Smart Reading is a balanced and comprehensive approach to literacy which increases thinking, sharpens the mind, and helps the learner to develop and retain complex content in the entire curriculum. It is highly motivating and easy to implement.
It has been designed to instill a passion for learning and the confidence level increases as the learner gains competence by using this system.
Reading faster and smarter
A number of people wish to read faster so as to be more efficient and bring down their backlog in reading.
Even if you read fast you will never be able to reduce the backlog.
The secret is to do smart reading, that is, varying your speed of reading
The 5-step reading system
The 5-step reading system has one overriding rule – always know why you are reading something.
Step 1: Preparing
Reading could be frustrating due to one reason – lack of concentration. It has to do equally with your thoughts and surroundings. Tension is one of the serious distractions that people face while reading. When you start reading large volumes, especially a new topic, tension might arise. The key purpose of the preparation step is to create a framework over which you can fit the things you learn when you read. Such a framework can consist of facts or questions.
Step 4: Active reading
The key purpose of this type of reading is to find out the main ideas of a text. It might be difficult due to the following reasons:
- You might know little about the textual content or its author.
- It is difficult to locate where the key idea is explained in the text.
Step 5: Selective reading
- The purpose of the first four steps is to enable you to choose what you wish to read, in an intelligent
- You can now choose the sections you really need to read, instead of worrying if you have left anything out. “Intelligently” denotes your initial purpose. Reading in an intelligent way helps you differentiate between what you need to know and wish to know, as well as what would be fun to know.
Did you know?
- If you do not know anything about a subject before you start, it is almost not possible to remember the information you read. The five steps therefore enable you to create a knowledge framework, helping you to retain and recall information easier.
Reading with a purpose
Given below are a few things to remember as you read, which will enable you to maintain as well as constantly refine the purpose of your reading:
- Ask yourself if the resource would meet your needs, and try to find out if you would get the right amount of knowledge from it. If you come to the conclusion that it is not an ideal resource, then do not waste your time reading it.
Before you begin, ask yourself why you are reading it in the first place. Is it for pleasure or for a purpose?
What do you wish to learn by reading it?
- Once the purpose is known, the resource can be examined to see if it is helpful for you.
- When you read a document or book in detail, it helps to practice “active reading” by highlighting and underlining key information, as well as making notes as you proceed. This highlights the information in your mind, and helps you to review important points later.
Learn how to study different materials
- Scanning the Table of Contents or Index and proceeding directly to interesting articles is the most effective strategy to absorb information from magazines. If you find a useful article, cut it out and file it in a folder dedicated for this purpose. This way you can build up a set of related articles useful in explaining the subject.
Skimming and scanning
The difference between skimming and scanning is that, when you scan, you search for something very particular. An example would be a telephone number or an answer to a specific question. You generally stop the process once you find it.
Skimming is useful when you seek more of a general impression on what the text is about. If you wish, you could skim a whole text. But you would not probably do the same on a telephone directory just to find the number you want.
Interest and motivation
- The more interested you are in your work, the easier it is to concentrate.
- You get motivated to achieve your goal if you are completely interested.
- When you know what you pursue (goal), and why you do it (motivation), then the desire (interest) to fulfill the task with success brings total concentration.
Do you know?
- Accessing mass information could be stressful; absorbing mass information through powerful choosing and reading strategies brings down stress. Most of the times the issue is not about the quantum we have to absorb, but the ways and means at our disposal to do it that matters.
Break the routine
Taking a break improves your concentration, memory, ability, and mood and helps you to continue your work much longer than you would without a break. A break from what you do at present will give you an opportunity to re-evaluate your work and think of new ideas as well as approaches. It will ultimately enable you to be more productive and decrease the level of stress.
Carrot or stick?
One way to induce yourself to increase your concentration is to ensure that you reward yourself well. Instead of waiting for the reward to come from elsewhere, take the responsibility of rewarding yourself. Your motivation will go up and stress will come down.
Rid yourself of the clutter
Your environment must be organized and under your control. If your desk is clear, your environment will look and feel under control. You may have a lot of work to do, but you can handle the tasks one at a time with a clear mind. If your environment is well organized, the perception that it is out of your control will decrease.
In your body, every cell and molecule changes and develops according to what you feed them. It includes the air you breathe in, liquids you drink, and more importantly the food you consume. When you need to concentrate for extended periods of time, the ideal eating pattern would be to consume the right stuff in small quantities frequently. In today’s fast food times, we often tend to consume whatever possible on the run.