The ability to focus on text is vital to reading comprehension. Studying for tests, reading for information, or researching for your job are all situations that require efficient reading. If you find yourself reading the same passage again and again by accident or if you read and then cannot recall the material that you just covered, you may need to improve your ability to pay attention to what you read. There are a number of strategies that will improve your focus on reading.
Tip #1: Use Your Hand to Guide Your Eyes While Reading
Your eyes are naturally attracted to motion. And if you use your hand to create motion on the page, your eyes will naturally follow.
Try using your hand (or a pen) and going smoothly from left to right. Adjust your speed to make sure you aren’t going too slow or too fast.
If it feels uncomfortable at first, this is only because you aren’t used to reading with your hand. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel.
Tip #2: Eliminate Distractions
If you find yourself easily distracted when you read, then you need to figure which distractions can be eliminated. There will always be distractions out of your control, but we’re more concerned with distractions that are in your control.
For example, if your phone starts ringing while you’re reading, this is a distraction that is in your control and you can eliminate it. Just turn your phone off for the time that you’ll be reading.
If you have the constant urge to check your email or facebook while you read, then try turning your computer off while you read.
If you are constantly interrupted by other people, then you may want to try reading in a different location.
These are all distractions that can be controlled. And if they can be controlled, we should eliminate them to achieve a higher level of focus while reading.
Tip #3: Listen to Music While You Read
Have you ever tried listening to music while you read? It’s a great way to help you concentrate on a task, particularly reading.
Although it does depend on the type of music you are listening. Typically, classical music is ideal for help you focus while you read. Try to make sure the music is instrumental (without lyrics).
Tip #4: Take Breaks
If you have to read for an hour or more, then you should definitely make sure you factor in some breaks. Your break doesn’t have to be very long. It can be a quick 30 seconds if you want.
Taking a quick break from reading will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. You can use to the break to take notes if you want, or just to simply look away from the page.
Once you start reading again, you’ll feel refreshed because it will feel like you just started reading. Try reading in 10-15 minute spurts with quick breaks in between. You’ll notice a higher level of focus then if you just tried reading for an hour straight with no breaks.
As simple as these tips might sound, they can make the world of difference for positively impacting your ability to focus while reading. Practicing these tips will not only improve your reading, they will also help you build better focus involving other areas of your life. Implement these tips regularly to begin forming the habit of improved focus, and you will then be able to comprehend and retain the information you are reading a lot better.