Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.
Reading is an amazing skill. While it might not seem like a skill, and more of a personal attribute, the ability to read and comprehend words on the page has proven to be an invaluable tool for everyone. And yet, despite all these benefits, the majority of people worldwide can’t read. While reading is taught in almost every school system throughout the world, there are numerous reasons why people still don’t know how to read. This post will go through ten of these reasons, providing solutions and ideas on how to learn how to read so that anyone can develop this critical skill. Today... I’m going to show you how to read. Here are the 10 methods that will help you read more effectively:
- Analytical Reading
- Context Reading
- Notetaking Reading
- Blocking Out Words
- Silent Reading
- Speed Reading
- Active Reading
- Slow Reading
Skimming means reading for a general idea rather than for details. When you skim, you move rapidly through a text, looking for the main ideas and skipping over examples, definitions, and long explanations. Skimming is used to gain a general understanding of a text in a short amount of time.
Skimming is good when you need to get the gist of an article quickly. It's helpful when you're looking for specific facts or information in a book such as an encyclopedia or textbook. You can also skim when you don't have much time to read an entire article or chapter, but still want to understand the whole thing.
Skimming is very useful when pre-reading before you read a text closely or do in-depth research. For example, if you are researching a topic before writing a paper, skimming can help you discover what areas of the topic have been researched and what areas still require exploration.
When you are skimming a text, you should consider the following:
- The title of the book
- The title and topic of each chapter
- The topic sentences of paragraphs
- Headings and subheadings
- Key words and phrases
- Footnotes and other reference information
- Illustrations (pictures/tables/graphs)
- Captions/labels under illustrations
Scanning is another method of reading. This is when you search for specific sections of the text, usually because you have a particular question. You may be looking for an answer to a question in an exam, or trying to find the answer to a homework problem. Scanning passages is generally easier than skimming, because you only need to find a small amount of information.
For example, if your teacher has asked you to write an essay about global warming and you want to know whether solar power can help solve the problem, you might want to scan a textbook that discusses global warming and its causes.
You should start by scanning the summary and contents pages at the beginning of the book. These will tell you which chapters are relevant and give you an idea of what they are about. Then, read the subheadings in each relevant chapter. These will help you see how the text is organised and give you a summary of what each section says. Finally, read any highlighted points such as diagrams or explanations in bold or italics.
As before, when scanning for certain words make sure that they are not just part of another word or phrase that has nothing to do with your topic (e.g., 'power' could be part of words like 'powerful', 'empowered' or 'powerless'). In this kind of skimming, you don't need to read every single word - just the key ones so that you get a general idea of what each chapter is about.
Once again, it is a good idea to make notes of anything interesting as you go along so that you can refer back to them later on when you need them.
3. Analytical Reading
Analytical reading is the third method of reading. The first step of analytical reading is to read a text and then find out what the author is trying to convey. The second step is to define the author's purpose to write that text. It is found out by answering questions like 'Why did this author write this text?' This question can be answered by searching for answers like 'to inform, to persuade, or to entertain.' Once you have found the answer, you have completed the second step. The third step is to understand the tone of the author and what point of view he/she has written from.
The fourth step is to do critical thinking about each paragraph because you need to explain why each paragraph has been added in the text.
The fifth step is to identify if there are any connections between paragraphs or if they are just random.
The sixth step is to sum up all your thoughts and ask yourself if all your ideas support your understanding of the text.
There are many reasons why you might want to use analytical reading.
- You may be in school and be required to read and analyze what you read.
- You may be trying to learn more about a topic that interests you.
- You may want to learn how to write or think like an author, so you need to see how an author uses language in the context of their writing (analyzing it).
Whatever your reasons for wanting to use analytical reading be, being able to analyze what you read will help you understand it better and help you remember it longer.
4. Context Reading
Context reading is the fourth method of reading. It is important to be able to find the main idea in a paragraph and understand how the ideas in the paragraph are connected.
The main idea of a paragraph is generally found in the first sentence. This first sentence is often referred to as a topic sentence. The other sentences in the paragraph provide details about or examples of the topic sentence. If you took away all of the details from a paragraph, you would be left with the topic sentence.
The topic sentence will have a word or phrase that refers back to something in the previous paragraph. This could be called a transition word, or simply a connecting word.
Let's look at an example:
Paragraph A: Meg's family was very close, and this made it difficult for her to go away to college.
Paragraph B: Meg was sad when she left home for college because she would miss her family so much. She had difficulty meeting people because she was shy and homesick and couldn’t concentrate on her studies because she missed her family so much.
In this example, Paragraph B begins with Meg being sad when she left home for college because she would miss her family so much. We know that this connects back to Paragraph A because the author used the transition word of "because" which indicates that Meg is trying to explain why it was hard for her to go away to school. Also, in Paragraph B, we see the words "Meg" and "she," which refer back to Paragraph A.
Note-taking is another reading method that will help you understand what you read and remember it. When you come to a paragraph that contains information that seems important, use your pencil to draw a vertical line in the margin next to the paragraph. This will remind you to take notes on the information.
To take notes, write down key words and phrases, not complete sentences. Your goal is to jot down just enough words so that when you see your notes later, you remember what the author was talking about. For example, if an author was discussing how many people are in poverty in the United States, your notes might include these words: “poor—38 million—15% of population—hardest hit—minorities and children.”
Some textbooks have note-taking columns in the margins of the pages. If yours does not have this feature, use a separate sheet of paper for taking notes. Then turn to Appendix A: “How to Read Textbooks” at the end of this book for more information on active reading and taking notes while you read.
The following are some advantages of note taking.
- Note taking helps students master the important knowledge in books quickly and effectively. Students can read and remember the essential points in books rather than just read through all the words.
- Note-taking helps students understand what they have read and also make them remember what they have learned. By taking notes while they read, they can better understand the book and better remember what they learned from it.
- Note-taking can help students read faster, improve their memory and develop their thinking ability. When students take notes while reading, they will be more concentrated on what they are doing so that it will train their concentration ability and thinking ability well at the same time.
6. Blocking Out Words
Blocking out words is one of my favourite reading methods. It’s a quick way to skim through content and get an overview without having to read everything. I’ve been doing it for years, but I didn’t know it had a name until I came across this great book “10 Days to Faster Reading” by Abby Marks-Beale.
I started blocking out words after reading some speed reading tips in her book. She suggests blocking out words with your hand or a pen while reading, so that you can focus on just one word at a time. This makes your brain recognise each word as you read it, rather than blending them into a sentence, so you have to process them more deliberately. She even recommends taking small breaks while you read so that your brain has time to process the information and make new connections.
What is blocking out words?
Blocking out words means covering up the text with something opaque (e.g. your hand or a book) and only uncovering one word at a time as you read. Because of this, you will only be able to see one word at a time, so you will have to read each word individually.
There are many benefits that come with blocking out words. As outlined above, you will have to read each word individually, so this will force you to slow down and pay attention to your reading. This is especially useful for people who tend to speed read and end up missing the meaning of a sentence. By slowing down and focusing on each word, you will gain a better understanding of the text as a whole and you won’t miss important information.
Blocking out words is also good for fluency. Often when we are learning a new language we focus entirely on comprehension. We read a sentence, understand the meaning and move on to the next one. However, if we do this, our reading skills will never improve and we will always be stuck at a basic level where we can understand the text but we can’t read it fast or smoothly. If you block out words when reading, you will develop your phonemic awareness – your understanding of how sounds in language work together – which will help you improve your fluency in the long run.
7. Silent Reading
Silent reading is another method of reading. It is widely used to improve comprehension skills because it allows readers to relax and avoid the pressure of sounding out words. In silent reading, readers concentrate on meaning, and the act of reading becomes more automatic.
As a child, you might have been taught to read by sounding out words, syllable by syllable. But in silent reading, you don't sound out each word. Instead, you use context clues to understand what you are reading. Context clues are hints that an author gives you to help you figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Context clues may be found within a sentence or paragraph or they may be found in other parts of the passage.
For example: "Liliana gulped down her ice cream cone before it melted." You don't know what the word gulped means, but by using your knowledge of other words in the sentence and looking at how it is used, you can figure out its meaning from context clues:
The word gulped is grouped with other words that describe eating quickly (down, before it melted).
Gulped is used as a verb, so it describes an action. Another way of saying this might be "she ate quickly."
Here are some advantages of silent reading:
- Silent reading is faster and more efficient than oral reading. It also allows you to read more complex material.
- Silent reading allows for deeper concentration and better comprehension, which means that you can read for longer periods of time without getting tired or bored.
- Silent reading is more enjoyable because it’s less tiring and allows us to get lost in the book we’re reading. You can also read silently in public places where it’s not appropriate to speak out loud (e.g., on a bus).
- Reading silently gives people privacy; this is especially important when they are reading something personal or emotional.
8. Speed Reading
Anytime you want to read faster, whether it be for school, work or just a novel, you can use speed reading techniques. Practicing speed reading techniques can help you read faster and more efficiently while still understanding what you’re reading. Mastering these techniques will make your life easier in the long run.
Be sure to take breaks when needed in order to ensure that your eyes are comfortable and you retain information well.
There are many ways to improve your speed reading skills with practice. The most important thing is to practice these techniques so they become second nature.
Slow down your eyes' movement by looking from left to right, instead of skipping around a page. When you’re done with a page, close your book and recall what you just read out loud as if you were explaining it to someone else.
If you're not used to using your peripheral vision, start by trying to read sentences with it. Point at the first word of a sentence with your finger and move it along as you read so that it finishes at the last word of the sentence. Practice this until you can do it quickly without having to move your finger. Try this technique on longer paragraphs once you get used to it.
Practice reading two words at once by using your peripheral vision and moving your eyes back and forth between them, rather than focusing on one word at a time.
As you move through paragraphs or pages, try to grasp the overall idea of what they are talking about before getting into details. Look for key words or phrases in each paragraph that will help you understand the context of the entire page or chapter.
9. Active Reading
Active reading is a type of reading that makes you actively engage with the text. There are plenty of different methods and they depend on what suits you best.
It's important to clarify that this technique is not about learning faster, but making your learning process more effective. In order to be able to use your knowledge later in life, you have to make it a part of you!
You need to learn how to focus on what's important and ignore what's not. The only way to do so is by actively engaging with the text and asking yourself questions about it. This way you will know how you can use the information in your own life and why it's important for you.
Here's how to read actively:
Set a goal. Before you start, take a few minutes to think about what your objective is for the reading. What do you hope to get out of it? Why are you reading this? Is there something specific you need to know or learn? Having a clear goal will help guide your reading and keep you focused.
Preview. Next, skim through the text and get a sense of its structure and organization. Look at the section headings, subheadings and summaries, if any. Do they make sense? Do they suggest anything about the content that might be of interest to you?
Read actively. As you start reading, ask yourself questions while you're reading. What's going on here? Who are these characters or people? Why did that happen? What are the implications of what I'm reading? If something is unclear, try rephrasing it in your own words.
Review. If possible, take a few minutes after finishing the article or chapter to summarize what you've read in your own words — either aloud or on paper. This is a great way to improve your memory of what you've just read.
10. Slow Reading
Slow reading is the last in the list of methods of reading. This is when you read the entire book, but pay attention to every detail. You go through the book with a fine-toothed comb and look at every little thing. It is only after you have done this that you can begin to form an understanding of the book and its themes.
Slow reading takes time and a willingness to put in the effort. If you are not willing to do that, then there is no point in starting this method.
The key to slow reading is taking your time. It can take years to complete one book using this method, so be prepared for that before you start.
When you do this method, you should be looking at the text in a different way than you did with any of the other methods. In order to understand what is happening in a book, it is important to know what is going on around it and why things are happening as they are.
If you want to know why something happened, then it helps if you know what was happening around it at the same time. For example, if there were two people arguing over something in chapter three, then maybe there was another argument over something else in chapter four.
In order to slowly read a book, try the following tips:
- Keep a bookmark in the book and mark your place.
- Don't think of reading as something you do to finish a task, but rather as a hobby you enjoy doing.
- Take your time savoring every sentence and paragraph, and look up any words you don't know so you can understand them well.
- If you get distracted by thoughts while reading, try writing down what's on your mind so it's not distracting you anymore.
- Set aside specific times each day to read, like early in the morning before work or late at night when you're winding down from the day.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq