Reading is one of the most simple, peaceful and serene pleasures of life. The best part about books is that they sometimes transcend space and time, therefore some stories will never grow old or outdated no matter what century or period you may read them in.
And i’m not just talking about the classics. Modern authors have as much to offer as some of the greats. And the coolest part? There’s definitely something for everyone out there! However, as statistics and personal experience have taught us, reading for pleasure or even for school is not everyone’s cup of tea.
For many reading can be a chore. A time consuming and exhaustive activity that they’re forced to take on for grades or as part of their curriculum. This fear and anxiety is totally understandable, especially when you look at how the coming generations prefer their kindle or epub versions and consume information based reading that is much more diluted.
Something about shorter attention spans i’m sure. However, the real issue might just be that as children we’ve never actually been taught HOW to read. The first thought in your mind might be, well, how does one learn to read? You either do or you don’t right?
Well, wrong because reading much like any other skill is one that can be learnt and can be improved on by practice. Some of you might even have been lucky enough to have a lecture or two on some of the reading tactics we are about to dig into right now. These may include the basics such as skimming, skipping and even scanning.
These are the fundamentals that are taught in most British schools and maybe you’re acquainted with them if you’ve ever given your IELTS exam. However, for all you beginners there are far easier ways to go about this pesky business.
The first step is as mentioned earlier, the first step is take in the entire books, article or essay before you. This might seem like a massive task ahead, but just relax and follow these simple instructions. Always read a synopsis or excerpt if it is available for books. For shorter articles and essays, the first and last paragraph usually contain most of the important information and should be given proper time and attention.
Once that is done, you can move onto the next part of this exercise. Now, depending on the nature of your task, this may be either the scanning technique or the skimming one. Scanning is the act of reading through the text to look for specific details and bits of information for perhaps a reading comprehension test, when you have limited time.
Skimming on the other hand is a technique which allows you to quickly go over the entire document or text while grasping the gist. Scanning usually needs more practice and technique as it consists of a greater understanding of how to know what to look for and what to skip.
All of this goes hand in hand with the art of skipping. It really is quite simple. If you are cut for time, simply skip parts of a text or book that you are already familiar with. For example, if you are reading the principles of marketing, you can easily skip over the four P’s for revision if you’ve already studied them during class.
The last but perhaps the most important step is to not take this exercise or reading in general as a boring and dull task that must be completed, but rather try to savor the words, especially if it’s a work of fiction.