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Reading Purposefully | Quick Way
Reading Purposefully for the Sake of Reading
Wen you read just to enjoy learning on you own, you can still read purposefully before, during, and after you read. In fact, effective readers use these reading strategies without even realizing it.
To read purposefully, all you need to do first is spend a few seconds “preparing youself” to receive new information.
Before You Start Reading
Do not jump straight to the first paragraph. First, gain some insight into the material by doing a few simple things (not necessarily in the order shown below).
- Read the title. It sometimes gives you some idea about the topic.
- Check the publication date. When you read older materials, you likely take the information with a grain of salt, especially in areas that change very quickly.
- Check the writer’s name and the publisher. If you have read the writer before, you can expect a similar style and topic. Publishers often specialize in certain types of articles with similar information.
- Quickly flip through the pages (or scroll the page if online). Look at any photos, graphs, tables, infographics, and so on.
After “preparing yourself,” what you saw may have piqued your interest further. You may also decide simply skim the article or, truthfully, you may even decide not to read it at all. Even then, you will not have wasted the time reading a few paragraphs before realizing the material did not really interest you.
While You Read
What you do while reading for reading’s sake is up to you. That is the beauty of extensive reading.
Most importantly, enjoy reading and learning. It “won’t be on the test,” anyhow.
- Interact with he material. Some effective readers are so used to highlighting, underlining, and and taking notes that they use a pen or pencil when they read. It helps them stay focused.
(Of course, if you are reading in bed on your smartphone, you are very unlikely to take notes as you are engaged in extensive reading. Read Extensive reading for English-language Learners if you would like to know more. )
- Reread unclear portions. Effective readers sometimes reread portions of a reading material to make sure they understand everything.
- Go beyond the material. If the writer mentions unfamiliar names, places, dates, and so on, you can quickly search that information on the internet.
When reading online or on a smart device, information is a click or screentap away. Just make sure side searches do not distract you from your reading.
Keeping in mind that your purpose is enjoyment and learning on your own, you can do any of the above to read purposefully and actively without disrupting your enjoyment.
After You Read
Why end there? Even though you are reading for yourself, you can still process the information afterward and go deeper into the information, particularly if the topic sparked curiosity.
For most readers, processing the information does not always end when we finish the last paragraph.
- Read more about the topic, especially if it piqued your interest.
- Research on the topic for more information on something that caught your attention.
- Talk about it. Sharing information is at the heart of writing and reading, and that sharing is not limited to the writer and the reader.
Reading can be a social activity, so we often share that information with others. In fact, talking about what you have read, helps you retain information and learn even more.
Realistically, you often read and forget about it, especially if the topic has not really interested you that much. Is talking about what you read something you do? If not, consider doing so.
What If “It’ll Be on the Test?”
What if you are reading to study the information beyond the eventual “water-cooler conversation?”
Glad you are interested.
When teachers teach reading skills, there is often an assumption that reading is about reading literature or to study. However, keep in mind that there are different purposes for reading.
Students who enjoy reading for the sake of reading become effective readers. (e.g., Nakanishi; Mardiana) The students who only read what they are told and who only read when “it will be on the test” tend to dislike reading.
Whereas acquiring skills in reading to learn is important, extensive reading should be promoted. See Extensive Reading for English-Language Learners. (Franco) Although this page was written with English-language learners in mind, the strategies apply to any developing readers.
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