Counseling & Guidance » Improving Concentration: Reading

Improving Concentration: Reading

Active reading will focus learning.
Know your textbook. Warm up before reading.
  • Think about what you're reading.
  • Visualize
Use the SQ3R method
  • Quickly skim the assignment Read headings, captions,etc.
  • Ask what you want to learn.
  • Ask questions teachers might ask.
  • Stay busy. Take notes.
  • Look up words you don't know
  • Answer the question you asked.
  • Say the answers out loud.
  • Look over what you've read.
  • Relate class notes to your reading.
Reading takes up more homework time than anything else. Bo-o-oring, some people might say. Sure, if we're just moving our eyes back and forth across the page, doing nothing else. No wonder lots of people fall asleep, even with a good book!  But reading doesn't have to be tedious or dull.
What can you do?  Try active reading.
Active reading gives you the edge.  It keeps you alert and helps even not-so-favorite subjects come alive, so you can step up to the challenge when it's time to write a paper or take a test and give it everything you've got.
The key is concentration. This means focusing on what you're doing -- getting "inside" the material you're reading, keeping your eyes on the ball.
Your textbook: The Silent Coach
What's in a textbook? Take a look. Your book is one of your most important study aids. So spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the books for all your subjects. It's well worth your time.
  • Title Page:  What is this book about?
  • Introduction:  This is a note to readers. Skim this section. What do the editors say about using this book?
  • Table of contents:  How is the book organized? What's in it? What part are you most interested in?
  • Index:  The quickest way to find the page where your book discusses a specific event, person, place, idea, organization, etc.
  • Glossary or vocabulary:  This is the first place to look for the definition of an unfamiliar word used in your book. If you don't find it here, go to a dictionary.
  • Appendixes:  Maps, charts, lists: See what's there. These special tools at the back of your book can be a big help as you study.
Warm Up Before Reading
Your brain is an organ just like your heart and it works best after a warm-up.  So when you've looked over your book and you're about to start reading, try this: Think about the subject you're getting ready to read.
Visualize. Studying about the Civil War? Imagine what the soldiers and civilians wore. Picture what you already know about that period. Now you're ready to step up to serve with a tried-and-true method of active reading.
Don't Like to Read?
Get ready to change that!  It's easy to make reading interesting and fun when you read about what you like.
What are your hobbies?  Do you enjoy football or fashion? Rock music or rock collecting? Camping or cross-stitch? Whatever your interests, there's plenty of reading material available.
Go to the library. Check your local magazine stand or bookstore. Borrow reading materials from friends. Read newspapers, magazines and books!
You can often use your "fun" reading for schoolwork, too. The articles you've been reading about your favorite quarterback could be the basis of an essay for language arts. The historical novel you're reading could be the subject for a social studies book report.
Everything You Read Makes You a Better Reader!