You’ve incorporated the habit of reading into your life and it’s going great, the only problem is that you can’t really remember what that last book you read was about. You know that it’s a good novel but you kind of forgot why you even read it in the first place. This is ok, especially if you’ve just found a passion for reading, all you know is that the more you read the smarter you get. While this is true to some extent, your motivation to read over time can decrease. For some, books can be looked at as trophies and the goal is to fill your bookcase until there are no gaps. Let us not forget that there is critical information in these books and that we need to deeply absorb them in order to fully receive that information. Reading is simply enjoyable and we shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that, but what if I told you that it can be even more enjoyable to the point where you can tell somebody your favorite lines and lessons from the story. Have you ever been asked to recommend a book for somebody and all you can remember is the title or the author? There have been times where I’ve frozen and didn’t know how to describe the book in detail. While I’ve spent some time reading books and adapting new techniques into my reading arsenal, there are three strategies that I now use for every book that I read, which allows me to remember every chapter and every lesson in each book. These strategies will not only help you remember what you are reading but will make the experience of reading more amusing.
Ever since I’ve become older and started reading books that really interest me, I tend to underline or highlight certain lines that mean something to me. This habit can be used for all ages, no matter what your reading level is. What makes highlighting so significant is that you can underline a quote that is uniquely important to you. This line may not have the same importance to somebody else as it may have for you. Another intriguing benefit that comes with this method is there is no limit to how much you can do. It can be hard to mess up a brand-new book with different colors of ink, but the book is yours for a reason and those underlined texts will make the book special in your own way. This practice has been doing wonders for ages and continues to be one of the key techniques for all readers and authors out there. This practice has even been recommended and taught by the school system for test-takers and everyday students. “This strategy helps students reduce a long passage into a comprehensible and manageable size by marking the text using a systematic technique (fcit.usf.edu).” Even e-books have features where you can underline texts in multiple colors. While this practice takes some getting used to, it’s still important that after your reading session is over, you go back and remind yourself of what those highlighted texts mean to you and what made them stand out.
What’s ideal about this technique is that there is no proper way to do it. In school, teachers have shown me multiple ways to take notes and only a few stood out to me. In the realm of a book, you can write down notes wherever. Underlining goes nice with this technique as well, you can write down your interpretations to any highlighted text. At times you will find a sentence that you don’t understand but has some keywords that you identify to be important. This would be the perfect time to make a note to yourself to take a deeper look into the sentence and maybe even do research on it. Taking notes inside the margin of the book is a great way to capture information onto a page. It gives you the chance to make a simple sentence that isn’t too long in length but is understandable. Another method to use if you feel like you need more space and don’t want to write in your book is to use a separate notebook for your notes. In the notebook, you have a little more freedom to write down the page number when you would want to make the note along with certain phrases that stand out to you. After using both methods for an extended amount of time I found that writing inside the book helps me to remember what I was reading more fluently rather than taking time away from my reading to write about it somewhere else. The last point that I wanted to make is that taking notes allows you to have your own personal debate with the author. The author may not be there physically reading the book with you but if you find something that doesn’t make sense or is questionable, you can make a note and argue why you think your theories are valid. This also gives you the opportunity later to do your own research on the subject and find out what’s right and what’s wrong.
Writing A Summary
This last tip was bought to my attention by author Tim Ferris, who has made videos about how he absorbs books. While you’re going through pages swiftly and at a good rate, it is preferred to slow down at the end of each chapter and review what you’ve just read. Each chapter is filled with a deep explanation about certain topics and can only stay in your mind for so long. Your brain switches focus on each new chapter that you begin. You may have even heard of some readers reading a chapter a day because it allows them to start each reading session with a new topic in mind. Our attention span can be longer when reading a fictional tale where the story moves at a steady pace and is not hard to follow up on. Non-fiction readers will find this technique beneficial as it gives them a guide to where they are and where they want to be in a book. You will no longer question where you left off or how certain information is related to certain topics. Making a list for page numbers that have highlights and questions can be added to your summary as well. This will not be an inconvenience if you are truly passionate about increasing your reading knowledge and see the potential that books have, to change your life.
Learning to gather more information about the books you read is a goal that everyone should have on their list. You’ll start to understand your interest in books and how you should pick what books to read in the future. These three strategies can be useful for any reader or student, this is a practice that you will use years later when you’ve read more books than you can count off your fingers. Whether you are an experienced reader or beginner, using tips like these will boost your reading comprehension skills through the roof. I leave my readers with a quote from American Novelist George R.R. Martin that says “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”