To read effectively is essential to effective learning. With so much information and so many trade journals, it is easier not to open them up at all. How can you benefit from numerous articles with out giving up mass quantities of time?
Taking in knowledge is an important aspect of being an expert on a subject. It is especially true if you’re going to get in front of an audience and speak. You need to be on top of your game, your industry and your topic.
It is really not so hard if you follow some simple principles. It will take a little practice and discipline at first. There will be numerous benefits if you learn these simple rules.
With practice, you will...
Learn How To Read
A Quote to Contemplate
"Write to be understood,
speak to be heard,
read to grow..."
Lawrence Clark Powell
(September 3, 1906–March 14, 2001) librarian, literary critic, bibliographer and author of over 100 books.
A Simple Solution
I grew up loving to look at the pictures but not taking in the words. I used to say....I hate to read.. Actually, I loved taking in knowledge. It was applying my brain to anything outside Popular Science or the Encyclopedia that I hated. Even worse, I got little out of the printed word.
Just a note here on the power of learning this skill even at a young age. I was taught to read around age 3 and prior to going to school. In my journeys through encyclopedias I learned about skeletal deformities and things like pigeon toed walking.
At age 4 noticed that my walking was not what the book said it should be. So making a mental note of how I walked, it soon improved. It was not until my 30's that my mother told me that my step was so bad, the doctors were thinking of putting me in a brace.
As a nurse I also know why. I indeed have a deformity. Nobody would notice it. It is evident when I go to cross my legs. One can go near horizontal and the other will not.
Never underestimate the power of the mind. Especially never underestimate it at a young age. My treatment and cure came from the words on a printed page of an encyclopedia.
The Remembering Part
Have you ever finished an article and found you couldn’t remember what it said. That was me.
Then one day, I read something in a newspaper article by a man who was at the time, one of the top paid public speakers in the world. It was on the subject of how to read.
He said to be able to keep up with all the journals available in your profession requires following some simple rules. This is pre-web, pre-information age. What he had to say along with some other research I did at the time helped reform me. The simple principle I learned changed the way I thought and read.
You see, I used to be the equivalent of a 97 pound weakling when it came to reading. At the beach on the weekends, bullies would come up and kick copies of Byron and Whitman in my face. (borrowed form Robin Williams / Dead Poets Society). Then I set out to learn how to apply myself to this ability I became a literary Robin Hood, stealing from the witty, giving to the illiterate. (Line taken from a Carol Burnett movie) You can do the same.
I digress. Here is a sampling of the lessons I learned. It especially applies trade journals and to technical papers. It will improve your reading in several ways making you more effective.
To be effective involves use of time (or else you won't take the time), taking in the information, and remembering. You can be effective if you follow this simple strategy.
The Simplicity of Reading Journals
First read the title.
Very quickly ask what you know, what you need to know about the subject. Depending on the level of need to know will determine how much time you spend.
Read the subject line of the first paragraph.
It will be in the first or second sentence. If it is important, continue on, taking in each and every word. If not, go on to the next paragraph.
Is it Subjective or Objective?
Objective is what you can touch, feel, see, hear, and so on.
Subjective is what you think or feel emotionally.
If you see a person laying quietly with their eyes closed, you may subjectively assume they are sleeping, but all you know objectively is they are resting with their eyes closed.
Weigh the statements according to their potential. Even the printed page makes errors.
Read each successive paragraph the same way. This way you do not spend time reading information you don’t need to know. You cut your reading time drastically while still increasing your knowledge base.
On completion, summarize.
Summarize the article in just a few sentences if it has any bearing on what you need to know. If it is only interesting but of no benefit in the future, then only summarize it in only one sentence.
On completion of the entire journal, summarize the contents of the journal focusing only on the articles that are of benefit to your knowledge base. It is best if you have one or two other people you can share the information that you covered. This further implants it into your brain.
Your short and mid term memory are best accessed when the information is first put in. The more you access the information, the easier it becomes to retrieve. The review allows you to reinforce the information. Also if you realize you missed something that you need to know, you can go back, scan and review.
By following this simple process you will be able to decrease the time you spend and increase the number of journal articles you follow.
You will also increase your comprehension as you exercise your brain and add more information to your knowledge base.
And like Robin Hood, you too can steal from the rich and share with those who are poor readers.
How can you improve your reading comprehension?