Mental Health

How to read and understand. Here is a better way to read text and… | by Koolbert Nsiimire | ILLUMINATION | Sep, 2021

Koolbert Nsiimire
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What is reading? Reading is the process in which a reader makes a meaningful representation of a text. Reading involves a lot of mental processes. You use your eyes to see the text, the brain constructs an image, then it recognizes the letters that form a word, remembers what the word means, joins the meanings of every word in the sentence to get what is being communicated.

Read keenly. You have to read word by word and precisely remembering what each word means. Make meaning out of every sentence. You have to be keen enough to spot any spelling and grammatical mistakes. This helps you not to misinterpret information. I mean, you could be reading a textbook and it says, “time travel will not be possible in the future.” But because you were rushing, you skipped ‘not’ and totally got it wrong. Sometimes, this used to happen to me until when I changed my reading style. And another thing, try to read at medium speed because, with reading too fast, you skip words and too slowly, you forget what you read before interpreting it.

Read again and again. It is always good to read something not once because it helps you to correct misinterpretations you may have made earlier. Memory retention of information is also improved because you start forgetting things right after you stop reading them. It also helps you to connect the whole textbook, I mean, you get to organize related information in your head which improves your understanding of a topic.

Summarize what you have learned. You may be reading a lengthy text that is explaining something and you may get confused as you read for longer and lose track of why you’re even reading it, but the best way is always in your mind, try to comprehend and get to see where all those sentences are pointing at. Try to get the main point of each paragraph. Use the explanations as pointers to that main point. So, by summarizing, you get to fit a whole textbook into your brain.

Relate what you have learned. This helps you to get a deeper understanding of what you are reading. Try to use your findings to explain real life experiences that you had. Try to use the information you read to explain what was talked about earlier or what other books were talking about then you will have fully understood what the text was trying to communicate.

Draw pictures in your mind. Imagination is very essential for one to understand what they are reading. Probably, this is what made Albert Einstein so great because he had a great power of imagination. Imagination is mostly very important while studying how a certain process occurs or while reading stories.

Have a dictionary next to you. Some books use words you have never heard of, so, having a dictionary next to you is very helpful. Most times when you don’t have one close by, you skill the unknown words which is not got because you don’t get to know what the writer was trying to say. Just one word could destroy the entire paragraph and this will reduce your understanding of the text.

Read a little at a time. Anyone’s brain can’t take in too much and our brains need to rest after reading, which is very tiresome. We are not computers. Read little at a time, rehearse it, and wait for it to sink in then read another. Otherwise, it is never a good idea to read too much at one time because sometimes you end up mixing information.

Have interest and curiosity. Whenever you are going to read about a topic, you must have some questions that you want to answer. You will never understand something you don’t want to know about because you are demotivated. This is why Albert Einstein was excellent in physics and mathematics while not so good at the rest of the subjects yet he had a great IQ.

Relax before you read. This is to improve your reading comprehension. If you have done stressful work, first meditate or have a walk before you read because chances are that you won’t understand what you are reading while stressed.

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