How to Read Book Effectively

Perhaps reading is one of the most important skills for students, especially international students. Some advice on effective reading from Huong Dang.

How to Read Book Effectively

When the amount of new information in each classroom lecture makes it difficult for us to understand everything due to language limitations, seeking additional related materials to read is essential. However, not everyone can grasp the method to make reading books effective and efficient. When reading a book, what do you expect from it? You want to remember a lot of information, remember it for a longer period, and be able to apply it when needed. That's when you need to improve and hone your reading skills. Developing habits and practicing reading skills can help you access knowledge better.

Choose the Right Book

Stepping into the world of books, selecting a book that aligns with your work, interests, personality, emotions, etc., will make your reading more effective. Do you enjoy romantic novels, science fiction, biographies, or scientific books? Are you reading for relaxation or seeking new knowledge? Do you prefer an easy-to-understand book or are you up for a mental challenge? Identifying the issue you're interested in and choosing a suitable book will help you focus and engage more with it.

In particular, when choosing a book, prioritize your level of interest in the topic over recommendations from others. Skim through the introduction, table of contents, and a bit of content to determine if the book is suitable for you. Selecting a book based on factors like interests, purpose, emotions, etc., will ease your immersion into the world of literature and enable you to explore new ideas. This is similar to selecting supplementary materials for your studies. Choose materials with titles that intrigue you or have appropriate language. Some scientific documents or books may have complex language that, if unfamiliar, can lead to frustration and affect your learning. Therefore, choose books that you feel genuinely interested in and eager to delve deeper into.

Understand the Context of the Book

After selecting a suitable book, the next important step is to understand the context surrounding that book. Grasping its context is crucial for a deeper understanding of the book. Before diving in, familiarize yourself with the author's life, viewpoints, and background. This can provide you with an overview of the writing style and the values the author intends to convey. It helps you position the book within the author's development journey and gain a clearer understanding of its purpose.

Furthermore, consider the historical and cultural context in which the book was written. Learning about the historical or social period can provide vital information about the context impacting the content of the book. For example, a book written during wartime may reflect harsh conditions, patriotism, and the impacts of the war on life at that time... Understanding this context helps you read the book with a broader perspective.

Understanding the context of the book while reading is an effective way to enhance your knowledge and experience. Grasping information about the author, era, culture, and relevant events helps you gain a comprehensive view and establish deeper connections with the content of the book.

Choose the Right Place and Time for Reading

To read effectively, choosing a suitable reading environment is crucial. A quiet, noise-free place can be ideal for you to fully concentrate on your book. Some people prefer going to cafes, parks, or public places to read. While this can be a good suggestion, if you're easily distracted, you should avoid these places as they can disrupt your focus while reading. A private room, a workspace corner, or a balcony indoors may be a good choice to create a quiet space for your reading. One place in Moscow that I found particularly suitable for reading is the Lenin Library. Upon your first visit, you'll need to get a membership card following the instructions, and it's entirely free. With many people coming here to read, you can completely immerse yourself in your own book without any worries.

In addition to the location, you should also choose a suitable time for reading. Pick a time of day when you can concentrate best. For many people, early mornings or late evenings are ideal times for reading because they minimize distractions and allow you to enjoy your private reading space. However, since everyone has their own preferences and schedules, choose the time that suits you best. Also, avoid reading too much for an extended period, as it can reduce your ability to focus. Instead of continuous reading, break up your reading time and take breaks to replenish your energy and maintain concentration.

Choosing the right place and time for reading is an important part of effective reading. By seeking a quiet environment, selecting the appropriate reading time, and managing your reading time, you will enhance your ability to concentrate and enjoy the reading process to the fullest.

Develop Concentration Skills When Reading

Developing concentration skills while reading is crucial for effective reading and enjoying the entire content of a book. In addition to finding a quiet environment with minimal noise to avoid distractions while reading, you also need to turn off mobile devices such as phones, iPads, and computers to avoid distractions and focus entirely on the book. Try to eliminate everything around you and focus only on the book you're holding. This will help you absorb knowledge quickly and remember it for longer.

To enhance your concentration, you can consider some methods such as the Pomodoro technique, deep work, 80/20 rule, FAST method, etc. Applying these methods will help you maintain patience, manage your time effectively, and focus entirely on reading.

Developing concentration skills while reading is not something that can be achieved overnight but rather requires a long-term process. However, once you have improved this ability, you will notice a significant increase in your reading productivity and your ability to comprehend and retain knowledge.

Allocate Time for Reflection and Application of Read Knowledge

Allocating time for reflection and applying the knowledge gained are two important factors in effective reading. The process of reflection helps us gain a deeper understanding of the book's content, connect new information with existing knowledge, and develop critical thinking. When reading, actively ask questions, seek answers, and compare them with personal perspectives or information from other sources. This not only improves reading skills but also makes new knowledge more meaningful and easier to remember.

The next important step is applying knowledge to real-life situations. Knowledge becomes vivid and valuable when we know how to apply it to daily life, whether in work, study, or other specific situations. Practice helps reinforce knowledge and develop problem-solving skills, while also opening opportunities to test and adjust perspectives based on practical experience.

Therefore, reflection and application of knowledge not only help us gain deeper understanding but also turn knowledge into action, thereby promoting personal and professional development. This requires time and patience, but the benefits are immense, making the knowledge we acquire from books an inseparable part of our lives.

Establishing a Habit of Regular Reading

Daily reading not only provides us with knowledge and inspiration but also helps improve language skills and critical thinking. To build this habit, start by setting achievable and specific reading goals, such as reading a chapter each day or reading at least 20 minutes before bedtime.

Scheduling and sticking to it is the key to maintaining a regular reading habit. When you consider reading as an essential part of your daily routine, it will become as natural as eating or exercising. Finally, sharing reading experiences with friends or joining book clubs can provide motivation and commitment, helping you persevere with this habit. Building a regular reading habit not only enriches your knowledge but also is a great way to personal development.

Reading is one of the useful habits that helps you acquire knowledge and personal growth. Maintaining this habit every day requires commitment and perseverance on a long journey. Hopefully, with the small "tips" above, you can improve your reading habits effectively, helping you understand deeply and remember the books you've read without spending too much time.

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Huong Dang