Sherlock Holmes Meets the Textbook!
What would you do if I said I had an incredibly new and different twist on reading that shaved hours off your study time and gave you options to pursue what you wanted to do? Right, I thought so – you’d ask me to teach you! Okay, let’s do it! Linear reading has its place, but not for the accelerated student. The accelerated student wants to tackle the assignment with a game plan – get in and get out as quickly as possible with the highest level of retention.
I had the privilege of working with a student in my home on Saturday morning. This young lady was smart, articulate, and struggling. She was not struggling academically; she was having difficulty learning the material in the way she was asked to because it bored her into daydreaming. You know the feeling, meaninglessly outlining a chapter because that is the assignment and the whole time you are thinking about what’s for dinner.
Well, lucky for her and now you, I had a solution. We discussed the idea of reading with a purpose. We explored the concept of understanding what the author felt was important and how he told his readers. We even, shush – don’t tell your teacher – looked at the back of the chapter and read the questions BEFORE we started to read the chapter. So, what do you think happened? That’s right, she engaged because she now knew what she was looking for. She had a purpose.
Sherlock Holmes taught us to think like a detective. Now I want you to read like one. Look for clues from the author, bold words, italics, pictures, graphs, etc. These aren’t just there to break up the words; the author chose them specifically to help you better understand the information he was trying to share with you. It is like he is saying, “Pay attention, this is important!” We all know a picture says a 1000 words, so don’t make the mistake I did growing up and ignore the pictures. They have a lot of valuable information to offer.
Next, pull out your magnifying glass. Oh just kidding, you can read normally. Seriously, start to find the answers to the questions at the end of the chapter. Again, that is the take away the author wants you to walk away with. It is so important to him that he has left clues for you. Uncover the clues and presto – you understand the information! What could be easier? As you work through this process you will quickly engage with the author and start to understand him and what he deems important. Of course, we all know that when you understand a concept you own it, and poof – the highest level of retention.