READING VS. LOOKING – THE SALIENT SECRET!

Have you read severely with little or nothing to show for it? Are you now wondering whether reading is meant for you or just for some bright chaps out there? Have you once wondered like me, why some students always struggle with reading while few others unremittingly excel at it? If you are in this category, I sincerely bless God for you dear. At least you are able to recognize your job as a student. Some students are “ghost workers”! They fail to do their job as students forgetting that they are paid to be students! I will say it again: the primary job of the student is to study and make good grades. All others are secondary. Please dear friend, know that it is your responsibility to study as a student. You are paid to study as a student! It is your job. You should not be reminded or compelled or threatened or even supervised to do so. Most high-flying students know this and do it. Anytime you fail to do this job, you become a ghost worker; getting paid without doing your job.

I’d like to begin by saying that you have no problem dear friend. Now there are two sides to this matter; it is either that you didn’t read at all or that you actually assimilated what you read but it was very little. Now listen to this: reading is different from looking. You can look at your book without reading it, but you can’t read without assimilating something from all you have read. It is simply like eating, you can’t say you ate without swallowing something. And just like reading is different from looking, eating is also different from chewing. Here’s my clear argument: most times when students say they read without assimilating, they were only looking (chewing) and not reading (eating); for just as you can’t eat without swallowing; it is also not possible to read without assimilating. So I ask: were you reading or merely looking? To read, you have to look with your eyes and interpret with your mind. If your mind is absent in reading, you are just looking. Reading is a game of the mind; if your mind is not present you will lose the game.

At other times, you actually read and assimilated little owing to some factors I will briefly expose. The temptation is usually to conclude that you didn’t assimilate anything at all, than admitting that you assimilated very little. Now, there are certain factors that affect assimilation or impede understanding. When you know these factors and respect them, you may never complain of reading and not assimilating again. Here are some of them…

Environment. The place where you stay to read can pose a challenge to your understanding the material. Noisy, rowdy, stuffy and hot environments are not favourable for reading. Use places that are cool, well ventilated and quiet when you want to read. Most academic texts require a quiet place and a ‘friendly’ time to understand it well. The environment can either make or mar your reading. Always be mindful of the environment you stay to read so that you don’t waste your time unnecessarily.

Level of assimilation. Listen to this: every student has a peculiar level of assimilation depending on his I.Q, memory and reading duration. So you have a particular level of assimilation that determines how much you can understand after reading. Your level of assimilation can be poor, average or high. When it is poor, it will slow your rate of assimilation and make you understand so little after spending much time. Are you like this? Don’t worry so much! The good news is that it can increase. Your level of assimilation grows as your reading duration grows. Engage more in reading and it will increase. You can improve your level of assimilation by tasking your brain.

Content material. Every book you read has a content material. By content material, I mean “the kind, nature, level and quality of information available and accessible in a book”. The content material can be simple, technical, figurative or even esoteric. When the content material is not simple, it will take you more effort and concentration to be able to understand the text. That is not a problem, it’s only a principle. Some materials require patience and time to assimilate. Note: it is neither a curse nor a crime to read a book more than once! Most students think the other way. Some books may not be easily understood when you read it just for the first time. Be patient enough to read it again. It does not mean you are a dullard. Always find out the content material of the book you are reading…

State of your body. Another factor that affects your assimilation is your body condition. When your body is weak, over stressed or tired, your rate of assimilation will be greatly reduced. When you are hungry or feeling sleepy, in short whenever your body is not comfortable for reading, assimilation is jeopardized. Ensure that your body condition is normal and appropriate for reading. Ensure that your body is alert and active whenever you want to read. Try to do some exercise before you begin reading, especially in the midnight when you wake up to read or at evenings when you have grown weak by virtue of the day’s activities.

Memory. Your memory can also affect your assimilation when you read. There are two kinds of memory (long term and short term memories), and according to my personal classification, four types of memories (weak, normal, strong and super strong memories). Your ‘type’ of memory determines the rate of assimilation and the ‘kind’ of memory where it is sent to will determine how well you remember it after reading. How often you read the material determines the kind of memory where it enters. So let me ask you: when you complain that you easily forget after reading, like how many times do you read it and still forget? When your ‘type’ of memory is weak or normal, your assimilation process will be slow. So check your memory also. Memory can also be improved and upgraded as it is used frequently. Can give you more points on this later…

Timing: A lot of students are yet to understand and appreciate the place of timing in their reading. The truth is: not every time is a good time for reading. There is time for everything under the heavens says the Holy Writ. Every student has a time that is most suitable for reading and it varies from student to student. Identify your time and use it. When you study at the wrong time, you will assimilate very little. Know the time your brain is most active and ready for studies and use that period of the day. Have you not wondered why some students study only late at nights and still make excellent results? It’s because they have discovered themselves. You too must discover yourself academically!

Please permit me to stop here. But remember that your resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing! You can break free from all these reading limitations and soar high in your academics if you can become tenacious in your will to succeed. Those challenges will definitely bow when you persevere in your efforts. The test to reading and not understanding is to read more. You can never solve your reading challenges by avoiding or shying away from reading. Give yourself a little break and return again with greater zeal and passion to know.
Remember, it is an error to say that you read but did not understand anything at all, except you were only looking like me…

P:S. Do you think I have not addressed your personal challenge about reading in this article? The poke me and let’s get to business… You are the only one who can limit your academic greatness by your laziness and reluctance to reading. Let me help you break off…

Yours truly motivational,
The Academic Coach

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About Chizi Daniels

Best known for UNLEASHING geniuses, Chizi is fast becoming a wonder in the academic world. He is a coach and an academic consultant, reputed for his exploits in the intellectual world. He enjoys reading and writing, and over and above all, SPEAKING! Having raised and mentored excellent and outstanding students, his works now speak explicitly for him... To read his full profile, click on the PROFILE page in the 'menu' at the top.
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