Sometimes I receive requests for reading tips from college students. Here’s my reply to Skylar. We both agree that it would be good to share it with you.
I thought about your situation and asked myself what my top three tips for
you would be. What would have the most impact and be easy for you to do?
Here are the three tips:
You asked for speed reading tips and I am glad to hear that you are using a
guide. Keep using it. I use a pencil myself. I hold it as if I were
underlining what I am reading. The pencil is just a little bit away from the
page. This means I get a good view of the lines below the one where the
guide is, which is useful when you are reading areas of text (this is
advanced speed reading). If you are left-handed, you could hold the guide
above the line you are reading. Guiding helps your eyes to track along the
line and to work as a team.
You are a college student and you have a lot of reading to do. Here is a tip
that does not involve speed reading. You can save a HUGE 24% (or more) of
overall reading time by doing a survey of your reading material before you
read it. Glance briefly at each page of your study textbook, placing
bookmarks wherever you find something of interest (I use sticky notes). You
can look through a 300 page book in 10-15 minutes.
This gives you an overview, which has lots of benefits. Surveying reduces
stress as you know what’s there and feel more in control, When you actually
read your study book, you will find you have better understanding. You are
more likely to get round to reading your textbook, as you have made a small
start on the reading task. Finally, surveying helps with planning. You may
find you do not need to read all of the book, possibly just some chapters,
You may decide you need a book with a clearer explanation and you don’t want
to read the one by this author. You may even discover that you now have all
the information you need and you don’t need to read the book at all. You may
find yourself very motivated to read the book. All good outcomes, in
The next tip is about maintaining concentration. Take breaks. Authors
organise books into chapters for a reason. The ends of chapters are useful
places to pause. You could stand up, do some stretches and then test your
recall of what you just read. What were the main points in the last chapter?
How were these ideas supported? If you can’t remember, look back to check.
Don’t worry if you have to look up a lot of things. The great thing is that
in future you are now much more likely to remember them.
Taking breaks makes a big difference. You will avoid that situation where
you realise you haven’t taken in anything from the last few pages you read.
By breaking up your reading time, you will be reading and studying more
All the best for the future, Skylar! Enjoy your studies!