In today’s data-driven world, being a good reader can give you an edge. Having good reading skills allows you to enjoy works of literature and understand technical content such as contracts and instructional material.
Ironically, with content coming from every direction, many people still have trouble reading. In fact, 1 in 6 adults in the United States lacks basic reading skills.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to improve the way you read. The great thing is you can make improvements without the need for formal classes.
If you’ve been wondering how to become a better reader, we’ve got nine tips to help you out.
1. Improve Your Vocabulary
How many times have you come across a word in a book and skipped over it because you didn’t know its meaning? This is a bad habit you need to break.
Expanding your vocabulary is an essential step in becoming a better reader. It will also improve your communication skills.
From now on, look up every word you don’t know the meaning of. Write these words and their definitions down and keep a running list to study.
It also helps to start using these words in your own vocabulary. This will help embed them in your mind.
2. Don’t Talk to Yourself While Reading
It’s very common for people to talk to themselves while reading. This happens in a few different ways.
One way involves actually moving your lips along with the content you’re reading. The second way is by talking to yourself inside your head.
This may seem like harmless behavior, but it’s actually slowing you down. You’re only allowing yourself to read as fast as you can speak.
Reading should only involve the eyes and brain. Instead of vocalizing the words you read, try to think of the words as ideas you’re interpreting.
3. Join a Book Club
If you’re a book lover but struggle to find time to read, try joining a book club. This is a great way to stay accountable.
Book clubs promote more attentive reading. Because you know you’ll need to discuss the book, you’re more likely to concentrate harder on it. Try to apply this behavior to everything you read.
The great thing about book clubs is you can find one for pretty much any genre. You’ll also get the opportunity to learn about new authors you’ve never read.
4. Stop When You Lose Interest
There’s a misconception that if you give up on a novel, you’re a bad reader. This simply isn’t true.
If you power through books even though you lost interest after 50 pages, you’re not doing yourself any favors. There’s a good chance the words are going in and coming out of your mind without any interpretation.
Instead, only read what you care about. This will allow you to concentrate your attention on each sentence and develop better reading skills.
If you’re having trouble finding new books that interest you, check out this website for ideas.
5. Find Your Ideal Reading Environment
If you find you’re always getting distracted while reading, it’s time to find a new setting.
Try to create a comfortable environment with ample lighting and a relaxing vibe. You’ll then start to associate this “happy place” with reading.
Make sure there’s no noise or chance of interruption. Part of becoming a better reader is strengthening your ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.
Once you’ve created the perfect reading space, you’ll probably start digesting more material.
6. Vary Your Reading Speed
Different material calls for different reading speeds. If you read everything at the same rate, you need to make some changes.
Any type of technical writing such as legal or medical information requires slower reading. There’s no point flying through material that’s hard to understand in the first place.
Lighter reading like magazines or young adult novels doesn’t require as much concentration. Use this material when trying to increase your reading speed.
Reading slowly when you need to helps you develop better analytical skills. Over time, you’ll notice you read everything more efficiently.
7. Research What You Don’t Know
Another good habit to get into is researching any references you don’t understand. After all, you can’t make complete sense of the context if you don’t have all the data.
This may seem like something you would only do in school. However, if you apply this behavior to recreational reading, you’ll find the experience more fulfilling.
Fortunately, the internet makes this very easy. Keep your phone handy for quick searches.
8. Challenge Yourself
One of the best ways to become a better reader is to challenge yourself with harder material. This forces you to slow down in order to take it all in.
It’s important not to throw yourself into the deep end too soon. Wait until you feel you’ve made strides in your reading skills before taking things up a notch.
You can also start tackling longer books. This will help hone your comprehension skills. You’ll probably find that reading shorter, easier books is more fulfilling once you’ve conquered more difficult material.
Reading is just like anything else. If you stop doing it, your skill level starts to drop. It’s crucial you practice on a regular basis.
Set aside some time to read every day. Even if you can only afford to spend 15 minutes on a book, do it.
Take a book to work and read on your lunch break. If you take a bus to school or work, that’s another perfect chance to practice.
In no time you’ll start to notice how much your reading comprehension and speed has improved. You’ll also start gaining a better appreciation for the books you read.
Start Learning How to Become a Better Reader Today
The faster you start refining your reading skills, the faster you’ll improve your vocabulary, concentration, and understanding of literature and other materials. Although we live in a digital world, these are crucial skills to have.
Use these tips on how to become a better reader and make the process fun and enlightening.
For more articles on self-improvement, check out our blog today.