Open the book, read it, close it and move on to the next one.
After all, we all learned how to read in elementary school, right?
But do you know what is reading?
Be honest, are you really reading?
Reading can make you a better person, as long as you know why you’re reading, pay attention to what you read and leaving time to practice what you read.
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.Jim Rohn
There is, as it turns out, a correct way to dive into the pages of a book. If you’ve ever wondered how to read a book, you’ll want to read this simple guide I am planning to follow from now.
Why read books? According to Science.
Reading fiction makes you more open-minded and creative
According to research conducted at the University of Toronto, study participants who read short-story fiction experienced far less need for “cognitive closure”.
Compared with counterparts who read nonfiction essays. they tested as more open-minded, compared with the readers of essays.
People who read books live longer
That’s according to Yale researchers who studied 3,635 people older than 50.
They found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or magazine readers.
If you’re reading for your own enjoyment, you will want to pick a general interest fiction or nonfiction book.
There are millions of such books, so finding one that’s right for you can be challenging.
Knowing your personal taste can help you find a book you’ll find enjoyable.
Think about what kind of experience you want to have while reading.
- Do you want a rousing adventure tale?
- An emotional journey through the lives of believable characters?
- Is there a famous person you’d like to know more about?
- Are you interested to know more about a country, a landmark, a war, a historical event?
- Do you prefer to know more about oceans, or dinosaurs, or pirates, or stage magic?
Answering these questions will narrow down the field of possible books.
As a book blogger who wants to develop a reading habit I was searching for new ways on how can I be a better reader and here where the question comes on my mind: How can I read a book effectively?
I admit that I have my own ways to read books but who can ignore new tricks?
Here is the new system on How to Read a Book
In 1940, Mortimer Adler wrote the first edition of “How to Read a Book”.
However, there have been later editions that contain great information also.
I didn’t read the paper book yet, but I am going to cover what I learned from other book readers who implemented this book’s strategy.
Adler states that there are four levels of reading:
Each of these reading levels is cumulative. You can’t progress to a higher level without mastering the levels that come before.
It’s what we learn in elementary school.
And gets us to the point that we can understand the words on a page and read them.
Follow a basic line of understanding, but not much more.
We’ve been taught that skimming and superficial reading are bad for understanding. That is not the case. Using these tools can also increase understanding.
Inspectional reading also allows us to look at the author’s blueprint and check the merits of a deeper reading experience.
It’s particularly useful when you’re at the bookstore trying to pick out your next book and deciding if the unknown object in front of you is worth the dough.
There are two sub-types of inspectional reading:
This is the equal of scanning a blog post to see if you want to read it.
You’re selectively dipping in and out of content to gauge interest.
The same for books, go beyond the dust jacket and peruse the table of contents.
Give yourself a set amount of time to do it.
Skimming helps you reach a decision point: Does this book deserve more of my time and attention? If not you put it down.
This is when you read.
Don’t ponder the argument, don’t look things up.
No writings in the margins.
If you can’t understand something, move on.
What you gain from this quick read will help you later when you go back and put more effort into reading. You now come to another decision point.
Now that you have a better understanding of the book’s contents and its structure, do you want to understand it?
You can often get a pretty good feel for a book with an inspectional reading by following the steps below.
(To get the most out of this, you can actually follow along with a book of your shelf):
1. Read the title and look at the front and back covers of the book.
2. Pay special attention to the first pages of the book.
3. For non-fiction, skim headings and read the concluding chapter
4. Consider reading some reviews of the book
At this level of reading, you’re now engaging your critical mind to dig down into the meaning and motivation beyond the text.
To get a true understanding of a book, you would:
1- What is the book about, as a whole?
Come up, in your own words, with a few sentences or even a paragraph that describes what the book is about. This can actually be surface level; you don’t have to dig too deep.
2- What is being said in detail, and how?
This is where you start to dig a little deeper.
When you’re done with that first reading of the book.
Adler recommends writing an outline of the book so you get a feel for its organization and tenor.
Briefly go back and page through the book, jogging your memory of the key points.
3- Is the book true, in whole or in part?
These last two questions are where we get to the meat of reading.
As before, for non-fiction, this is a relatively easy question to answer.
Is what the author said true? Are the facts they presented true?
With fiction, it’s more about asking if what was written is true to the general human experience, or even to your own experience.
4- What of it? What’s the significance?
If the book is indeed saying something true about the human experience, what’s the takeaway?
If something strikes a chord with you, and you do nothing with it, it becomes at least partially wasted.
The final level of reading is syntopical.
Which requires that you read books on the same subject and challenge yourself to compare and contrast as you go.
This is time and research intensive, and it’s not likely that you’ll do this type of reading very much after college.
Unless your profession or hobby calls for it.
There are five steps to syntopical reading:
- Finding the Relevant Passages
- Bringing the Author to Terms
- Getting the Questions Clear
- Defining the Issues
- Analyzing the Discussion
Getting into detail with a book (as in the analytical and syntopical level) will help cement impressions of the book in your mind.
3 Simple Tips To Remember What You Read
Reading a good book can be a rewarding experience.
But it can be frustrating when the information floats through your head without sticking in your memory.
I’ve read a simple method on Lifehacker that can make a difference in retaining information and I wanted to share it with you.
Train your brain with the impression, association, and repetition
Be impressed with the text. Stop and picture a scene in your mind, even adding elements like greatness or shock
to make the impression stronger.
Link the text to something you already know. This technique is used to great effect with memorization.
The more you repeat, the more you remember.
This can occur by re-reading a certain passage or in highlighting it then returning to it again later.
Therefore, practicing these three elements of remembering will help you get better and better. The more you work at it, the more you’ll remember.
3 Extra actions to follow
Shane Parrish of the Farnam Street blog makes reading a priority, and he cuts out time from other activities.
3. Develop a system of note-taking.
One of the most common threads in my research into remembering more of the books you read is this: Take good notes.
♦ Scribble in the margins as you go.
♦ Bookmark your favorite passages.
♦ Write a review when you’ve finished.
Finally, when you’ve done these things, return to your notes periodically to review and refresh.
Here a few links to know more on reading books effectivelly:
Who needs to learn how to read?
How to Read a Book?
How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
As you advance through these levels of reading, you will find yourself incorporating the brain techniques of impression, association, and repetition along the way.
If all this sounds like hard work, you’re right. Most people won’t do it.
That’s what sets us apart.
What tips do you have to make reading the most worthwhile experience it can be?