What Is Intentional Reading and Why Should You Practice It?
Reading has a lot of meditative qualities to it. It gives you a break to learn a new subject or enjoy a piece of fiction and escape to another realm. Meditation is a learning activity where before you begin, you set intentions for yourself. These intentions help you to stay on track until your session is complete. After you walk away from your space, you get the satisfaction that you met your goal and can take the knowledge with you wherever life takes you. You should practice reading in the same way by setting an intention for your reading and answering the following questions will help.
What do I want to learn?
It seems like an easy enough question that you shouldn’t even have to ask yourself. If you are reading a financial document for work, you intend to learn about finances. You have assigned reading in your history book, so you intend to learn about history. These are the intensions given to you, not the ones you set for yourself. If the history book is talking about WWII, perhaps your intention could be more specific to the matter along the lines of finding out how children helped in the war efforts. Make an effort to go beyond the words on the page and seek to discover something that interests you.
Where will I find that information?
You now know what you’d like to learn, it is time to do some research as to where you will find that information. Using the same example above regarding WWII, search for clues within the text about families during wartime. It may be that the only information in the text you’ll find is about women working while their husbands were overseas. Now you can go on to find out how children kept busy with both parents out of the house. Any referenced articles or books you come across in a piece of text could lead you to your final answer. If all else fails, venture onto Google and see what information the world wide web has.
Where will I store notes?
Remember more of what you read by practicing good notetaking. Good notes help you to think critically about what you are reading and identify the main ideas of the text. Spiral notebooks are an age-old classic way to take notes. The problem becomes storing them in places that you’ll remember where they are. These days, you are better off taking notes digitally and creating a well-organized system in the cloud. You can also use apps like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote to store your notes. Other apps to consider depending on what field of study or industry you’re in include, Boostnote for developers or Milanote for designers and visual thinkers. Now you’ll be able to quickly go back to what you’ve learned and share your knowledge with others.
What will I do after I get this information?
Before you finalize your intention and get to reading, ask yourself what you’ll do with the information you’re set out to discover. Perhaps you’ll use it for a project at a later date or as a conversation starter. Think of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, who is always stating interesting facts (even when no one asks him to). Now that you’ll be using this new information, you’ll have even more motivation to understand it thoroughly. The dullest material you’re required to read takes on a new life when you set an intention for it.
Along with setting an intention for your reading, get the most out of your time with books by learning how to speed read. Speed reading gets you through the material quicker without sacrificing comprehension. As a bonus, your memory gets a good workout and becomes stronger. Learn more about the benefits of speed reading by taking our Speed Reading Foundation course. Click the link to learn more and sign up today!