Very many of us struggle to find the time to read more. We live hectic lives and very little time is left for doing the things we love. While some try to read more, there’s a select group of readers who are focused on something different: reading better.
Learning how to read better can mean different things for different people, but the one thing all of them have in common is a desire to make reading a more efficient, more pleasurable, and more entertaining experience.
If you found yourself wondering how to read books effectively, you are one of us. Here at Basmo, we are dedicated to making reading the best possible experience it can be. That is why we took a close look at what actually means to read more effectively to maximize the little time we have to spare and found a couple of very interesting solutions.
What does it mean to read effectively and efficiently?
Reading effectively is a very complex concept. It can mean a whole lot of different things, depending on who you ask and what the ultimate goal of the reading session is. Being effective when reading fiction means a completely different thing than being efficient in reading a textbook. There are many factors that can contribute to having an effective reading session. Here are some of the most important ones.
To read at a good speed
Our reading speed is an important element of an efficient reading session. Reading too slow means that we are not going through as much reading material as we would like to in a single session. Reading too quickly can compromise our information retention rate or our comprehension. Finding the optimal reading speed is extremely important if you want to be an effective reader.
As a rule of thumb, the optimal reading speed is the quickest you are able to read without compromising comprehension or retention. It will take some time until you find the “sweet spot” and you should know it is a trial-and-error process, but one that you will benefit greatly from once you get it sorted.
To comprehend what we are reading
Another important part of learning how to read efficiently is being mindful of the amount of information you actually comprehend while reading. Yes, reading a lot is a valid goal to have as a reader, but it won’t be worth too much for you unless you also understand everything you read. Sometimes it pays off to take a break from the book you are reading to go deeper into understanding a particular concept or learning more about a historical event that plays an integral role in the book.
Comprehension in reading is of utmost importance. Reading without comprehension defeats the purpose, so paying attention to how well you are able to process the information you are going through is essential.
To retain as much information as possible
Another pillar of the efficient reading concept is retention. If we read and are unable to remember anything from the text we went through, we are missing out on one of the most important benefits of reading: acquiring knowledge. Improving reading retention is a great way to enhance the efficiency of our reading sessions.
Whether we are studying for an exam or simply reading a fiction book, the information we are going through is worth a lot. Of course, passing an exam is more important than remembering the character names in the last fiction book you’ve read, but there are also many lessons to be learned from fiction books even if we don’t remember every little detail.
To maintain a constant length of our reading sessions
Last but not least, being efficient in reading also means being consistent. We need to be aware of our reading speed, our comprehension levels, and our ability to retain information. That way, we can self-evaluate, become able to estimate how much value we can extract from an hour of reading, and we better understand what we can achieve through our reading. Being aware of our current reading level is important for being able to improve.
On top of this, being constant also means having certain reading habits. This translates into a structured habit, which strongly enhances our efficiency.
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Why is it important to read effectively?
Learning how to read effectively is a goal most readers should try to achieve. There is a lot for us to gain if we start taking reading to a new level. Our performance as readers can change throughout the years depending on a series of factors but the good news is that there are ways to improve it regardless of our age. But, before we dive into the strategies we can apply to improve our reading efficiency, let’s have a look at why reading effectively is actually important.
To enjoy the full benefits of reading
As we know, reading has many benefits. Reading should be a big part of our lives and we should always choose it as a pass-time activity. But to ensure that we actually enjoy all the benefits reading has to offer, we should always make sure that we read with decent efficiency.
For example, reading is known as a very effective stress-relief tool. But if we do not pay attention to what we are reading and we let our minds drift off, we might as well do nothing at all to relieve our stress. Unless we focus on what we are reading and we put the effort into comprehending and retaining the information we go through, we won’t actually be able to disconnect from the real life that is stressing us out.
Another thing reading is amazingly effective in helping us achieve is maintaining a healthy and agile brain. But again, if we look at reading as a training session for our brain, its effects are not going to be great unless we learn to do it efficiently. Reading efficiently is the fitness equivalent of working out and maintaining your heart rate up. Just like you won’t see too many results after a long workout with very low intensity, reading without efficiency is not going to be of too much help to your brain health.
Reading fiction is known to improve our levels of empathy. That is mainly because reading fiction forces us to put ourselves in the shoes of the characters we read about. It makes us wonder what we would do in the situations that are presented in the story, and this mental exercise improves our ability to see the world through the eyes of others. We gain a better understanding of what the world is all about and we become easier-going people. And again, in order to enjoy this benefit, we are required to do our reading efficiently. We need to use our imagination, put ourselves mentally in certain situations, and we always need to make sure that we understand the message the author is trying to express.
To become better and quicker learners
Ultimately, reading is a learning tool. There is no denying that even in this day and age when the school system is quite different from what it was a couple of decades ago, most of the learning we do is through reading. Reading and writing are the most important building blocks in our education and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
That being said, being an efficient reader is equivalent from many points of view to being an efficient learner. The faster we read, the quicker we learn, as long as we don’t compromise comprehension in favor of speed. The more effective our reading sessions are, the more we will be able to actually remember from what we read. Having the ability to learn quickly and to absorb new information effectively can be of great help long after we’ve finished school. Learning new concepts, new skills, and being able to comfortably use the information later is extremely important throughout our entire lives.
How to read books effectively?
Now that you have a good understanding of the importance of being able to read effectively, it’s time to check out a couple of extremely relevant tips and tricks our team at Basmo was able to find.
Using a reading tracking app is the ultimate way for your reading efficiency to receive a considerable boost. There are many aspects of your reading Basmo can improve. Here are the most relevant ones:
Basmo keeps track of all the reading you do and of your performance
Basmo is an app that not only helps you monitor the amount of reading you do and remember the books you’ve read, but it also tracks your actual reading performance.
Each reading session you go through with Basmo is timed. The number of pages you read is monitored. Your reading speed is analyzed. Every aspect of your reading is then transformed in performance reports you can look at and use in order to improve.
Basmo pushes you further
Our app encourages you to set goals and push your reading limits. Not only can you choose a daily goal for the number of minutes you spend reading every day, but you can also choose a bigger picture goal for the number of books you go through in a year.
The app also tracks your progress toward meeting your goals and helps you visualize how close you are to them.
Basmo structures your reading habits
Becoming a better reader starts with having healthy reading habits. That involves having diligently created and updated reading lists, reading every day, having a predetermined reading session length, and a reading schedule.
Basmo can help you create and update your reading lists easily.
Creating a schedule for your reading has never been easier: the app allows you to select the days of the week when you want to read, different times of day for each session, and even reminds you of upcoming reading sessions.
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Use information retention strategies
If you’re looking to improve the way you retain information while reading, thus improving your efficiency, you should know that there are a lot of strategies you can use. On top of having healthy reading habits and paying attention to what we are reading, mnemonic strategies can have a huge impact on how much we remember while reading. Here are the most popular ones:
Take reading seriously
Efficiency in reading can only be achieved through a correct mindset and a good approach. If you want to truly become an efficient reader, you are going to need to create the right conditions for your reading sessions. Choose a quiet place to read in, make sure you disconnect from any possible distractions, and really pay attention to the reading you are doing.
Be mindful, do some close reading, take notes, and try to become one with the book in your hands.
How to read textbooks effectively?
Reading a textbook and studying its contents requires a somewhat different approach than reading for pleasure. It requires a bit more attention, your reading speed is going to be significantly lower, and you are going to constantly stop in order to be able to gain a deeper understanding of different concepts.
Basmo can be of great help to those who are trying to read textbooks more efficiently. Our app allows you to take notes while reading, which is of great importance in the process of retaining information. The notes can be easily formatted however you see fit, so you can keep them neat, tidy and well-organized.
Annotating books is also quite a big part of the learning process. Underlining, highlighting, or simply adding notes on the bottom of pages generally ruins our textbooks. With Basmo, you can easily scan the pages of your textbooks and make notes digitally through the app.
Additionally, Basmo gives you the opportunity to keep a reading journal, which can be a great way for you to track your progress toward meeting your learning goals.
The importance of our efficiency when reading is obvious. Achieving a level of efficiency that is satisfying for most of us will require some effort, but thanks to Basmo and the tips and tricks presented above, things are going to be a lot easier for you.
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Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time.
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