You can go to the internet and read about the multitudinous benefits of reading covered extensively in research studies. Here instead, I will be discussing some strategies to reading that will help immensely in getting the most out of your time and making you smarter.
Read different books simultaneously
This does not mean juxtaposing two books and moving your head side to side. This is rather about picking up two different books of your interest and alternating between them throughout your day. For example, I might find myself reading a self-help book in the afternoon, and at night time, I’m reading a biography. Why? Because doing so adds variety to the types of information you can absorb throughout the day. And what’s more? you will be able to draw parallels between the mixed genres and think of something you would never have thought of otherwise —which leads me to my next point.
Annotate your thoughts
Whether you are typing out your notes or writing in a notebook, doing so is a practice that will give you a way to dialogue with the author, or remember pivotal points in the book evoking a sense of curiosity, humor, anger. When I tried to incorporate this habit into my routine, I started with highlighting. But I shortly realized when reviewing these notes that not only was I unable to recall the thoughts or emotions I had, but I couldn’t stand the fact there were highlights everywhere in my book! That is when I began the transition to sticky notes—perhaps not the most elegant manner of penning—where my questions and thoughts went. (Soon after that, I simply typed everything out on a text editor)
I have found that note-taking has given me the chance to contrast my thoughts before and after and see paradigm shifts. So in cases where I find dispute between an author’s contentions and mine own, I’ll find that by reviewing my notes after, my thoughts have changed. Additionally, should I ever need to reference ideas or quotes, I can easily scan through and pull what I need.
Have a dictionary open and ready
Normally, you wouldn’t have your phone nearby during a reading session if you get easily distracted by Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram notifications, but if you’re stuck on a word, pull it out and do a quick Google search. Nothing makes a reader less intelligent than when they don’t seize the opportunity to enrich their vocabulary bank. This is especially important if you tend to encounter sentences with big words and decide it best to cursorily read over and find a summarizing point you believe suffices. It behooves the reader not to let an intimidating words greater than two syllables hinder him/her from comprehending what appears to be esoteric language. If you still can’t understand what the author says, simply ask!
What things do you do to spice up your reading session? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!