How to Read a Book Like a Pro: 12 Tried-And-Tested Book Reading Tips

Written by: The Story of Sprout

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Time to read 12 min

Introduction

In a world dominated by screens and distractions, many desire to get back into the habit of reading. Surprisingly, a recent YouGov survey revealed that 11% of Americans wish to read more in 2023. This translates to almost 36 million individuals whose New Year resolutions are wrapping up more books. Knowing how to read a book is not just a basic skill. It’s an art that influences your personal growth and helps build a love for learning.


The importance of reading goes far beyond achieving good grades or excelling academically. Let’s take a student who dedicates 15 minutes to read from his first grade to the twelfth. By the time this individual tosses his graduation cap in the air, he will have read 5 million words! 


Imagine the impact this reading exposure will have on his personality, knowledge, and intellect. Not only will it impact his thought process, but it will also help him become a better version. So, how do you rekindle your lost love for reading? Well, in this blog, we’ll get into 12 tried-and-tested tips to help you transform into an avid book reader. Read on!

How to Read a Book Like a Pro: 12 Tried-And-Tested Book Reading Tips

1. Set a Purpose

Have you ever asked yourself, “How to read a book with greater comprehension and insight?” Well, setting a purpose before you start reading is the answer. Imagine hopping on a journey without knowing the destination — you might end up wandering. The same applies to reading. 


Thus, it is crucial to ask yourself why you’re reading before you start. Are you looking to gain information, entertain yourself, or perhaps aim for personal growth? This initial step serves as a compass and helps guide your attention and focus. 


A good way to set your purpose is by previewing a book. You can do this by skimming the essential elements (Read: table of contents, introduction, and conclusion):

  • The table of contents outlines the book’s structure and the topics it covers. Are there specific chapters that align with your goal? It’s a quick way to identify essential themes and chapters.
  • The introduction has the author’s main argument or the book’s central theme. It provides context and sets the tone, helping you decide what to expect. 
  • The conclusion offers a sneak peek into the author’s closing remarks and key takeaways. This helps solidify your purpose by giving you an understanding of the destination. 

By establishing a purpose, you give yourself a goal. This serves as a reason to absorb and understand the content. Knowing why you’re reading is especially important for children. Kids, often driven by curiosity, may overlook the meaning of a text if they don’t have a reason to read. Therefore, setting a purpose helps motivate them, encouraging them to actively explore and comprehend the material. 

2. Jot Down Key Points

When you’re reading a book, whether it’s a textbook, novel, or comic, jotting down key points is crucial to retain and comprehend it all. Take notes of all the crucial elements, like important points, interesting quotes, and your thoughts. Here are a few note-taking practices you can adopt if you want to know how to read a book like a pro:

  • Jot down the author’s main points or central arguments
  • Write down important facts, data, or statistics
  • Reflect on how the content aligns with your own experiences
  • Ask yourself: what would I have done in a similar scenario?
  • List any questions you have about the plot
  • Consider creating summaries of each chapter
  • Visualize information through diagrams, charts, or maps

You can also annotate major points and developments in the book. This involves marking crucial passages and underlining powerful dialogues. And who can forget our go-to — scribbling comments in the margins? This practice helps you engage with the text, concentrate better, and revisit important information at times. Most importantly, it’s a catalyst for improved active listening, comprehension, and retention. 
 

3. Join a Book Reading Community

Joining a book reading community is a game-changer for rekindling your lost love for reading. When you’re surrounded by like-minded people who appreciate and share similar interests, you may be motivated to read more books. Being a part of a book club also fosters healthy competition. You may be more tempted to complete three books if Sarah, your reading buddy, completed two. 


Plus, if you’re part of a community that tends to set common reading goals and discuss books later, you’ll be likely to complete your reading goals quickly. But why would you do this? Well, to be an active participant in the discussion and avoid the fear of missing out by being a silent member.


As a result, book clubs foster accountability in even the laziest of readers. You can sometimes find great recommendations through book clubs or stumble upon books you may not have read otherwise. The key is to take every opportunity available to challenge yourself to read more. Participate in readathons, reading challenges, or buddy reading activities. 

4. Bookish Reward System

Using a reward system is like patting yourself for a job well done. Taking the time out to treat yourself after accomplishing certain reading milestones helps make the experience more enjoyable. Why? Because, let’s face it, reading can sometimes feel like a chore. And it may seem tempting to scroll through your socials or catch up on PS4 than to read at times. 


Now, the reward system is a small hack to keep yourself going. Finish a chapter? Treat yourself to popcorn. Reach a certain number of pages? Go ahead, grab a cookie. Read for 30 minutes? Take a short break to pet your dog. In other words, it’s about finding what motivates you to keep going and incorporating it into your reading routine.


How often should you reward yourself? That’s the beauty of it – there are no strict rules. It’s your reading adventure, after all. You could set a reward after every chapter or every 20 pages. The key is to make it a positive experience, not a chore.

5. Make Attainable Reading Goals

Setting attainable reading goals is a must-do for becoming a proficient reader. This is because setting realistic targets contributes to a positive reading experience. If you’re not someone who devours books regularly, don’t commit more than what you can handle. Start by setting an effortlessly achievable reading goal. This can be reading one book per month or 100 pages each week or blocking 30 minutes for reading every day. 


And if you’re already completing one book a month, take it up to two books. Remember to not over-commit or make towering goals you can’t complete. Interestingly, concentration improves when reading isn’t burdensome. This, in turn, helps increase reading speed.
An effective tool in this process is a reading habit tracker. This tool assists in monitoring the books you’ve read, plan to read, and are currently engaged with. It helps you define and document your reading goals. Consequently, you can track your progress and celebrate your accomplishments. 


If you want to read a certain number of books, you can input them into the habit tracker. As you go along, you can mark your goals completed and treat yourself. How about a hot water bath or an ice cream treat when you hit the two-books-a-month milestone? This visual representation reinforces your commitment. Therefore, it provides a tangible record of your reading journey. 

6. Employ a Pomodoro Technique

Do you struggle to focus for extended periods? Or get distracted for hours after focusing for as little as 15 minutes? We have the solution for you! The Pomodoro method is a well-known time management technique that helps improve concentration. This method offers a systematic approach to tackling reading tasks, especially less-than-engaging material. 


Here’s how it works: you set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to focusing solely on your reading during that time. No distractions, just you and the text. Once the timer ends, you reward yourself with a brief 5-minute break. This cycle repeats four times. And after completing the fourth round, you earn a more extended break — between 15 to 25 minutes.


But how is Pomodoro a crucial strategy on how to read a book efficiently? Well, it helps break down your work into manageable chunks. Thus, it enables you to train your brain to sustain focus for prolonged periods. 

7. Create a Comfortable Reading Environment

In this age of digital distractions, knowing how to read a book effectively is crucial. One of the best book reading tips to focus better is creating a comfortable reading space. In other words, distractions can disrupt your concentration and hinder comprehension. Think about the last time your dog jumped in your lap while you were reading. Or maybe your Instagram notifications went buzzing with that influencer who took a trip down Europe. 


While some interruptions are inevitable, the environment where you read can significantly enhance your reading experience. This is synonymous with the fact that students who study in a healthy learning environment are often more motivated and engaged. 


So, how to read more books by creating an environment that encourages you to do so? Here are a few tips:

  • Begin by selecting a quiet room with minimal temptations, such as a television. 
  • Choose a well-lit space to reduce eye strain and promote alertness. 
  • Natural light or a good-quality artificial light source can make a significant difference.
  • Opt for a comfortable chair or spot where you can sit for an extended period
  • Manage your phone to minimize interruptions (Read: Silent or airplane mode)
  • Consider subtle scents or aromatherapy to create a pleasant reading ambiance
  • Include comfortable blankets or pillows for added physical comfort during reading.
  • Keep bookmarks and tools for annotation handy to enhance the reading experience.
     

8. Read Multiple Books Simultaneously

Have you ever found yourself lost in a good book, only to hit a wall of monotony around the 60-90% mark? It’s like the excitement slowly starts to fade. This is when you’re merely making it through the pages, barely understanding what the narrative entails. If this is an all too common occurrence with you, reading multiple books at once is the thing for you. 


By choosing different genres of books from various authors, you can create a playlist that caters to your moods. Feeling a bit adventurous? Dive into that sci-fi novel. Craving some real-world inspiration? Switch to a biography of someone like Elon Musk. The variety keeps things fresh and exciting. Plus, this technique also helps you combat that dreaded reading fatigue.

9. Make Technology Your Best Friend

If you’re seeking tips on how to read a book effectively, make technology your best friend. The key is not letting anything stop you from achieving your new year reading objectives. Don’t have a physical book with you? Take out your Kindle version and continue where you left off. The line at the grocery store seems never-ending. Play the audiobook version and keep tabs on the updates in your favorite character’s lives. 


Electronic books, or e-books, play a similar role in optimizing reading opportunities. Think about the convenience of having an entire library stored in a portable device. Consequently, an e-reader helps you carry a multitude of books without the bulk. This is particularly advantageous for those who are always on the go. 

10. Use a Systematic Approach

Are you an academic reader seeking tips on how to read a book critically and absorb its content? Well, when it comes to reading challenging academic material, using a systematic approach is important. This is because it can help you comprehend and retain well. The systematic approach is based on SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review). Therefore, it is crucial to engage with complex texts. Why? Because it ensures that you not only consume the information but also engage with it.
 

Here’s how to get better at reading through a systematic approach:


  • Survey: Skim through the text to grasp its structure, headings, and subheadings.
  • Question: Plan questions based on headings or crucial points. This helps set a purpose for reading.
    Read: Actively read the material.
  • Keep your focus on answering the questions posed during the questioning phase.
  • Recite: Summarize or verbally recall the main points, reinforcing understanding and retention.
  • Review: Go over the material again. Reinforce learning by revisiting key points and checking comprehension.
     

11. Find Your Sweet Spot and Stick To It

Setting a dedicated reading time is fundamental to enhancing your reading experience. But how to read a book regularly and stick to the habit? Well, the secret is to find your sweet spot. Are you a morning reader or someone who prefers bedtime reads? It is crucial to know when you find the most pleasure in reading and stay consistent with it. 
 

Identify when you are the most receptive to information. Knowing this helps you absorb better and understand well. After you’ve found your sweet spot, add a daily reminder to your calendar. You can also use a physical planner as a to-do list, but place it somewhere it is easily accessible and visible to you. 
 

Here are a few steps to reading books at your dedicated reading time:

  • Start your day with a chapter during your morning coffee.
  • Take a break from work to delve into a good book during lunch.
  • Establish a calming pre-sleep routine with a few chapters before bedtime.
  • Dedicate a portion of your weekends to extended reading sessions.
  • Make the most of your commute with a captivating audiobook or e-book.

In essence, blocking out dedicated time for reading every day helps enhance the quality of your sessions. You’re likelier to grasp the information well and retain it better when you read during your peak productivity intervals. All in all, a dedicated reading habit helps turn reading into a fulfilling habit. 
 

12. Learn Speed Reading Techniques

Do you want to know how to get better at reading more in less time? Well, speed reading techniques help you read and comprehend information quickly. As a result, they enable you to cover more material (and read more books) in less time. One crucial aspect of speed reading is letting go of subvocalization. 
 

This habit of pronouncing words in your mind as you read slows down your reading speed. Instead, focus on visualizing the information by gliding your eyes through the text. You can utilize your peripheral vision to capture more words in a single glance. All you need to do is widen your gaze to encompass groups of words rather than one word at a time. 
 

Plus, practicing “chunking” helps break the habit of reading word by word. Instead, the technique involves grouping words into meaningful clusters. This not only facilitates faster reading but also helps understand the overall context. 
 

The best way to read books quickly is skimming. It involves quickly glancing through the headings, subheadings, and the first and last sentences of paragraphs. The key is to grasp the main ideas without delving into every detail. This approach is particularly useful for extracting information swiftly, especially in a fast-paced digital environment.

Conclusion

Fuel Your Reading Passion with Sprout Today

The best way to read books is about adopting simple yet effective habits. By staying engaged, taking notes, and exploring diverse genres, you can enhance your reading experience. The tips discussed here offer practical ways to make the most out of every book you pick. So, grab a book and apply these strategies — you’ll be amazed at the difference they make. 


And if you’re still wondering about how to read a book effectively that helps foster a lifelong love for reading, Sprout is your go-to ally! Just like Woodsprout’s journey of self-discovery, reading allows us to embark on adventures of the mind. Consequently, it helps us meet vibrant characters and gain valuable lessons along the way. Sprout is a modern-day fairytale where each character imparts valuable lessons of truth, knowledge, and goodness.


Through these encounters, Woodsprout learns that the pursuit of knowledge is a boundless journey. Likewise, his journey instills in him a profound desire for wisdom. Sprout is a philosophical adventure story that weaves together lessons about the meaning of life. Moreover, it offers readers a rich and enchanting exploration of what life is all about. So pick this read today and get back into the habit of reading.