1. Elementary Reading - Deepstash

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1. Elementary Reading

1. Elementary Reading

This is the level of reading taught in our elementary schools. If you’re reading this website, you already know how to do this.


1.14K reads


4. Defining the Issues — If you’ve asked a clear question to which there are multiple answers then an issue has been defined. Opposing answers, now translated into your terms, must be ordered in relation to one another. Understanding multiple perspectives on an issue helps you fo...


538 reads

The Ultimate Guide to read a book
by Mortimer Adler

The Ultimate Guide to read a book by Mortimer Adler

By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a framework for reading at different levels that you can apply right away.

How We Learn To Read

I bet you already know how to read a book. You were taught in elementary school.

But do you know how to read well?


1.72K reads

<p><strong>Systematic skimming...

Systematic skimming — This is meant to be a quick check of the book by

(1) reading the preface;

(2) studying the table of contents;

(3) checking the index; and

(4) reading the inside jacket.

This should give you sufficient knowledge to understand the...


1K reads

<p><strong>3. Getting the Ques...

3. Getting the Questions Clear — Rather than focus on the problems the author is trying to solve, you need to focus on the questions that you want to be answered. Just as we must establish our own terminology, so too must we establish our own propositions by shedding light on the...


527 reads

4. Syntopical Reading

4. Syntopical Reading

This is also known as comparative reading, and it represents the most demanding and difficult reading of all. Syntopical Reading involves reading many books on the same subject and comparing and contrasting ideas, vocabulary, and arguments.

This task is undertaken by identifying relevant pa...


726 reads

After an inspectional read, you will understand the book and the author’s views.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll understand the broader subject. To do that, you need to use comparative reading to synthesize knowledge from several books on the same subject.


770 reads

<p>There are four rules to Ana...

There are four rules to Analytical Reading:

  • Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
  • State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
  • Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole....


807 reads

The Four Levels of Reading

The Four Levels of Reading

Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. Adler identifies four levels of reading:

1. Elementary Reading

2. Inspectional Reading

3. Analytical Reading

4. Syntopical Reading


1.52K reads

<p><strong>Superficial reading...

Superficial reading — This is when you just read. Don’t ponder the argument, don’t look things up, don’t write in the margins. If you don’t understand something, move on.

What you gain from this quick read will help you later when you go back and put more effort into readin...


967 reads

3. Analytical Reading

3. Analytical Reading

Francis Bacon once remarked, “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

You can think of analytical reading as doing that chewing and digesting. This is doing the work. Analytical reading is a thorough reading. If inspectional reading is t...


980 reads

<p>This is all about identifyi...

This is all about identifying and filling in your knowledge gaps.

There are five steps to syntopical reading:

1. Finding the Relevant Passages — You need to find the right books and then the passages that are most relevant to filling your needs. So the first step is a...


656 reads

How You Read Matches Why You’re Reading

How You Read Matches Why You’re Reading

The goal of reading determines how you read. Reading the latest Danielle Steel novel is not the same as reading Plato. If you’re reading for entertainment or information, you’re going to read a lot differently (and likely different material) than reading to increase understanding. While many peop...


1.22K reads

2. Inspectional Reading

2. Inspectional Reading

We’ve been taught that skimming and superficial reading are bad for understanding. That is not necessarily the case. Using these tools effectively can increase understanding. Inspectional reading allows us to look at the author’s blueprint and evaluate the merits of a deeper reading experience.


1.18K reads

Becoming a Demanding Reader

Becoming a Demanding Reader

Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:

  • What is this book about?
  • What is being said in detail, and how?
  • Is this book true in whole or in part?
  • What...


655 reads


“Marking a book is literally an experience of your

differences or agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.”



1.5K reads

<p><strong>5. Analyzing the Di...

5. Analyzing the Discussion — It’s presumptuous to expect we’ll find a single unchallenged truth to any of our questions. Our answer is the conflict of opposing answers. The value is the discussion you have with these authors. You can now have an informed opinion.


544 reads

<p>A lot of people confuse kno...

A lot of people confuse knowing the name of something with understanding. While great for exercising your memory, the regurgitation of facts without solid understanding and context gains you little in the real world.

A useful heuristic: Anything easily digested is reading for inform...


1.68K reads

<p>This is how most people rea...

This is how most people read. But most people aren’t really learning anything new. It’s not going to give you an edge, make you better at your job, or allow you to avoid problems.

Learning something insightful requires mental work. It’s uncomfortable. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not learning...


1.38K reads

Before we can improve our reading skills, we need to understand the differences in the reading levels. They are thought of as levels because you can’t move to a higher level without a firm understanding of the previous one — they are cumulative.


1.1K reads

<p><strong>2. Bringing the Aut...

2. Bringing the Author to Terms — In analytical reading, you must identify the keywords and how they are used by the author. This is fairly straightforward. The process becomes more complicated now as each author has probably used different terms and concepts to frame their argum...


600 reads




Book summaries mostly ...

This book explains not just why we should read books, but how we should read them. It's masterfully done.

More like this

The Four Levels of Reading

Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. Adler identifies four levels of reading:

  1. Elementary Reading
  2. Inspectional Reading
  3. Analytical Reading
  4. Syntopical Reading

They are thought of as levels because you can’t move to a higher level without ...

Before reading

  • Consider your purpose for reading and what you need to be able to understand, know, or do after reading.
  • Determine what you already know about the material you are to read.
  • Give the text an initial glance, noting headings, diagrams, tables, pictures, bolded words, summaries, ...

Superficial Reading

Superficial Reading

This is used when you’re taking a book that’s notably above your level.

A superficial reading means that you quickly read from start to finish without stopping to ponder the things you don’t understand. The reason this works is that by reading the book from start to finish...

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