Ten Ways to Read for Personal Growth – An Independent Consultant’s View

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If you are like most people, you have to read a tremendous amount of material, at home, at the office, or at school just to keep from getting buried in paper. Considering all the reading materials you get just in the course of a day, if you read all this information word for word, you’ll wind up spending all your time reading and not have time for anything else. These Ten Ways to Read for Personal Growth will help you to experience reading, not as a chore to be put off as long as you can, but as an enjoyable and satisfying skill.

1. Take at least one minute to review the material before reading it. First, skim to get a feel of what the piece contains, then the introductory material, section and chapter titles, index, and any other signposts. Next, treat the body of the text as a series of paragraphs, each paragraph being a self-contained unit with his own message to convey.

2. Read by paragraph. As soon as you have grasped the message, move immediately onto the next paragraph and repeat the process.

3. Become an active, rather than a passive reader. Instead of reading individual words, actively search out the important, descriptive, and meaningful ideas. Don’t get bogged down in details. Move rapidly over the material.

4. Develop the knack of concatenation (linking two things together). Stop reading one word at a time and develop the habit of joining several words and repeating them as one unit. Learn to read by thought units rather than by individual words. You should take in between four and six words in a single glance.

5. Don’t linger or reread words, phrases, or sentences. As difficult as it may be to break this non-productive habit, doing so will pay tremendous dividends. One way you can do this is to place a small slip of paper over the lines you have just read.

6. If your time permits, read at least one hour every day. Break it up into 15 minute segments, if necessary, and both select your reading materials carefully and read at optimum speed. Get rid of distractions and concentrate on what you are reading.

7. Eliminate poor physical habits such as sounding out the words in silent reading.

8. Watch for the signpost in reading. Signposts are words or phrases which tell you in a split second whether there’s going to be an abrupt change in the author’s trend of thought or whether, on the contrary, the writer is really going to add more details to what is already been said. Some of the common turn about signals are: but, despite, on the contrary, however, nonetheless, yet, and rather. When you see these words you know instantaneously that the author is about to introduce a thought that is in opposition to the one he has just stated.

9. While you shouldn’t sacrifice comprehension for speed, make a conscious effort to increase your reading speed. Still, make sure you understand what you are reading.

10.Reinforce what you read. At the earliest opportunity, think back on what you learned in your last reading session. Review the important points and any related information relayed by the author. To make it easy, here are five questions you can ask yourself about what you read, What was the piece about? What important information was presented? What, if any, opinions did the writer present? What is your opinion of the piece? Name one element of the piece that makes it stand apart. This procedure helps to firmly implant the information in your memory.