How to be a better reader?

By Pranjali Wakde

Out of all the hobbies any individual can have, reading is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling hobbies of all. Reading doesn’t only mean reading fictional novels; in fact, it also covers non-fiction books, magazines, papers and everything readable. Many people say that they are readers – but behind this claim is a bookshelf where almost all of the books lie under dust bunnies. All of us – readers and non-readers alike – want to become better readers, without knowing how to. Well, I have the answer now – with these easy and efficient ways given below!

1. Keep a reading list:

A reading list is simply that list of books you want to read. Making a reading list, however, is not as simple as it sounds, as you really have to think about your likes and dislikes before you make a decision. The reading list is ever-changing – because your likes may change over time. A good way to start your reading list is referring to the already curated lists online, which are recommended by a chunk of the population. You can read the books, decide whether you like them or not after researching and then tweak your list accordingly. Not only does it save your time from reading books you won’t like but also make sure you will actually anticipate reading new things!

2. Make full use of the dictionary:

Reading has always been synonymous with ‘expanding your vocabulary’. And even though it is not the only meaning of reading, your vocabulary will definitely take a flight once you start reading books. If you encounter some difficult words while reading, don’t hesitate to refer to your dictionary. In order to understand the usage of these words, try to spin word games with them, use them in your own conversations – and be so used to it that it becomes an inseparable part of your vocabulary. If you do this, there might be times when you will be helping others with those exact same words! And, trust me, knowing more and more words would directly help in making you a better reader

3. Develop a dedicated reading time and area:

Any habit needs regular practise to make it an everyday part of your life – and reading is not any different. Now that you’ve made your reading list, it is time to decide a designated time and place where you can kick back with a book. The place should actually make you read willingly and not have any stressors that will distract you in any way. As for the time, most people read whenever they get time from their daily chores. However, to become a better reader, you should decide on a time, as it helps you slip into the ‘reading mode’ and increases your concentration skills. Trust me, combined with the designated place and the dedicated time slot, your reading experience will be absolutely indescribable.

4. If the book doesn’t hold your attention, stop reading:

There are times when, whatever you do, you just can’t concentrate on the book you are reading. The pages somehow seem filled with weird scribbles, instead of actual words – and that is the moment you have to put that book down and do something else that will take your mind off reading. Come back to it after you feel you’re ready to read – And if this little trick doesn’t help as well, abandon the book altogether. Most readers think they have to complete reading the book, just because they have started it. But you know what? It is perfectly fine to part with the book after you’ve read more than 20 pages. The book just wasn’t your cup of coffee – and it also gives you more time to read other books you would really love!

5. Read like a critic:

One of the most absurd reading myths is that reading like critics is for the more intellectual population; others are just happy reading books in a hurry, sometimes without understanding the underlying message. However, it is a known fact that every book is full of nuances, symbolism and unique writing style – all of which is something you may or may not agree with, but could definitely appreciate if the book is read critically. Not only will this help you to differentiate between good and bad writing but will also bring the book’s world right in front of you. And if that doesn’t increase your interest in reading, I don’t know what will!

6. Join a book club:

Sometimes, many people unconsciously delay reading any books, because it appears as nothing but an undemanding hobby. However, even reading requires a certain discipline – which can be achieved by joining a book club. A book club is where people can get together to talk about – you guessed it right – books! Club members are usually assigned the same book for reading, the views on which are discussed in the next club meet. Not only do you read the book in a reasonable amount of time but also get a platform for discussing your views with other readers and booklovers. There are physical as well as virtual book clubs that you can join, just waiting to enrich your reading experience!

7. Listen to audiobooks:

If you don’t have time to give your time to go through a full book, audiobooks will always come to your rescue. Audio-books are nothing but novels recorded in an audio format, which you can listen to whenever and wherever you want. It is a great way to ‘read’ a book, especially when you are doing something else, such as cooking, cleaning, driving and even when you’re on a walk. These audiobooks are recorded in such a way that they actually paint the picture in your mind when the words fall on your ears. It also helps in forming a reading habit – plus, audiobooks really help to escape your mundane reality, when you are actually working in that mundane reality. A win-win situation!

There are no rules for being a reader – as every person is unique, with different tastes and preferences. However, these steps are surefire – tried and tested, if you will – approaches to become a better reader. And who doesn’t want to become one?