Do you wish you were a better reader? Does the idea of reading frustrate you? Do you forget most of what you have read, so you wonder what is even the point? I’ve been there.

Several years ago, I was frustrated with my reading ability but, eventually, I got better. As I mentioned in the first post, practice brings progress. Like any other skill, the more you read, the better you become at it.

Here is my second suggestion to improve your reading: Change how you read.

The times in which we live have made some to believe that our society has forgotten how to read. People are not necessarily reading less; however, people are reading differently.

We are used to scrolling through an infinite amount of news stories, sports articles, and status updates. Given our limited time (and shortened attention span), we have adapted to merely looking for headlines and bullet points. Reading long paragraphs is very difficult for today’s reader.

While that difficulty is unfortunate, we can use the new means of reading to lead us back to better, more intentional reading. Here are two suggestions to help you change how you read:

  • Date the book before marrying it. Scan the book before committing to reading every word. Look at the Table of Contents to see the overall structure of the book. Flip through the book and read headings. Read the first sentence of every paragraph, then go to reading the chapter. 

    It may sound like that following my advice would be longer for you to get through the book, but it actually helps set a better pace to digest the content. Doing so will help you know where the author is going in his arguments, and it will help you in your conversation with him / her.

  • That leads to the second suggestion: don’t read the book simply to gain knowledge or facts as if you will be tested on the material later. Read the book to have a conversation with the author(s). Write in your book, highlight sentences, write question marks next to unclear statements, or ones you disagree with. In other words, interact with the book, and you find the experience much more meaningful.

guy-2557251_1280So, consider changing how you read. First, scan it like you would other reading material, then have a conversation about the content with the author. It will make your reading experience much better.

4 thoughts on “Leaders are Readers – pt. 2

    1. Mark, thanks for the reply. That may have been the most helpful change I made in my reading style. I used to open a book expecting data to be poured into my head but it doesn’t really work that way! It really is more like a conversation.

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  1. For me, reading has always been a slow labor intensive process as I am not of this “tech” age scrolling thru lots of info. I read everything as if it were a textbook that I need to get all the info and find myself going back over things that I didn’t get or quite understand. Because of how time consuming reading is I find myself only accepting texts that are really engaging or beneficial and for me reading always needs to have a purpose.

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    1. Thanks, JP. Being selective of what you read is very important. You are saying, “No” to countless books you could read for every one you do choose to read. Another help for digesting books / content is to discuss it with others – something I know you do.

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