By TERRY SMALL
It’s hard to find time to read. Everyone’s busy! A recent poll determined that the No.1 cause of stress today is lack of time. Another poll found that 59% of North Americans fail to read a single book in a year. That’s too bad. Reading is good for your brain. In fact, exposing your brain to a constant flow of new ideas may be necessary to protect your brain from degenerative diseases. At the very least, when you read, you get to learn and think a lot – also very good for your brain.
In the last Brain Bulletin, I suggested that you read the first sentence of each paragraph to prepare your brain to read with enhanced comprehension (non-fiction material). Similar to having blueprints BEFORE you construct a building.
This is a pre-reading activity. Although, you may read the first sentence of each paragraph and decide that you don’t need or want to read the material, in which case, you have saved yourself a lot of time!
Here’s a great technique to use when you cannot or do not want to read a book word for word. Read the first and the LAST sentence of each paragraph only. The first sentence contains the main idea. The last sentence contains the summary or linking thought to the next paragraph. There are books in my library that I have never read cover to cover or word for word. And you’re thinking, “Well Terry, you missed a lot.” True.
But not as much as you because you didn’t read it at all! You simply cannot read every book you want in its entirety. There are too many books! If you can read every book you want, you may want to make your reading list longer. Master learners should have many ways to tackle books.
Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, some chewed, and others to be swallowed and digested.”
Try it right now. Grab a book and turn to a chapter that you have not yet read. Quickly read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. You’re in for a surprise!
This is also a great review technique for students. After you have read a chapter, come back to it in a couple of days and read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. This will help keep the ideas in your long-term memory.
In the next bulletin you will learn why laughter is so good for your brain.