In the world of reading, there are different people at different levels of reading. Knowing what level you’re at as a reader is important because it will help you know what needs improvement and what you can do to develop your reading abilities further.
one question that most people ask revolves around how they could possibly figure out whether they’re a good reader or not.
This is a fair question because, as with any endeavour…knowing where you are is important for your growth.
The purpose of this article is to address this question and help those that are trying to figure this out for themselves.
With that said, How do I know if I’m a good reader?
To know if you’re a good reader you need to understand what it means to be a good reader.
With that said, A good reader is one that is able to comprehend what they read and dissect all chapters of a book to understand them independently as well as collectively with regard to how they fit together to form one coherent theme.
Therefore, use the elements above to form your own conclusion about whether you’re a good reader or not.
Let’s get into each individual element of reading that I’ve discussed…
One key thing that you should use as a guide in figuring out whether you’re a good reader or not is your ability to comprehend what you read.
If you’re able to recall atleast more than 60% of what you read, it means your powers of comprehension are good.
However, if you read and fail to recall your understanding from what you read then chances are you’re reading the wrong way.
Therefore take time to reflect on this and use your own experience to determine whether you need to read more carefully or you simply need to improve on the good abilities you already possess.
Depth of understanding
Another key facet when it comes to your abilities as a reader is understanding.
Most people don’t know how to read and this is easily exhibited with in the difficulty they experience when it’s time to recall and use what they read.
Therefore to figure out whether you’re a good reader or not you need to evaluate how deeply you understand what you read.
This means using your understanding of what you read to form your own personal understanding.
Therefore its important that you understand what you read above the surface level.
Dig deeper and fully immerse yourself in a book.
Every book or article or any form of structured written material will have some structure to it.
It will have independent parts that explain various facets of what the book is about.
A good reader is one that has the ability to understand each and every chapter independently.
This is important because it makes comprehension and deeper understanding possible.
Which is why your understanding of the various parts (which are the chapters) of a book should be one of the key things that you considered when trying to figure out how much of a Good reader you actually are.
Every book despite having different chapters and sections or parts is simply one big puzzle trying to relay one single message.
The title of a book gives us the “what” …which makes us buy the book so we can read the “how” in the meaty sections of the book which are the various chapters.
A book is composed of many little pieces and a good way to judge a reader is their ability to put all the sections/chapters of a book together to form a full understanding of what the authors communication is.
Therefore, the next time you read a book see how well you understand the parts of the book expressed as a complete idea.
What you can do to become a good reader?
Let’s face it, when it comes to reading, we all have to start from somewhere. Which is why you shouldn’t necessarily feel bad for not being a well adjusted reader.
To help you get better at reading, you can use some of the tips I’ll share below.
If you want to become better at reading just like any other skill you have to do it consistently.
This way you’ll have a chance to develop your abilities as well as understand your own reading process.
Set some time aside for reading each day if you can or set specific days within the week which you can dedicate to reading.
The more you read, the more you’ll become adjusted to it and the more you’ll basically improve.
Start with simple material
One of the reasons why people find it hard to become good readers (atleast ones that can remember what they read) is because they dive straight into the hard material.
This is the not the right move because books that are hard to read will stress you and you’ll probably get through a couple of pages and eventually put the book away.
Which is why it’s best you begin reading the easier stuff which you can easily plow over and understand with little mental effort…
When you spend enough time reading books that demand a little mental effort on your part, you can then pick up the pace with books that are a little challenging until you fully transition into the complex books.
Break down each chapter
Another good way of becoming a better read is completely dissecting each and every chapter.
This means not simply going to the next chapter without fully understanding the previous one.
Figure out each important element in a chapter and understand what the author is trying to say.
You can gauge your understanding of the previous chapter by how smooth the transition to another chapter is.
A chapter before should always provide context for the next chapter.
Boil it down to one core idea
After you finish reading a book it’s important that you run through everything you’ve read.
Make sure you’re able to compress the entire book into in one singular idea.
You should be able to write a simple summary of the book if it were to come to that.
Only then would you say you’ve actually read the book as the author intended you to read it.
Which is why it’s important to settle down and use your power of logic to understand each and every chapter individually as well as wholly.
A good way to do this is reading each chapter carefully, forming a conclusion and a deep understanding of its individuality as well as its importance in the overall scheme of the book.
Reading is no easy task and sometimes you just won’t be up to task.
This is normal, you’re a human being after all, not a machine.
Which is why it’s important that you take your time to fully read the book and then go back to read what you’ve already read.
Doing this, you’ll discover that you may have missed some finer points which are important for your overall understanding of the book.
Re-reading will also cement your knowledge and will help you brush up on certain things that you may have forgotten.
Books that can help you become a better reader
Ofcourse reading is done at different levels. Which means reading certain books can help you become a better reader.
Below are general books types that you can consider.
These book niches will help you become a better reader due to their complex nature.
Science books are great
The several concepts and ideas expressed in them are important because they can help you develop your abilities as a reader.
Your brain is a machine that easily adapts to what it is subjected to.
Science books will improve your intelligence as well your overall powers of intellect.
Books in philosophy are very broad and very deep in the way they’re written.
They often express ideas that are not common in society.
Which is why such books require a sound mind that is able to grasp concepts that may be out of reach for most people.
Such books will help you become an overall better reader.
Let’s face it, math is a complex subject and not everyone is good at it.
But reading books on logical math such as game theory, can help you easily adjust and transition to other books smoothly.
Furthermore, such books are highly tasking on your brain which is very important in helping you become a more vivid thinker.
Important in comprehending books.
Fiction may seem irrelevant but it is actually useful.
Fiction novels rely on the expression of ideas with vividness.
Subjecting your brain to this is important because you’ll learn how to paint vivid images in your mind.
How to retain what you read
Below are some ways in which you can improve your ability to comprehend what you read.
Read first, take notes second
Form the habit of not taking notes while you read because that can easily throw you off.
Of course you can develop your ability to take notes while you read but if you’re not exactly a skilled reader. You’re better off reading first and then taking notes after reading.
This is helpful in keeping your focus on consuming information first and then taking notes when its time to re-read.
Apply what you read
To retain information of what you read you need some way of drawing from it.
A good way of doing this is using and applying the information and knowledge from what you read…in your everyday life.
Test your knowledge
Another good way of retaining what you read is by testing your knowledge.
You can write down what you’re able to recall from your reading session and then figure out what needs to be read again.
When you develop the habit of testing your own knowledge, you’ll improve your ability to understand what you read better as well your ability to actually retain what you may have read.
Therefore Write freely from memory, using your own words and understanding drawing from what you read in a book.
What to avoid
Below are some things that you have to avoid if you’re to become a good reader or develop into a better reader than you are right now.
Reading under pressure
Reading under pressure is certainly not the way to go. Your comprehension will be off and you’ll barely grasp anything.
For example, students that study the night before an exam usually don’t perform very well because of the stress that comes with reading under pressure.
Therefore, ensure that you read at will and free of any pressure to read.
This way you can consume knowledge at a good pace and be able to retain it.
Furthermore, this will also help you become a better overall reader.
Reading when tired
Reading when you’re tired will most of time result in you falling asleep which is why I avoid it.
When you’re tired you don’t need to do anything else other than rest.
What you read tired will be difficult to retain for the most part which is why it’s best to read when you’re well rested and actually have the desire to devour a book.
Reading around Distractions
Distractions can greatly diminish your ability to read and retain information which is why the best of readers find good places to read.
Places with no distractions and places that can help them focus.
Therefore, the next time you want to read, ensure that you find a good spot to read.
You can use your home to read by using a room that is well suited for an activity like reading.
Reading to finish a book
Finishing a book is great. I for one can confess the joy that comes with it.
But I never read a book just to finish it, I read books to understand them and so should you.
Avoid falling into speed reading traps just because you want to finish the book you’re reading.
You’re better off taking your time to understand the book so it can do what the author intended it to do, for you.