7 Tips to Improve Your Reading

Reading is the best way to absorb knowledge, but it is an active skill that can be improved by practice. In this text, I will share some tips for reading with more quality.

Nicolas Rufino dos Santos
Thoughts And Ideas
5 min readApr 22, 2022


Book (Source: Pixabay.com)

Reading is the best way to absorb knowledge. Even if you watch a documentary about Global Warming, for example, reading a book about it will give you much more knowledge. The book is the mean that can bring together as much information as possible. Many movies and documentaries are based on books.

Even if you attend a class, keep in mind that it is only an introduction to the real study, being an individual and reading-based activity.

I’m a reader under development. I don’t read as many books as I want, but I always try to improve in quantity and quality. Here are some tips to improve the quality of your reading.

1. Reading is an active activity, not a passive one.

Something I hear from people is, “Are you bored? Then go read a book!”. Well, if you read a book because you are bored, then you won’t get to read a book.

Mortimer J. Adler wrote that all reading is active. And that reading can be better or worse if it is more or less active.

Reading requires concentration, focus, energy, effort and silence. Unfortunately, many people treat reading as a passive activity, as something you do when there is nothing to do. Reading should not serve to fill boredom. Treating the activity of reading to fill boredom is to reduce the importance and complexity of reading.

2. Reading is a practice to be perfected.

Reading is a practice that requires effort, patience, and constancy. At first, while reading, you may think, “Why am I doing this?” But the insistence will be worth it, because after a while you will not be able to live without this habit.

Don’t be surprised if you feel uncomfortable when you start reading. This happens at the beginning of every habit.

3. Make an effort to read difficult texts.

Reading difficult texts expands your vocabulary, deepens your thinking capacity, develops your culture by getting in touch with different authors, including those who think differently from you.

Of course, you can start with books that are easy to read, because you will be getting used to the habit of reading. But it is not good to stick to the same types of texts over and over again. It is good to vary the genres and authors, and to take risks with difficult texts and books. Even if you don’t understand everything, believe me, your intellect will be developing, and for writers, your texts will increase in quality as well.

4. Have a suitable environment and time for reading.

Just like exercising requires a suitable place, reading also requires a suitable place, but with different characteristics. In the age of devices that constantly distract us, such as television, cellphones, and video games, it is agreed that this context makes the habit of reading more difficult.

Therefore, I recommend a suitable place for you to read. Set aside a quiet environment specifically for this purpose. I like to read two hours before bedtime, with the bedroom light off and the bedside lamp on. I turn off my cell phone, computer, and any devices that can distract me. Warm light lamps are preferred, as they make reading more comfortable.

Multitasking is an illusion, as Byung-Chul Han wrote in The Burnout Society. Forget multitasking. When you do several things at the same time, you end up doing both in a mediocre way. Focus on one activity, and give yourself 100% to it

5. Don’t compare yourself with other readers.

At the end of the year, it is very common for readers to display the list of books they have read. “I read 50 books this year!”. Assuming this is true, you don’t know if he absorbed the knowledge from what he read, if he enjoyed the reading, or if the books had an impact on his life. You cannot quantify the impact of reading on someone’s life based on the number of books.

I prefer to read one or two books a year, but absorb it completely. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t try to read more. Of course, it does.

Do things at your pace, and trust in the long run. And quantity is not quality.

6. Take the risk of reading different authors.

When I read the Tao Te Ching for the first time, I ended up re-reading it several times, because a single reading was not enough to absorb all the knowledge. In fact, I still don’t feel that I have learned everything that this book teaches.

I liked the Tao Te Ching so much that I started studying Chinese Philosophy, which led me to create this Blog to publish my texts on this subject.

You never know where reading can take you.

7. Start reading about subjects that you already know about or are curious about.

When reading a novel, it is important to start with small books, because it is likely that you won’t be able to finish a big book on the first try, and you will get frustrated and stop reading.

* To writers: reading is like listening. Writing is like talking. If it is advisable to listen more than talk, it is necessary to read more than write.

You can write your opinions as much as you want, but if you want them to be respected and referenced by other people, this will depend on how much reading and knowledge you absorb.

It is necessary to read more to raise your quality of writing. Reading will give you mastery and content for your texts.

Just as it is important to listen more and talk less, it is essential to read more in order to write less, but with more quality. The Internet is full of opinions based on “I think”, and this is a big problem.



Nicolas Rufino dos Santos
Thoughts And Ideas

PhD student in Administration - Ethics, Virtues and Moral Dilemmas in Administration. Florianópolis, SC, Brasil. Contact: nicolasrufino4@gmail.com