Hello, everyone. Today, we will be talking about how to improve your reading skills such as speed, comprehension, and retention. For the purpose of this video, you can find some timestamps in a down bar below to jump right into the topic you want to know more of. This video was brought to you by Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community for creators with thousands of classes on planning, productivity, learning, and so on. Premium Membership gives you unlimited access so you can keep learning, find inspiration and take on new projects whenever you want.
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For many university courses, reading skills play a major role in your grades and overall academic performance. There’s always so much you can read in a couple of hours, so knowing how to manage the amount of pages your teacher assigned you can translate into better preparation for class and also for future exams. Before we develop on the subject of reading in itself, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, reading speed.
The bad news is that there’s no magic trick to improve reading speed. You’ll read faster as you read more. Actually, reading speed is a very dubious expression. It doesn’t rely on how fast your brain can process one word after another, but how your brain can read more than one word at a time. The average readers’ eyes focus on one word at a time. A speed reader is able to look at a sentence and read it at a glance, instead of having to look at every single word to understand their meaning, These readers can recognize four or five words at the glance instead of a single one. This is mostly developed through practice, and years, and years of reading. A good way to understand your reading speed capabilities is pointing at one written sentence right in the middle: Can you just read the word you’ve pointed to or can your eyes glance at the words next to that word? Some people practice their reading speed by trying to skip words and see if their eyes and brain adjusts to that differentiated length.
Either way, you shouldn’t worry about the speed, but the quality of your reading First of all, just set your reading goals. Not all readings in front of you will be of use for the class or course you’re taking. Have in mind the syllabus your professor provides you, or any other information regarding the topics that will be approached in class.
In many cases, your teacher can hand out a 40 page article when they just want you to focus on only a couple of paragraphs. Knowing what kind of information you should be looking for in the document in advance can save you hours when reading for assignments. So, if you really don’t know what to look for, just ask your professor. Another thing that will help you understand better what you’re going to read is looking at the structure of the document. Any headers, sub headers, titles and bold and italic words should indicate the theme topic and main points of your texts. Knowing the key points that the author will approach before you start reading from the top will help you build focus and get engrossed in the text instead of passively searching for the author’s purpose.
First scan your text. Then, skim it. They are two totally separate concepts which are both from the mental to improve your knowledge on the text. Scanning is what you do for example, when you are scrolling through your contact list to find a specific name. You know what it should be finding so your brain focuses on a couple of words and ignores all the other information until you find it. That is why searching your reading goals is so important if you don’t know what you should be finding. You’ll be unable to scan your documents and scanning enables you to find key points and basic information like the objectives sought by the texts, the conclusion and main key arguments. Just highlight them or circle them if you need, then go back to the beginning of your text What if just done means that in a couple of minutes you can instantly put aside any paragraph and subheading that won’t be relevant to your studying? You will be able to ignore these paragraphs in the next reading steps because they are not relevant to your readings and will just waste your time.
Usually these paragraphs contain background information, or are simply filler paragraphs that the author wrote to achieve a certain number of words. Skimming is your next step and that consists on fast non detailed reading. If you are in a rush, skimming will be everything you need to do to get your assignment done on time and still grab a few major concepts. But it definitely won’t be enough to grasp the arguments in all their meaning Scheming what you understand the overall structure of the texts and where you should dedicate more time to do detailed reading. If you don’t do it for skimming you’ll start reading your text from the beginning and will have the same focus throughout different pages and the problem is there’s a great chance you’ll be more focused on the beginning of the text, where they usually have the most non important introductions and explanations.
And you will lose focus on the main segments of the documents where the information you need is probably written. After setting your goals scanning and skimming, you now can go back take a look at the text and ask yourself: what should I be learning here? Unless you are studying a very fact-based course like history, your assignments will most probably be not only informative, but have some meaning that you should grasp and comprehend. Take a look of what you’ve just came through and find the main complicated areas that truly hold the material should be learning. After you identify these, that’s where your detailed reading should take place.
Detailed reading is what enables you to retain information and use it later. It’s not a process of memorizing, but instead working on what you’ve read and make it usable. The till reading means focusing on one word or sentence at a time. It means understanding the structure of a paragraph and the exact message it is trying to portray. It’s not knowing it by heart, but instead, knowing how to explain what you’ve read if someone asks you to.
I’ve talked before about the passive and active ways you can use for studying and detailed reading definitely brings out the active method. There are dozens of different ways you can use for active reading from highlighting to creating flashcards on the subject to make a compilation of important key words. The way you choose to do your active reading is totally up to you. But make sure to thoroughly work on information. My advice is to write on the margins can vary your opinion on the subject through very short summaries Do you agree with the author’s point of view on the subjects? Do you think he could have had approached the topic in a different way? When you turned someone else’s text into your own you are learning what you’re reading instead of just reading it.
As soon as you draft your personal viewpoints on the matter you’re adding something to it. And that’s how the learning process works. Also, don’t be a slave to summarizing just for the sake of summarizing. There are numerous ways on how to take notes from a textbook. or an article, but it does not define your comprehension on text. A well done reading can do more for you than the previous most organized sets of notes and summaries. Only take notes on a text if the document is completely unorganized, if the vocabulary and structure are complex enough, that they need rephrasing for a quick study session, or if the text is so long that having to refer back to it when revising is a chore on its own. If you have to take notes however be aware of the tone in your phrasing if you find yourself rewriting entire phrases you are doing it wrong and shouldn’t be taking notes at all. Instead, if you must write them change the words convey your opinions work on the text as if it was your own. Writing down these notes can definitely help retention for a short span of time, but believe me that in a few weeks, you will look at your notes as if they were alien to you, and you’ve just lost a couple of hours writing them down.
So try to value your time as much as you can before jumping into unnecessary work. So this is all for today’s video if you want more college tips and techniques don’t forget to subscribe and I’ll see you next week Bye!.