We read how we read
And we do wrong. Because reading a novel or a newspaper is not the same as having to read something that we must learn. At first, it can be a bit difficult to get it right because we have internalized a reading mode since childhood, but with a little practice, the comprehensive reading technique will be the most useful of our study techniques and the basis for efficiently preparing any type. exam.
Comprehensive reading consists of internalizing a series of instructions and steps that we can apply to our study to understand and retain even the most complex and incomprehensible texts right away. Let’s see how it’s done:
Concentration and isolation
For a good comprehensive reading, we must forget to do it while we are on the bus or while our roommate plays at full volume. You have to be well seated, with good lighting and in silence so that we do not lose our concentration.
But, in addition, it is advisable to read on paper and not on screen because we will tire our eyes less, we will be able to make annotations more easily and especially because a study by the University of Valencia has shown that what is read is better understood if we read on paper.
Point by point
The first thing to do is not read all the text in a rush. Having a general idea of what our reading is about is good, but you quickly know that from the title and abstract.
You have to divide the agenda into affordable points and go little by little because if we read everything in succession when we get to the last page we will have forgotten half (or more). So the first step of comprehensive reading is to make separations with our marker from each of the points that we will read separately.
There are texts that already have them: it is possible that we are faced with several definitions or short chapters on the same subject and that we do not need to divide more, but if the text is running or the sections include several pages, then we must divide. Normally, a full stop will give us a good clue of where to cut.
Understand what is read
Once we have the divided text, we start reading, but not putting the automatic mode, but understanding what we read and stopping on each concept that is confusing to us.
The dictionary is for something, so let’s use it. Any new word will expand our vocabulary and enrich our thinking and reading comprehension. Comprehensive reading must be taken not as a normal reading, but as if we were deciphering a code.
Whether or not we understand each sentence in the text, we must stop and ask ourselves a series of questions. It is about interacting with the text in front of us in order to understand and learn it. The way to proceed with each section is as follows:
What does it mean?
To answer this question, we must go directly to what we do not understand, to the words or expressions that we do not know or that make us doubt, and answer them.
What are you talking about?
Historical period, the behavior of the atom, the literature of the nineteenth century … No matter what the topic is, it is about knowing what it speaks to us at each point, going from the general to the concrete.
What is it related to?
Get used to thinking by making inferences. Learning is not something linear and flat, but must draw from many sources and allow a broad knowledge on various subjects that allow us to establish relationships between phenomena.
Do not be afraid of divergent thinking or drawing conclusions that are not what you expected. Studying is not only about learning a syllabus but about learning to think. And also, when we are drawing our own conclusions or establishing relationships about a text, we unintentionally learn it.
What is the most important thing about this point?
Once we answer that (for ourselves), we are ready to pick up the marker and underline, because there will be no danger of us turning the whole garish yellow sheet back.
Comment the text
In addition to the questions, we must comment on what we are reading. The study should be done aloud, and even more comprehensive reading, so that our auditory memory makes the work more efficient.
Make comments about the text, say what a sentence reminds you of (even if it is unrelated nonsense), criticize the ghostwriters for hire as heavy, argue why you found that part interesting or the opposite. It is about putting the brain to work so that the information remains recorded and we can recover it in the exam.
Go to the next point
And so on. At first glance, it may seem tedious to have to do all this with the entire syllabus of each exam that they give us, but it will not really take more than two minutes and, with practice, it will come out without realizing it.
In addition, doing this at each point on the agenda will make the study more entertaining and, in the end, we will see that we have taken less time to learn everything and that our grades will be better.
What do you prefer, read the same text several times to learn it or read it more slowly and keep it all? You decide, we have it clear: comprehensive reading is the most useful learning tool for a student.