Basic Reading Techniques

I’m currently reading my fourth novel for week four. A lot of people recently interacted with me over my reading challenge. A few of them were avid readers. During the interaction, I came across a few questions I really wanted to write about.

-How do I manage to finish the book in the given time limit?
 -How do I not get distracted while reading?
 -Was reading taken up as a hobby since childhood?
 -How do I manage to choose a new genre?

There are a few techniques I follow when it comes to reading. And, I decided to list easy tricks below.This might just help you if you’re a beginner or you’re trying to reconnect yourself with reading.

1. Daily use of Dictionary.

My mother always asked me to keep a pocket dictionary in my school bag. I failed to understand the use of it initially. But one day, I heard our teacher instructing us to carry one every time we had an English class. We were taught to read 6 words a day starting from letter ‘A’. We were also asked to learn words and make sentences for homework. She made us underline the new words while studying a new chapter or a story. This exercise was specifically practiced to improve our vocabulary.

In today’s digital world, the essence of paper books is fading. Every child knows how to operate an iPad, tablet or a mobile phone better than a parent. The phone addiction has become a nuisance for parents. Take it positively! We always learn from the younger generation. Download and turn on the notifications. The habit of checking your phone over a toothbrush every morning is extremely common. notifies you with a new word and its meaning with a detailed example. Make a child gadget-friendly without any guilt. This app is available for every OS. I always have a dictionary by my side while reading.

2. Genre Selection.

Well first, inculcating reading as a habit from childhood does make a lot of difference. People who read right from the start will never miss out on any reading material. But then, there’s also another squad. I was introduced to this habit at the age of 17. YES! I wasn’t a reader! This answers one of my questions. But, I was always fond of stories.

Stories, essay writing & grammar of any language used to interest me a lot. I fell in love with English classes and chose literature over everything for my college degree. I only used to refer college notes for exams and assignments. Later, I was introduced to the book world through a friend.Lectures started even making more sense and analysis for assignments got more interesting. The more you read, the better it is!

I started with Romance, then Crime & Mystery then Thriller and ended up with Classics. It always has to be from the basics.Choosing a light genre is an easy start with novels.

3. Reading Limit.

Just like other beginners, I’ve faced similar issues with reading. Dozed off because the book is boring, left it incomplete because the language is too difficult, not read books for days, etc. and then there’s also been another psychotic side where I have had sleepless nights because the mystery is in your head, got really upset because the character died, judged people over the book characters, etc. A book can do a lot to you. And, since I’m experienced way too much, here’s something that could save you from the madness.

Take the total no. of pages of the book and set a limit of days. For a beginner, I would suggest 3 weeks. So, for eg.

400 Pages / 30 Days which comes to 13.33. So read 13 Pages or 14 Pages for a day.

I discovered this trick during college when we used to have a lot of reading for every literature assignment with a deadline. Also saves you from the madness that takes place due to over-reading and sleepless nights. This keeps me sane and also helps me with my reading speed. This answers another question listed above.

4. Index Finger, Pencil & Bookmarks.

Psychology says, using an index finger while reading helps you with concentration. The nerve of it is connected to your brain.If not that, then a pencil helps you with it. Try with any of these to avoid distraction. I use a pencil to underline new words, dialogues, quotes and to avoid double reading the same line. It avoids distraction.

If nothing works, you always have a bookmark. Quirky bookmarks attract me to read more.

5. Shuffling Genres.

I enjoy the act of shuffling genres. The diversified reading world is covered at different levels. I went off track with reading for at least ten months before this challenge. It makes it difficult to come back to reading deep stories. So, I choose to pick up something light and then graduate with something deep.

I would pick a romance for the start or a murder mystery and advance my reading with classics. In between; I’ll add psychology or a political drama. Then, again shuffle and move to a thriller and jump to philosophy.

Every genre gives you a hangover. To balance that, I choose shuffling so that nothing leads me to quit reading.

6. Rate & Review.

Not everybody in the reading world is good at reviewing. But, there’s always a thing with sharing opinions. You don’t have to be a blogger for that or an extraordinary writer to share your views. A simple ‘very good’ would suffice it all. Reviewing a book with details helps you with analyzing. There’s always a first time and there’s nothing to worry when it comes to judgments.

Six basic tricks have helped me as a beginner and to get back to my reading. I always welcome new ideas. Ideas with reading. Feel free to add more. Keep reading, keep smiling!

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Originally published at on March 24, 2016.