There is a right way to read a book for pleasure, and a right way to read a book for learning. You can read a book for pleasure one time through and be just fine. You’ll get all you need out of that one reading—which is pleasure.
However, it is harmful to assume that you should approach academic reading the same way. In order to read and comprehend a book or article for school, you need to be much more intentional and strategic. That is, if you want to earn a good grade!
Understand genres and themes.
In most reading tests, the student is asked to read a passage and predict what might happen next. Prediction is a common reading comprehension strategy. The purpose for this strategy is to make sure you’re able to infer information from the clues in the text.
It is important to know something about the type of text you're reading, whether it is a nonfiction or a work of fiction. Understanding the genre of a book helps you make predictions about the action--which helps you comprehend the action.
Read with tools.
Any time you read to learn (and not for pleasure), you should use active reading skills. There are good tools to use as you read, and there are tools that are not so good to use.
A pencil is a good tool. You can use a pencil to make annotations in the margins of your text without doing any permanent damage to the text.
Another good tool is a pack of sticky notes. Use your notes to jot down thoughts, impressions, predictions, and questions as you read.
A highlighter, on the other hand, can be a really bad tool. Not only do you create some serious damage when you highlight a book, you also give yourself the false impression that you have accomplished anything significant by doing so.
The only thing you accomplish by highlighting is marking passages that you may want to read again. But if a passage impresses you enough to highlight it, you must indicate why it impresses you. Otherwise, you will go back to read isolated sentences and try to remember why they were important.
Work the vocabulary skills.
It's a no-brainer that you should take the time to identify and look up new and unfamiliar words as you read. But it's important to make a log book of those new words, and revisit them long after you've finished reading that book.
The more we study a subject, the more it sinks in. Be sure to keep a log book of new words and visit it often!
Analyze the title (and subtitles).
The title is often the last thing to be adjusted once a writer has finished writing.Writers edit the text and identify themes, make predictions, and make notations galore.
Many writers are surprised by the twists and turns that come from the creative process.
This is why, once a text is completed, the writer may reflect on the true message or purpose as a final step and come up with a new title. This means you can use the title as a clue to help you understand the message or purpose of your text.