As an English major and book enthusiast the way I read and the conditions that I read in are crucial to my success as a student and as a future author. Learning your habits and preferences help you not only focus on what you’re reading, but also allows you to enjoy it. I’ll be giving tips specifically on how to read challenging texts and novels for class, but these could also apply to reading for fun, too!
Personally, I can’t read critically with other people in the room. I’m one of those people that is thrown off simply by someone’s presence in a room. That being said, if I know I need to do some heavy reading I set up camp in a study room or library cubicle. If you’re like me, or if you’re starting to learn how to read critically, finding a quiet place to read is necessary. You won’t be able to analyze texts when your roommate is talking on the phone, or if you’re in a study group with your friends.
Another reading habit of mine is annotations. I furiously annotate the books I have to read for class, and I find that if I tab pages and write notes in the margins I’ll understand the material/story better. I know that the thought of writing in books is repulsive to some, and I only do this to school books – my non-academic library is pristine, but if you want to major in any liberal arts field you have to get over it. For those who are lost when reading primary sources or Shakespearean sonnets, I highly recommend purchasing some colorful tabs and pens and marking the heck out of that piece of literature. Post-It notes can also be used if you’re renting the book!
One of my weirdest reading habits is that I have to lay down while reading. I hate reading in a chair or at a desk, and I find that I read better if I have a comfy couch or bed to read on. Since I’m really tall (I guess 5’10” is tall) it’s difficult for me to get comfortable in a chair because I don’t know what to do with my legs! So laying down is the best option for me because it’s tall-person friendly and super cozy. This habit could differ from person to person, but the main idea of this tip is that you should be comfortable. I understand the struggle of finding a comfortable reading position, but it’s easier to read while in sweats under a warm blanket than in a dress at a desk.
At the end of the day where you read, how you read, and what you read is completely up to you. You can read in a prom dress in a limo if that’s what makes you comfortable. These are only my personal reading habits and how I figured out how to read critically because of them. I hope that this was helpful, and I’ll be posting a review of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake soon!
Follow me on my social media to keep up with my book goals or to see what I’m up to!