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The Complete Guide to Effective Reading

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“Nothing so much assists learning as writing down what we wish to remember.”

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Complete Guide to Effective Reading

The Complete Guide to Effective Reading

https://medium.com/@maartenvandoorn/the-complete-guide-to-effective-reading-fc1835937757

medium.com

12

Key Ideas

Meta-Learning

It's knowing how to learn. Learning itself is a skill, and knowing how to do it well is an incredibly valuable advantage.

Merely acquiring information is not learning. People need the ability to make sense of complexity and to combine many bits of data into a broad picture of the world, especially in today's high-information world.

Learning has 2 phases

Learning is a two-step process:

  • Read/listen: feeding ourselves new information.
  • Process and recall what you’ve just ‘learned’: connecting new materials to what we already knew.

Remembering the right things

You should not waste your time by committing unimportant details to memory. 

Your focus should be on understanding the bigger picture, on how things relate to each other.

Mental models and learning

A mental model is a mental, simplified depiction of how something works. It influences our perception, decisions, and behavior. 

Learning means upgrading your mental models. The more models you have — the bigger your toolbox — the more likely you are to have the right models to see reality.

Active reading vs. passive reading

  • Active reading: is reading with the conscious intention to understand, integrate and evaluate the information you’re reading.
  • Passive reading: where you just take the words in.

Mind mapping

It's a visual technique for summarizing the material that is specifically designed for the purpose of building a mental picture and seeing new connections. Mind-mapping is great for getting the core concepts of the book and ‘seeing’ how they relate to each other.

It works great for understanding the broad picture and updating your mental representation of your reality.

Written active recall

After you’ve completed a chapter, write bullet points on what you want to take away from it.

It will give you a concise list of bullet points per chapter, without interrupting the flow of reading and without you having to write stuff you don’t care about.

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“Nothing so much assists learning as writing down what we wish to remember.”

The QEC method

The QEC (question/evidence/method) described by Cal Newport: "Reduce the information presented to you into questions paired with conclusions. Between the two, list the evidence that justifies the connection. In other words, the questions and the conclusions become a wrapper around the raw facts — transforming them into self-contained ideas."

Put your unconsciousness to work

Intentionally direct the workings of your subconscious mind while you’re sleeping.

  • Every night, take out an empty piece of paper and jot down thoughts and a follow-up question relating to what you’ve been trying to understand. 
  • Every morning the first thing you do after waking -  answer last night’s question.

Engage in active recall

What you can’t explain to others, you don’t understand yourself.

The single best strategy for organizing constant growth is by involving fellow human beings. To test your understanding of something — anything — explain it to someone.

The cycle of learning

Acquiring information and learning are not the same thing.

To learn, we need to get the information into our latticework of mental models. For a higher return of investment of reading, we need to engage with the information we read and reflect on it.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Note-taking: a powerful tool for learning
  • Notes extend your memories: writing can be seen as an external enhancement of your brain, allowing you to think more complicated thoughts and solve harder problems.
  • Not...
How to Take Notes While Reading
  1. Figure out your purpose.
  2. Choose a technique that maximizes your focus on what is most relevant for your purpose. 
  3. Decide whether to optimize for review or retrieval practice.  
  4. If you do need to go back into the text again and again, create clues in your notes that can help you find what you’re looking for faster.
Figure out your purpose

Ask yourself why are you reading:

  • What am I trying to remember? 
  • How am I going to use this information? (e.g. on a test, cited in an essay, etc.)
  • What do I plan to do with the notes later? Will you be studying off of them extensively? Or maybe you’re just taking notes to stay focused, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll look through them after?

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Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
Successful people stick to their reading habit

A random sampling of the world’s most successful people will show one common trait: a love of reading. Because reading is the easiest way to continue the learning process. 

Whatever problem you’re struggling with is probably addressed in some book somewhere written by someone a lot smarter than you."

- Ryan Holiday

Whatever problem you’re struggling with is probably addressed in some book somewhere written by someone a lot smarter than you."

- Ryan Holiday

Our memory is made up of 3 components

...in terms of reading retention:

  • Impression
  • Association
  • Repetition

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