will feel somewhat like a sponge, trying to soak all the knowledge up and keep it in your brain. Of course, this is in part true, but you must try your very best always to understand what you are learning.

Not only will this help you to succeed in your learning, but it can also help you focus if you are trying to make sense of the topic, rather than just reading through it and trying to memorize it. You will find it much more interesting, which, in turn, helps you stay motivated and push towards your end goal.

Advertising

7. Keep It Short and Sweet

The chances are, you are going to find it hard-going to study for long periods of time, especially if you have lots of other things in your life to focus on. This means that one of the best things that you can do to maintain motivation for learning is to keep it short and sweet.

When you study in a short burst, you will be allowing your mind to focus on that task and then have a break. This will help you stay motivated, and you can have multiple shorter bursts of learning but spread them out throughout the day.

8. Realize That You Can’t Stay Motivated All the Time

While you should do whatever you can to stay motivated, you also need to remember that sometimes, you are just not going to feel it. No one—not even the most successful people out there—will feel motivated all of the time. This doesn’t mean that they are any less dedicated to whatever they want to do or that they stand less of a chance to get there.

When you recognize that it is okay not to be motivated all the time, you can start to understand what you can do to get that motivation back and drive yourself forward.

9. Study With Someone

You may find that being lonely and studying alone is what is behind your lack of motivation to learn. We are social beings, which means that we need to be around others to feel the best.

This is not only in friendships but also in learning. Having someone else to study with makes you feel much more motivated for learning. Not only will you look forward to your time together, but you can also bounce ideas off of one another. You will also feel somewhat obliged to study with them, which means you will want to learn and want to find out as much as possible.

Advertising

10. Look After Yourself

When you want your brain to work the best that it can, you will need to make sure that you are taking proper care of it. Looking after yourself may sound like the simplest thing, but it can be really worthwhile.

When you look after yourself, you are thinking about your mental health, physical health, and any relationship issues you may have. There are so many ways you can take care of yourself, and you should know some of the basics if you want to focus on your extra work.

The main things that you need to remember to do are to eat well and drink plenty of water and other hydrating drinks. You also need to stay active and exercise as much as you can as being active is known to really positively impact how well you focus.[1]

You also need to make sure that you are sleeping as much as possible because tiredness never goes well with learning. It can make you feel sluggish and lose concentration.

Final Thoughts

It really is down to you to find your own motivation to learn. So, what are you waiting for?

Think about what you are studying, how much time you have, and how you can make things that little bit easier to manage. Then, you can start to ensure that you reach those end goals, whatever they are.

More Tips on How to Find Motivation to Learn

Featured photo credit: Chris Benson via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next