How to Read a Book Effectively in just 5 steps 

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Helena Daily English
Helena Daily English
One of the best ways to improve communication skills is to become familiar with the language by reading, building vocabulary, and discussing what you study in daily conversations. Helena Daily English blog provides the Daily English knowledge that you can study and then try to apply in everyday situations

Hi everyone

Today, I would like to share with you “How to Read a Book Effectively in just 5 steps” 

All of us know that Reading an English book can bring a great benefit to your comprehension skill. However, keeping reading that book without giving it up is such a challenge. How many of you used to be excited to buy an English book with the thought: “Wow, I will finish it in one week, I will write down all the new works. My English will improve a lot”.

10% of those people can follow their plan, the others, 90% of people will forget the book after reading one-third or even just after 5 pages. If you are one of the 90% of people I mention, this article is for you. In this article, I will show you 5 steps to read a book effectively.

  • Step 1: Choose the right material
  • Step 2: Preparation
  • Step 3: Read and take note
  • Step 4: Find the confirmation
  • Step 5: Retell the story

Now, let’s begin with step 1

Step 1: Choose the right material

First of all, you have to choose the right material. The books you choose must:

  • Have the subject that you are interested in (most important)
  • Have the same level as your reading ability

Choose the subject you like because it will make your reading effortless. Reading about things you like will help you to have more motivation.

Let’s imagine, if you don’t like history, but have to try to read a book full of historical facts. You will get bored and also give up quickly. You can read manga in English if you like comics. If you like romance, there are many good English novels for you.

You can even read the Harry Potter series if you want. Don’t try to force yourself to read academic books if you’re not interested in them.

Next, make sure that the book you choose is not too difficult for you. A book with too many words new to you will also discourage you from reading. To see if the difficulty of the book is suitable, please read the first 2 pages of the book and you will have the answer immediately.

That is the first step in how to read a book more effectively. Let’s move to step 2

Step 2: Preparation

Don’t get me wrong. You do not need to prepare too many things when reading English books. All you need is a dictionary and a pencil. I often use online dictionaries to make it easier to look up.

The second thing to prepare is your reading goal. A very common mistake is that we set our goals too high, for example: “I will spend only 1 week or 3 days to finish this book”. When the target is too high, your brain will react by not doing anything to avoid failure. Set goals that are close to your ability. You can even set a goal to read just two pages per day for 10 minutes. Remember, it is persistence that determines whether you make progress or not.

Remember: If you have no goals you will never get them

Step 3: Read and take note

You will read and write down the meanings of new words right into the book you read. However, don’t try to remember the meaning of every new word you come across. If that word is repeated in the book enough times, you will automatically memorize it without effort.

In fact, our brains learn by repetition, by rules as I mentioned in the article “How to improve English Reading skills by reading the bilingual book

When reading a book, some of you will prepare a notebook to write down the words in the book for further review. However, I do not advise you to do so. As I said, if you want to keep yourself consistent when doing anything, you need to make it as simple as possible. If reading takes too much effort like taking notes of new words and trying to review them, it will be less likely that you will maintain your reading.

I will just use a single pencil to write down the meaning of the word right in the book, next to the word I haven’t known the meaning of. Remembering it or not will depend on how often the word appears. If the word appears enough times, your brain will automatically remember it without you having to work too hard. You can remember the meaning of the word if it is repeated at least 5 times.

Step 4: Find the confirmation.

This step is quite optional. You can do it or skip it. In fact, when you read a book, there will be times when you feel like you don’t really understand this part of this word. There are two ways you find yourself in this situation.

The first way, you find the translation of the book you are reading. This is not too difficult if you use google. For example, I read Harry Potter in English. If I were Chinese I would search for the “Harry Potter Chinese version“, and you would find a lot of translations. Famous books and novels will be translated into many different languages ​​around the world.

Me, when I apply it this way, I can tweak it a little bit. I don’t start reading English right away. I will read a short paragraph of about 2-3 sentences in my first language first. After reading, I will try to memorize the content of that sentence before reading the English version. The feeling of reading until you understand it will really be very satisfying.

The second way is, Skip it. You guys just forget about it and don’t worry too much about that part. I believe that if you do well in step 1, choosing the right book for your level, encountering such passages will be infrequent. You can still understand the meaning of the story normally.

Step 5. Retell the story

Another thing I recommend you do is retell and paraphrase what you have just read. If you feel this is a waste of time, it is completely optional. However, this is a way that will help us make the most of the book. After about two pages or so, or after each important episode, I’ll stop for a moment and try to retell what I’ve just read. Or if you want to make it simpler, you can visualize those details in English.

You can refer to the method “IMITATION” that I share in this post “Easy tips for improving your English speaking skill”. It will help you how to retell in a creative way.

And I have shared with you in this article “101 Short Stories for learning English“. You should take a look at and find a suitable story for your interest and level

I have just shared with you how I read a book effectively including 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Choose the right material
  • Step 2: Preparation
  • Step 3: Read and take note
  • Step 4: Find the confirmation
  • Step 5: Retell the story

You can refer to the method that I give, from which you can draw your own way of learning. I believe that your reading of English books will be easier. Let me know if you find it effective in your comment. I will see you in the next lesson.


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