Improving reading performance by solving misconception about reading

By Haekal Adha Al Giffari

Some people think that reading activity is tedious. They will never do it unless they are forced by specific situations such as before an examination, doing assignments or research, following recommendations from their friends, etc.

Moreover, some people put too much pressure on themselves before and during reading, making them feel uncomfortable in the reading process.

Actually, what we think about reading itself will influence our behaviour towards it, making us less interested in reading. For example, our stereotype of reading is that it is difficult, tough, and it makes us sleepy. Thus, our attitude and behaviour will believe that kind of perception, and it becomes real. 

Moreover, there are some common misconceptions of reading that many people adopted, making them harder to start reading. Those misconceptions constructed their mind and perception, which will be reflective in their behaviour in reading. They will indirectly influence others to adopt their mindset and behave as they do.

The book “10 Days to Faster Reading” by the Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale explained further regarding dealing with these misconceptions as the first step to do faster reading. So, what are those misconceptions and how do we deal with it?

First, we think that we need to read everything in a book or news to understand. Each book, article or news provides us with various information that sometimes we just need particular material to read, not all. Having a perception that we must read the whole book will reduce our interest in reading due to the number of pages and complicated language that we will have to read.

Therefore, in dealing with this misconception, we should understand that we just need to prioritise important contents rather than trying to know everything. Read the table of contents, select which parts we are interested in, or think are important.

Secondly, we think that we should remember everything that we read to get something from the reading materials. When we have this concept, we will believe that reading is memorisation that happens in schools that used that method of learning. We therefore feel that we cannot memorise what we have read. Still, we do not remember anything, we prefer to avoid reading.

Memorisation is actually a short-term knowledge which will be difficult for us to retrieve it totally on another day. Instead of memorisation, reading is a way for us to get something from the materials and retrieving it easily whenever we want. Thus, we could visualise our reading, such as when we read about Germany’s art, we could imagine that we have a trip to Germany and visualise the situation there.

Further, we could focus on specific keywords in reading so that our minds will be systemised in retrieving that information. Also, writing down, highlighting important parts, or refreshing our mind in a new page will simplify the knowledge that we get and reduce the pressure to memorise everything. 

Thirdly, we think that we should not read during working hours. However, reading is actually part of our job description, which will help us deal with our work. Reading relevant materials during working hours will create a new idea, stay up to date with news, and improve understanding of what we deal with. 

After dealing with those misconceptions, we need to eradicate our lousy reading habits, which lead us to have less or misunderstand what we read. The worst practice is passive daydreaming. When we read, we think about many things that are most likely having no connection with the reading material.

It could make us unsystematised in obtaining information that will be mixed with our unconnected imagination. Therefore, our mind should be active in reading to connect each vital point to our experience. It will help us visualise what we read. 

Also, subvocalising in reading reduces our mind in processing words. We could process up to 400 words per minute without subvocalising while only 150 words per minute with it. However, chewing gum or mumbling will speed up our reading and understanding.***

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