Ever feel like you just aren't getting the most out of what you read? I hear you! Here are some tricks that I use to get the most out of my reading any time of the year!
Limit your time
This is a huge advantage to using library books or borrowing through an app like Overdrive. When you know that you only have two weeks with a book, you are more likely to read it within that period of time. Additionally, most books benefit from being read within a shorter period of time so that you can see the big picture of the overall message of the book as well as the smaller lessons within each chapter. If you are the type of person that starts many books and never finishes them, then use time as a pressure to push you to finish.
Underline or take notes
Okay! I know that this seems to conflict with library books, but hear me out. Writing while you read is one of the best ways to remember and zero in on the big picture takeaways. Don’t just underline to underline. Think about what sentence in the paragraph or the page speaks the most to you. Is there a single word or short sentence that sums up the page or chapter? If you were describing the concept to someone else in ten seconds what big words or ideas would pop out to you? Those are the things that deserve margin notes and underlining. And you can do the same with library books so long as you use a word processing file or a notebook.
Ask yourself questions
How does this challenge my preconceptions? Does it reinforce them? Is there a principle I could apply today in my life? What else have I read that sheds light on this topic or provides an additional perspective? How can the principles of this book help me to lead/parent/live more effectively? Asking questions will allow the book to go from “inspirational” to “practical” in a moment. There are so many questions that I like to ask, but my favorite is, “how would my life change if I adopted the mindset or practices of the author?” Imagine actually doing what the author describes. How would it feel? What would it change? Then pick on thing to apply today and see what happens!
People often ask “how do your read the Bible?” as though the same tools I used in academia don’t apply. I read the Bible with exactly these principles in mind. My love for literature came from studying the Proverbs with my mom. My desire to seek a connection between what I read and how I live or see the world came from studying the Bible as a child. So, don’t separate out your study of the Bible and make it solely “spiritual”. The Bible is the basis of all things practical and can speak into every area of our lives. Just try it. And then apply it!
What are your favorite tricks for reading? Where did you get your love for learning?
Summer reading with your kids can be challenging - but there are great options available!
I hope you are finding what I write helpful. If so, feel free to share with others or drop me a line and let me know what topics you’d like to hear more about!