Reading Tips

Questions to ask when evaluating your reading habits.

  • What types of books do I enjoy reading? fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry.   Genres – romance, mystery (I’m a mystery buff), biography, comedy, poetry, drama
  • How can I get the most out of a book?
  • How can I broaden my reading materials?
  • What to do when I come across a book that is difficult or above my reading level?

First of all, read for fun

Read widely. Expand your reading choices by reading something in another genre. For example, if you like reading only novels, once in a while choose a biography, perhaps about your favorite author or someone else you’re curious about. Choose a non-fiction book, short story, play, or poem. If you only like mysteries, try romance or fiction.

Some books have memorable characters, some memorable dialogue, striking settings, intriguing plot lines. I’ve even noted provocative ideas.

When I finish a book I really enjoyed, I write a book review for my own pleasure.  I write down the storyline, the author and sometimes the publisher and number of pages, and what I liked or disliked about the book.  Then I rate the books on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

Notes about structure of a novel, short story, and drama

  •  protagonist or main character who has a goal, whether it’s to be left alone, or accomplish something, to fall in love etc.
  • antagonist or the character who tries to keep the main character from reaching his or her goal.
  • conflict – simply put, every story has a problem that must be resolved. Resolving that conflict might pit one character against another, the character against himself or herself (inner conflict), the character against the society, or the character against nature.
  • plot – story movement
  • theme – takeaway, the author’s observation about life.
  • climax – high point
  • resolution – ending, the resolution of the conflict

Tips on how to read a book that is difficult, for example, a textbook or a book above your reading level.

  • Summarize what you’ve read when you come to the end of a chapter.
  • Separate the main idea of the chapter from the support ideas.(hint) main idea is  general whereas the supporting ideas are specific.
  • Make a list of words you come across, note the page and look up the definition later.

Try to put the definition into your own words. then whenever possible try to incorporate that word into your vocabulary. You’ll be surprised how much your vocabulary will grow.

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