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Using Reading Skills to Enhance our Learning Attitude

The ability to comprehend and retain what is read is a critical skill, since so much of adult learning is visual. Your enthusiasm for learning has to spill over into the reading function.

You must read aggressively if you are to comprehend and understand information. It is not enough to stare at a book. You must attack the book. The attack begins with a preview of the reading material.

Previewing = Systematic and Meaningful Browsing

Previewing is browsing with a purpose. Your purpose is to establish a road map of where you’re going. Previewing a reading assignment by reading chapter headings, reading key sentences in paragraphs and paying attention to graphics provides you with a sense of direction—where the reading will take you.

Next, you should grab a pen or highlighter as you begin the actual reading. Get into the habit of underlining topic sentences, key concepts and definitions. Now, you’re taking the road map and breaking it down into small bits and pieces.

Once the reading is completed, it is critical to review what you read. Review it the same day you read it. Then keep the new information fresh in your mind by continually reviewing the reading assignment.

Finally, confine your reading to a series of short periods. It is more advantageous to spend four 15-minute periods reading new material, followed by short breaks, than to spend an entire hour staring at the printed word. As adults, we have limited focus and attention spans. Therefore, limit your reading to fit those 15-minute attention spans.