Reading Strategies

Video Transcript

Find out how to get more from your reading.

Do you ever find yourself reading something, but getting very little useful information out of it?

Or do you ever have to re-read documents again and again because you find it hard to concentrate on the text?

Whether you're reading trade journals, reports, books, or blog posts, there are several strategies you can use to read quickly, at the same time that you get the most from your reading.

First, think about what you want to know. Why are you reading this document, and what do you want to get out of it? Flick through the document and see if it will meet your needs. If it won't, discard it, and find something more relevant.

Next, think about how deeply you need to study the material. If you only need a little bit of knowledge, you probably only need to skim headlines and key paragraphs. If you need to understand this material fully, skim the text first to get an overview of the subject, and then read more deeply.

And, when you do read in detail, read actively. Get involved by taking notes or highlighting important concepts – this helps you concentrate, and helps you refresh your mind on the subject when you come back to it.

Also, keep in mind that different types of documents organize information in different ways. For instance, magazine and newspapers usually only focus on the most interesting parts of a topic. This means an article might be missing critical information that would help you understand the topic fully. So it may be best to give these a miss if you want a deep understanding of a subject.

Finally, when you're reading technical or difficult material, create a glossary while you read, or put down key concepts in your own words. This will help you remember and understand the information. 

Now, read the article that accompanies this video, and learn more strategies you can use to save time and increase your comprehension, when you read.

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Comments (7)
  • Over a month ago Yolande wrote
    Hi rtab

    I often feel that there are so many books and so much stuff to read and so little time! To be honest (also depends on what I read)...I also find skimming quite difficult at times for exactly the same reason. However, I have learnt to do so simply because when you read through all the info it becomes apparent that everything isn't important. What a privilege to be able to read though...imagine where we would have been without it!

    Kind regards
    Yolandé
  • Over a month ago rtab wrote
    Hi,

    I have a lot of reading, from reading for uni to reading for work to reading mindtools. It's overwhelming at times. A tip I was given by my brother for uni reading was to skim and get an idea on a few of the reading materials and know in depth on one reading material.

    For work articles I have found that I read books as references alot. I still haven't got hold of skimming because I'm afraid I might miss out on that gem of an information that is going to make a difference.

    Reading for pleasure is the nicest and easiest!
  • Over a month ago zuni wrote
    Hi everyone,

    Great article on reading strategies. I do use a number of these strategies when I read and tailor the strategy to the my purpose. I have two other strategies that I use when reading: read critically and determine whether the material is supported by solid research.

    First, what do I mean by reading critically? I read with an eye to determining the speakers point of view and the underlying perspective or theory being communicated. Everyone has a point of view and that perspective is shaped by foundational beliefs. Who is speaking? What group or point of view does he/she respresent? What is the reader's intent?

    Second, I review a book or article to determine the research behind it. Knowing this information helps me to determine how the reader is making his/her conclusions and what might be absent from the discussion. So, I check the end of each chapter, the footnotes and endnotes. The research notes also lead you to other writers should you want to investigate ideas further.

    You might ask why I would use these two additional reading strategies. Earlier in my career I was more easily swayed by the popular business press. Later, I started looking behind what was being written to determine if what was being said was merely opinion or well substantiated with solid research. Having this distinction helped me to distinguish fad from fact.

    Zuni
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