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How to read more effectively

Image credit: Sarah Richter from Pixabay

1 Read in short bursts

Read in 20-minute bursts, taking notes so you can refer to useful material later. Set an alarm so you don’t run over. Then take a 10-minute break. Get up, move around, stretch, make a drink. It’s important you don’t dive straight into emails or social media. This isn’t time to do something else. It’s the space you need to process what you have read, to let it settle. In this ‘incubation time’, you begin to form a response.

2 Write freely

When you come back to your desk, set a timer for 10 minutes. Write freely to explore your response. You might set yourself a little prompt to get you started, such as ‘How does what I have read inform my thinking on this subject?’ or ‘In what ways do I agree or disagree with what I have read?’

3 Repeat

Now you have a record of what you have read and how you responded to it. This will save you time when you come to use the source in your assignment. When you finish your 40-minute session, select another section of text and start the process again. Always take a longer break after three rounds.

Anna Barker
25 March 2021

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