When I was a kid, I had trouble with reading comprehension. I could read fine, but if you tried to test me on it I would fail. It shattered my confidence and made me hate reading. For years, I didn’t pick up a book unless I was required to for class. There was no “enjoyment” in reading for me. I hated it.
When I got to highschool, I had to read a lot. The summer before freshman year I had a reading list a mile long. I panicked and thought, “How am I possibly going to remember all of this?” I emailed my English teacher and asked her for advice and she shared with me a few things that I felt were so helpful. I still use these to this day.
1. Read actively. The key to reading is to read actively. You need to digest the material, with your mind engaged and processing what you are reading. Not only do you need to stay awake while you read, but you need to be ready to learn.This might mean uncurling from under your covers and sitting at the dining room table. I don’t know about you, but I cannot read in the bed. I will fall asleep so fast!
2. Write as you read. The most important part of reading actively is writing. This is the only way I can read. Taking notes while reading increases memorization and information retention. This is where Post-It’s come in handy, especially for books that you will have to return to a library or a friend. When you’re using this technique, there’s no need to write down full passages. Think BIG PICTURE. Focus on key concepts, definitions, outlines, major plot changes, etc.
3. Keep a running list of questions. While you are reading, keep a list of questions you need answered. You may want to keep one list of questions to ask your teacher/bookclub members/friends and another for questions you want to research on your own.
Whether you’re studying for class, reading alone for fun, or are in a book club like this one, these tips apply to make sure you get the best out of your book!