Reading is a fundamental skill for acquiring information and knowledge.

But reading and comprehension, key tools for cognitive development and academic success, are not natural skills.

Stumbling over words, have to read and reread sections multiple times, or feeling like you are missing key words, can sour you to reading.

But it doesn't have to!

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Redefine Efficiency

How quickly you finish reading a page is not the best metric to evaluate reading efficiency.

Reading efficiently is about understanding and digesting information without having to re-read repeatedly. It's connected to the process between understanding and reflection.

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Understanding: What's the author's message?

Efficient readers should be able to answer who, what, where, when, why, and how about an article without without going back read it over and over.

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Reflection: What does the author's message mean to me?

Efficient readers are able to picture, compare, and mind map what has been read. They reflect on the article's significance in terms of real-life scenarios and their personal experience.

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Internalize Sq3r

Reading and comprehension are not natural reactions, so you need to apply some strategies to hone this learned skill.

Use the SQRRR approach (also known as SQ3R) to become a more efficient reader.

SQRRR the steps that engage readers in active reading.

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Survey: Outline what you are reading and build a framework through the title, introduction, headings/subheadings, visual illustrations, and summary. No need to dig into every details in this step.

Question: When you get a rough idea of what the article is about, note down the things you're curious about and formulate questions you want to explore. Questions are the key to active reading.

Read: Keep your questions in mind and read in detail to find the answer. If this triggers more questions, make note of them. It's possible that you won't find answers to every question. Don't get stuck on one section and keep the flow moving forward.

Recite: Use your own words to restate the information you gathered in an explanatory way, like you were presenting to others.

Review: Reflect on the significance of the article in terms of the real world and your own experience.

Apply SQ3R every time you read until it becomes natural. You'll remember more and find that the process gets faster!


When Tom found an article about the "Clothing in Tropic Climates," he came up with some questions before digging into the content. How do these questions help Tom improve reading efficiency?

Take Action

Efficient readers can do more than just remember information, they can apply it.

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Pick an article you find challenging, and try applying the SQ3R steps today!


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