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Tips on Reading Books

Marco Dava, Grade 11

Reading books is universally accepted as a fundamental part of literature. It develops our reading, writing, and processing skills. Picking up reading as a habit has multiple benefits to us, students, as every day, we strive to learn something new. Reading books is a way to optimize that process of taking in information. A study on reading books shows a significant impact on the brain. Moreover, further research was conducted, where researchers studied a group of participants’ resting-state MRI’s, searching for which areas of the brain are engaged after reading a novel. The researchers told the participants to read at least a ninth of the novel every day until they have reached the end of the book. The study shows, “On the days after the reading, significant increases in connectivity were centered on hubs in the left angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri” (Berns). The study showed the engagement of the areas involved with, “perspective taking and reading comprehension,” (Berns) and an increase of connectivity within the brain. Connectivity within the brain allows us to more easily come to a conclusion when encountering questions, problems or even things in our own lives. The effect on the brain from just reading a book shows the significance of picking up the habit of reading books regularly. However, it's hard to focus on reading when there are so many other things we prioritize over it. This response is only natural. So, I offer these tips that allow the process of reading books to become easier.

1. Settle down: be relaxed when reading:

Reading requires focus and concentration. If you are not relaxed while reading, it is harder to process what you are reading. Before you start reading, resolve whatever is making you tense. Finish your homework, chores or anything that may be causing stress before you start reading. This state of relaxed reading heavily affects our ability to process and remember information.

2. Set dedicated reading times:

Reading everyday, constantly and consistently will develop the functions in your brain. You will start to feel more awake and engaged in studies, and be able to absorb information more easily. However, getting that momentum to start reading everyday can be hard. That is why you start by setting an expected amount for yourself to read everyday. For example, the first day I start a new book, I will want to start off with only reading a few pages, 8-11. As you progress through the book, the number of pages you read will increase until you have eventually finished the book.

3. Take a break:

Sometimes, reading can be frustrating, whether you do not understand what's happening or you are just not interested in the book. Take a break. If you feel frustrated, extracting information from the book will be harder. Figure a way to find more interest in the book. Changing your mentality on how you view reading is a critical part of more consistently reading. Seeing as taking a break is a way to clear your mind from frustration, it will always be something you need when reading a book. However, it is not an excuse to completely avoid reading the book as a whole. All your progress in developing your brain and processing skills will be wasted. Just like a normal hobby, reading requires constant and consistent effort in order to maintain and train engagement in the brain.

4. Use an audiobook recording when reading books:

Audio recordings add a whole new layer of absorbing information. Not only will you read, but also listen to the narrative. Especially if you are an auditory learner, listening to an audiobook will be helpful.

5. Take notes and summaries of the book:

After reading a chapter, writing down what happened forces information into your brain. In return, you more effectively remember information. Not only will you have notes to refer back to, but will be able to more clearly recall the specific events that occurred in the book.

6. Find a quiet and calm place to read:

The atmosphere in which you read matters. In busy places, it is easy to get distracted. For the sake of reading, find a place that is calm and quiet. The odds you get distracted are lower and you have more control over how long you are able to read.

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