Tips to Become an Effective Reader

Tips to Become an Effective Reader

Build reading skills, a crucial skill that helps us grasp and use information. There is a misconception that one is a good reader if they have read many books. However, what’s important is how you perceive and interpret the information you’ve just read. Master the skill of reading with practice and some smart techniques. Here are some strategies you can explore to become an effective reader.

1. Get an Overview

Preview your text before you begin reading. This is a great way to read efficiently as it gives the reader a sense of what’s cooking in the book beforehand. Previewing gives a general overview of whether the content in a book or an article is useful enough for you or not. It helps locate sections that you find necessary to read and build effective reading habits.

How to preview?

  • Read through the title and author
  • Read the abstract of the book (if any)
  • Read through chapter headings, summaries and anything that stands out for you in the text
  • Explore diagrams, tables, and graphs in the book

2. Skim for an Overall Picture

Skimming is helpful when you’re hard-pressed for time. It is a strategy where you can scan through the text and note down important information. This technique helps you pick up the central ideas in a book or article with ease. Think of skimming as a level-up over previewing. 

How to skim?

  • For short pieces – you read the whole article
  • In the case of longer articles – a couple of lines from each paragraph should suffice 
  • For research papers – read the abstract and conclusion

3. Scan to Discover Specific Information

Want to enhance your speed while reading? Then you should try scanning your material. The idea is to read with a purpose. For instance, what do you do if you are going through your study material and need a quick look at a formula? You look for the topic in which the said formula appears. This technique saves time and energy while also being practical. 

How to scan through information?

  • Have your questions and keywords ready. Know what you’re looking for
  • Use your fingers while scanning information to discover insights faster
  • With your fingertips moving across data, you may see yourself grasping and processing information more quickly

4. Build the Skill of Intensive Reading

Intensive reading is all about the details. It requires the reader to be focused on understanding and remembering the information. Intensive reading is useful when you’re approaching a topic for the first time. 

How to read intensively?

  • Concentrate on the piece and read to understand
  • Mark difficult words but don’t stop reading
  • Try to underline key points or make notes 
  • If the text is a little complicated, read again 
  • Focus on the central idea in each paragraph. These are usually in the first and last sentences
  • After you’ve read the text once, go back to the unfamiliar vocabulary. Use a dictionary to look up meanings
  • Use bookmarks to keep track of topics you may want to revisit

BONUS: Reading Tips for Effective Reading

  1. Make reading exciting by visualising what you’re reading 
  2. Interact with the text by asking questions about the information you are reading
  3. When reading long pieces, try to divide the article into smaller portions and read it 
  4. Highlighting important information helps you remember better and also revisit it 
  5. Have reading goals because one of the ways to improve reading is to practise

It doesn’t matter how many books you read. What matters is how much information you’ve grasped. The key is to be flexible and use techniques that help you enjoy the process and also enable you to learn something new.