How to Read More, Learn More: 10 Tips to Get More Out of Books
Learning how to read more is a useful skill that will make you smarter and feeling more fulfilled. To make the most of it, though, you need to gauge where you currently are in your reading habits.
Are you the type of person who wants to read more but always puts it on the back-burner? Do you succumb to mindless reality shows, naps, or binge-watching a series instead?
You’ll have to get a handle on how you’re prioritizing your time if you want to improve your reading game. From there, you can start to hack away at it.
In the following article, we look at 10 tips for how to read more. And not just read more, but also get more out of what you’re reading. Let’s begin!
1. Bring a Book to Appointments
How much time do you spend waiting on other people? Think about it. It could be at the doctor’s office, waiting for a friend to get ready, enduring the oil change or shop service when something’s awry with your car.
All of those little moments offer you time to catch up on your reading. Let’s say you spend 30 minutes waiting in appointment scenarios each month.
That adds up to six hours over the course of the year, enough time to read an entire novel in your spare time. Learn to bring a book with you whether it’s a physical book or a digital one on your phone. It’ll make a tremendous difference.
2. Read While Walking
Now, we wouldn’t recommend this if you do your walking around traffic. You obviously need to be completely aware of your surroundings for that.
However, we’d be willing to guess that there are places around your house or on-campus, where you can walk without worrying about getting hit by a car. These can be great reading opportunities.
There’s a kitchen island in my house where I will do a lot of my walking. The path is so predictable that I’m able to read entire books while getting my exercise (not in one session, of course).
Be creative when it comes to squeezing in that extra time. And, of course, watch out for others and for your surroundings as a whole.
3. Embrace Both Digital and Print
You can get a lot more reading done as well if you’re willing to approach it on multiple fronts. Have an ebook, audiobook, and print book going at all times.
That’s a super-easy way to ensure that your reading time doesn’t get interrupted by much. Just engaging in the habit of reading will ensure a flow state when it comes to shrinking your pile.
And this goes for books you read for entertainment purposes and educational purposes. Keep a journal of how you’re doing along the way.
That journal needn’t consist of any more than the name of the book and a way to cross it off. You’ll be surprised by how much more you read in a given year than times past.
4. Take Pics
Sometimes if I’m really into a print book but it’s impractical to bring it with me, I’ll estimate the number of pages that I can realistically read while I’m at the place where I’m going.
I’ll then take quick snapshots with my phone of each planned reading page. This allows me to sneak in some reading time as a brief mental breather when I’m in between work tasks.
Obviously, you’ll want to be careful with this one. Some bosses are micromanagers, and they’ll flip if they think you’re not 100 percent engaged at all times.
But everyone has a free moment or two at work. That’s true whether going to the restroom or slipping away for a 15-minute break or lunch break. Put that time to use if you’re feeling up to it!
5. Get Rid of Books As You Finish Them
This might seem shocking if you have a collector’s mindset, but hear me out. Many times, the process of buying or collecting books will get us so overwhelmed we don’t know what to read next.
As a result, there’s the potential for that deer-in-the-headlights look as you come to the end of a new book. Very frustrating!
But if you get rid of books as you finish them, you can stay energized about the shrinking pile. You won’t get the “to-reads” mixed in with the ones you’ve finished.
You won’t end up getting halfway into a “new book,” only to find out you’ve already read it and felt pretty “meh” about it in the end. If you must keep tabs on all the books you’ve read, consider using a digital tool like Goodreads to log all of your progress and accomplishments.
6. Take a Speed Reading Course
Speed reading is a skill that can be developed over time. It usually consists of “testing” yourself. You read the same text word-for-word as fast as you can, then read the same passage by focusing only on the main words.
You’re able to get much further the second time around. Now, apply that same logic to a passage you have never read before.
It won’t take long for you to see that you know exactly what’s going on even if you didn’t “read” every word. There are apps like Outread to help with this, and you should absolutely give them a try.
Want to take it to the next level? Try a full-fledge speed reading course on a site like uDemy.
7. Implement a Speed Reading App
Outread was mentioned above. The paid version is so good. And don’t worry, it’s only a few dollars.
Why give it a try? Well, you can actually copy your ebooks over to the program and decide how many words per minute that you want to read.
From there, buckle up and follow the cursor as it sprints across the words. You may not retain every single word that flies past you, but you’ll get enoug of it that you know what’s going on.
In time, your natural reading speed will improve as well.
8. Learn to Pre-Read
Pre-reading is the act of looking ahead at the section or chapter you’re about to read to see what you’re up against. If it’s a non-fiction book, it will probably have subheadings.
Read each one that you encounter. This will guide you in the general direction that the content plans to go. As a result, you’ll be able to retain keywords better and synthesize into meaning.
This method is also effective for pushing you a little bit further than you planned to go. You think, “Ah, only two more pages to the next break? Let’s keep going!”
9. Skim When You Can
Skimming is helpful when you’re aware of the subject matter, and you’re looking for specific points. Skimming helps you know when to gloss over long explanations for concepts that you already grasp clearly.
The “skim” technique really helps you isolate what’s important and cut out the rest. And it’s typically intensive enough that you are able to make note of things that require further exploration in the text.
It might not be the way that you want to enjoy the latest summer blockbuster, but it’s your best friend for school textbooks or nonfiction that you plan on applying in some way.
10. Shift Gears
Sometimes you can think you’re getting tired of reading so much, but it’s actually the material you’re choosing to read. You don’t have enough variety.
Try to switch it up a bit. Go from a nonfiction interest to a favorite type of genre to a school assignment. Float around and read as much as you can before switching to the next mode.
Also, you might try to reserve some binge-watching time for binge-reading time instead. Just fix up your favorite beverage, kick back, and read till you’re at the bottom of the glass.
Learning How to Read More Will Boost Your Knowledge
If you’d still like to know how to read more, then ask around. Your instructors, fellow students, and people in online groups are all teeming with tips. Of course, applying the ones we’ve already shared will have you on the path to at least one book per week.
Set goals that make sense to you. Then, go for it! And if you have any reading tips of your own, we want to hear them. Share in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by PicPedia Creative Commons]