How to Read Effectively: Part 2

When a reader observes a text, she should take in as much information as possible.  This means that the reader must set up a reading space.  What works for some people may not be what works best for others.  One person may adequately read in the bed while another person may do so at a desk, outside, or on the couch.  Where one reads is not the only criteria one must take into account when setting up a healthy reading space.  Noise level should also be taken into consideration as well as environment.

brooks_chartNoise level could interfere with the reader’s concentration level.  When there is background noise, the reader is multitasking when she reads because she is now hearing the noise while reading the words.  Multitasking could divide one’s focus so that the more noises one hears, the less concentration she has on one thing.  Think of it as a pie chart.  If the reader hears sound, it divides her attention so that all of her focus is not on reading.  This does not do the writer any justice because the book’s potential to be understood is lessened.  One-hundred percent of the reader’s attention must be on reading if she is to be an effective reader.  Whenever I read and hear television, I happen to not absorb all the information I could if I solely focused on the material; this is why I turn off the television when I read.

Sound could actually alter the mood of the text. For example, hearing sad songs could make one read the text with the mood of this song in mind, but the writer may have meant to make the mood a happy or tranquil one.  There are times when I have read a book that I have a particular song in mind as I read.  Sometimes, this could have a positive impact on the reader’s experience because she associates the book with her favorite songs, causing her to feel comfortable while she reads the book.  This depends on the reader, but it is better to keep noise separate from reading than hearing noise that alters the mood of the text, even if it is a positive impact.

When somebody reads, she should take into account the overall feel of the environment.  Is the environment one that makes the reader feel uncomfortable, anxious, or sick?  Is the space too small?  Some people may benefit more from reading in the library than their rooms or vice versa.  A reader should not put convenience before a healthy reading environment, i.e., staying in one’s room may take less energy than walking or driving to the library, and lying in bed may be more easy to do than sitting in a chair, but the room or the bed may not allow the reader to do as much reading as she may do when she is at the library.

All in all, it is very important to set up a healthy reading space.  This is a sure way to intake as much knowledge from the book as you can.  Next time you read a book, keep in mind the place, noise level, and overall feel of the environment.

Here’s a link to How to Read Effectively Part One!

– Sasha Brooks

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