Reading skills
Types of reading

There are different types of reading, as well as types of writing.
This is an important part of developing your reading skills.
Increase your efficiency by choosing a style of reading which fits your study task.
Make your reading right for the materials you have selected.
Reading materials
There are also very different types of books and reading matter.
Help yourself by learning to spot the differences.
Notice the differences between books for beginners, intermediate, and advanced.
Choose reading materials to suit your level of study.
If you are new to study, start out with short periods of reading.
Have a short break between each period of reading.
This will prevent you becoming tired, and you will remember more.
As time goes on, your ability to concentrate will increase.
Take notes
For serious study, always read with a pencil in hand.
Make notes or even a summary of what you read.
Always make a note of anything which strikes you as interesting.
Enter into a 'silent discussion' with what you are reading.
Question everything - including your own reactions.
Try to avoid 'back-skipping' whilst reading.
This is the habit of letting your eye jump back to earlier passages.
If necessary, use a pencil or ruler as a guide when you read.
Drag the guide slowly down the page, and force yourself to keep up.
Always read with a strong light shining onto the page.
If you read in a poor light, it is very easy to become drowsy.
You might also develop eyestrain and headaches.
Read in natural daylight if possible.
If not, always have a good strong lamp pointed onto your book.
In some subjects you might need to read quite long books.
For instance, literary studies includes long novels - such as Jane Eyre.
You might not have time to read such books a second or third time.
There are a number of simple techniques you can adopt:
• summarise the content of each chapter
• make a list of the principal issues or events
• write your own comments on the book
• make notes on the contents as you go along
Be selective in your use of background reading materials.
This is particularly true when researching for a project or an essay.
Go to a library and preview the books you want to use.
Skim read your selections, and only choose those which are going to be useful.
Reject any which are not directly related to the subject.
Studying one or two books thoroughly is better than looking quickly at several.
Reading carefully, you will gain a deeper understanding of the subject.
This understanding will help you develop skills of detailed comprehension.
These skills can then be applied elsewhere.
If you need to memorise information, you need to be especially careful.
Make outline notes, and draw up a list of essential topics.
These can be used to remind you during revision.
In some subjects, a 'chronicle of events' might be useful. That is, draw up a list of the events and the dates they occurred.
This will provide you with a framework and a 'visual map'.
Many people remember things better when they are written down.
Multiple readings
Some subjects require multiple readings of a book.
You might first skim-read the work to get the general idea.
This might be followed by a thorough reading in detail.
A third reading might review important or difficult parts.
One strategy for thorough reading is called.