Did you know that there is a difference between reading for understanding and just reading for the sake of getting information? When you are reading for understanding, you are trying to make sense of what the author is saying and putting it into your own words. This means that you will have to read the book more than once and take notes as you go along.
On the other hand, when you are reading for information, you are looking for specific facts or details that you can use. This is like giving preference to a Holes book summary on StoryboardThat to get the most important information and save time. This type of reading is usually done for school or work and doesn’t require as much comprehension.
Here are some tips on how to read a book for understanding:
- Read more than once. The first time you read a book, you should just get a general understanding of what it’s about. The second time, you can start taking notes and highlighting important parts.
- Pay attention to the author’s style of writing. This will give you clues as to what they are trying to say.
- Try to put the book into your own words. This will help you better understand it.
- Take breaks while you’re reading. This will help you process the information better.
- Discuss the book with someone else. This will help you solidify your understanding and remember what you’ve read.
Following these tips will help you get more out of your reading and improve your understanding. However, keep in mind that not every book is meant to be understood. Sometimes, we just read for information or entertainment. And that’s okay! Just find what works for you and enjoy the process.
The Four Levels of Reading
According to Mortimer Adler’s book on reading, there are four levels of reading:
In order to enhance our reading abilities, it is necessary that we first grasp the distinction between various reading levels.
1. Elementary Reading
This is the most basic level of reading, and it is what we do when we skim a text for general understanding. We are not looking for specific information at this stage, but rather getting a general idea of what the text is about. This is the level of reading that most people stay at.
2. Inspectional Reading
At this level, we start to look for specific information in the text. We may be looking for a particular fact or detail or trying to get a better understanding of the author’s argument. This type of reading requires that we slow down and pay attention to what we are reading.
3. Analytical Reading
This is the highest level of reading, and it is where we critically engage with the text. We are looking at the author’s argument from multiple perspectives and trying to understand all the different layers of meaning. This type of reading is demanding and requires a lot of focus.
4. Syntopical Reading
This is the level of reading that Adler considered being the most difficult. It is where we read multiple texts on the same subject and compare and contrast their arguments. This type of reading requires that we have a deep understanding of the subject matter and be able to see the different sides of an issue.
Improve Your Reading Skills
If you want to improve your reading skills, it is important to start at the elementary level and work your way up. Skimming a text for general understanding is a good place to start. Once you have a grasp of the main ideas, you can start to look for specific information. As you become more comfortable with the material, you can start to critically engage with it.
And finally, when you feel confident in your understanding, you can start to compare and contrast different arguments. By working through these levels of reading, you will gradually improve your skills and become a more proficient reader.
Let’s be honest, this sounds like a lot of effort. The better you become at reading, the more time and practice it will take to develop this skill. So, what are you waiting for? Start reading!