Maintaining focus while reading is often difficult for some people. In a world full of distractions, and a world where necessary reading is often less-than-enthralling, it is easy for us to glaze over an article or a chapter in a book without having retained anything. What a waste of time that is! Luckily, there are strategies to help maintain an appropriate level of focus while reading something. In this post, I am ranking some given strategies in order of usefulness, to me at least, and highlighting a few thoughts I have on each.
This strategy was most helpful to me, and I definitely think it would be a good thing to implement while reading assigned readings for classes. Not only does it break up your reading into less daunting sections, but it forces you to maintain an active level of focus by having you jot down a note about the given section. Additionally, at the end of the reading, you are able to look back and reflect upon your thoughts during the reading process.
Use a timer
I also found this strategy helpful, although I think it has more specific usefulness than that of the copy-and-delete method. Using a timer, again, forces you to focus on one topic for a short period of time, which is great for breaking up the reading. I also like the idea of choosing what to do at the end of the time. Unfortunately, I find myself setting time constraints and becoming distracted within those time constraints. I think the key to this idea is using small enough increments of time that you do not find yourself day-dreaming or checking Facebook. Ten minutes is a great period of time to use, for certain.
Read out loud
As much as I believe reading out loud has its benefits, and as much as I understand the science and psychology behind it, this technique has never worked for me, and I doubt it ever will. I do think it is good to read out loud in order to uncover devices used by the author that one might have missed reading in their head (example: alliteration, assonance, etc.); however, for me personally, it is difficult to stay focused as I hear my own voice, and also not to get caught up on the theatrics of what I am reading (I blame drama!).
Overall, I found these techniques to be very beneficial to consider, and would like to try implementing them in some of my daily work, be it homework or otherwise.