Reading is an essential part of learning, and if you’re critical reading techniques are not refined, you’ll find that learning is harder than necessary. You need to learn to read efficiently, and if you’re not actively engaged in the material that you’re reading, there is a good chance that you’ll quickly forget everything you’ve just read.

A lot of reading is required in any online course that you take.

Speedy and efficient reading will be required when time is scarce, and fitting in reading takes a backseat to other life responsibilities. The goal of every critical reading session should be to become more efficient, and process information faster and with more precision.

How do you learn to read efficiently and become actively engaged?

1.    Find Your Place

You need to find your place. This is a place where you can sit back, read and ignore the world around you. For some people, this place is on a fire escape overlooking the hustle and bustle of a city, but other people choose a place right in their home.

There isn’t a right or wrong place.

But there is one key thing that needs to be present: a lack of disruption and interruption. If you can find a well-lit area where you’re able to read for 15 – 20 minute chunks, this is a good place for you.

2.    Study in Chunks

scheduleMost people can only study for a short period of time. A 15 – 20-minute attention span is the norm when someone is trying to study. And if you go over this limit, you may find that you remember less and understand even less.

The brain has a way of wondering after 20 minutes or critical reading.

A good method to follow is to read in chunks and carry out other tasks after your chunk has ended. So, you may read for 20 minutes followed by revising your notes or overlooking study questions.

3.    Pause When Needed

Critical thinking and reading requires you to pause at certain times. These are times when you may not understand a point or idea, and this is when you should pause and try to grasp the topic fully before continuing.

If you don’t pause, you’re rushing through the material, which will lead to less retention.

When needed, you’ll want to meet with classmates, join forums or self-help groups to be able to determine the answers to these material-related problems. Through help and a community, you’ll be able to retain information in a more efficient manner.