Other Bookish Stuff

The Survival Guide To Required Reading!

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m here with a kind of discussion post that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now. Since it’s the start of a new school year for me right now I’ve had to read a few books for some of my classes. These books are definitely not ones I would have picked up myself which made reading them really difficult. So today I wanted to discuss my general thoughts on required reading especially for school and some tips I want to share on how to push through reading them. Let’s get into it then!

Let’s face it, being forced to read books you wouldn’t normally, sucks… Having to push through each page, wasting precious time you could be spending reading better books is one of the worst bookish situations you can find yourself in. Normally I try to have a positive attitude when starting books, even though they don’t sound terribly appealing to me. I mean, for all I know it could end up being my next favourite book. Personally, I think this is a great way to go into any book but of course you have to be prepared for the disappointment, which I’ve been finding out a lot over the books I’ve read recently for school.

One issue I have with required reading is that often teacher’s seem to pick the longest/hardest to read books. These books are most likely chosen because they have a lot of information in them that can be unpacked over a period of time during classes, which I totally understand. On the other hand though I feel like this is the main reason why a large amount of students choose not to read for entertainment. I’m sure for a lot of people, especially younger ones, who continuously study dense books; they’ll start to think of reading books as a difficult chore. I think this is the totally wrong approach teachers should be giving kids about books. I feel like perhaps one way this could be avoided is by instead of just studying large novels; this could be broken up with shorter or simpler novels. Even books that have relatable characters or themes would probably be more memorable and engaging for students.

That’s really all I had to say in general about required reading. I apologise for all the rambling. 😛 Now I would like to share some of the techniques I have learnt through my experience on how to get through your Required Reading list or really just read any book in general that you don’t necessarily want to.

1. Time Management

I would highly recommend setting a specific amount of time during the day which you can dedicate to solely reading. During this time, make sure you’re in a quiet space with no distractions and simply sit down and read! Base how much time you want to spend reading on what your reading pace is or how much of the book you want to read that day.

2. Set Goals

This can work with or without recommendation number 1 but maybe time management isn’t your strong point? Trust me, I feel you, it definitely isn’t my strong point either. Instead what I often do is set a goal for how many pages I want to read each day. Then during the day, whenever I have a free moment I’ll usually take out the book and try to read a few pages. Lots of people say that in order to have time to read you need to make time, with which I totally agree. While you may not have a long free period of time available for you to read in, most likely you have other times during the day in which reading could be a possibility. For example, recently I’ve been reading a lot while eating various meals during the day or while travelling or on public transport i.e. not actually driving myself. I found that I was actually able to get quite a lot of reading! Of course you also need to be 100% motivated for completing your goal so maybe set yourself some sort of treat or reward for once you do accomplish your goal.

3. The Internet is Your Friend

Do I really need to remind anyone? Just in case, please do remember that the Google is always there waiting to answer any possible question. While you may be reading a book that you’ve never heard of before, you’ll probably be surprised to see the amount of information available on it online. Now of course I’m not saying, don’t read the book at all. That is a big no, no especially if you’re going to be studying a book in-depth! I’m simply suggesting that if you get stuck on understanding a certain part of the book or just need an answer to a question, the internet is the way to go. Even if you can’t find any informative links, check out book reviews or even dare I say it, Wikipedia. Also don’t forget about the online bookish community, whether that may be a book blogger or booktuber. There is definitely a high chance that at least one person has done a review or discussed the book you’re trying to read!

4. Any Good Adaptations?

Again I’m not saying throw out the book and just watch the movie. But at the same time I think it’s silly of people to neglect adaptations. Even if an adaptation is not perfect, chances are it carries the central themes and messages of the novel which may be just what you need to help further understand it. I know personally, I wasn’t able to fully understand Pride and Prejudice after first reading it but once I watched the 2005 movie version everything started to become a whole lot clearer. Often movies can do an even better job at identifying themes since they are usually a lot clear and simple. Also don’t ignore other adaptations such as TV series, graphic novels or any other form of adaptation.

5. Stay Focused and Don’t Look Back!

What I discovered myself doing a lot while reading books for school is zoning out and then having to re-read up to entire pages trying to understand what’s going on. What I would recommend is trying to stay as focussed as possible and just keep moving forward. So, even if you have no idea what that last page was about, put in a sticky note or make a mental note and then just keep going. Chances are this section may make a bit more sense once you have finished the book or even once you start learning and studying it in class. Now this tip will also really work if you’re teacher is willing to answer people’s questions on the novel/ This is something my teacher usually does so I’ve been using this technique a lot recently. I found that overall I was able to read through chapters a whole lot quicker and get through the whole book faster and more efficiently.

6. Discuss. Discuss. Discuss.

Sometimes I feel like we forget that we have a whole class around us who are also forced to read the same book. I think this could be used to your advantage in a number of ways. First off, if you have any specific questions you are able to ask other members of your class. More likely then not, at least one person is sure to know the answer. IF not, then would probably be a good time to refer to tip number 3. Another thing you could do with your classmates is have general discussions on the book or of certain scenes. In theory this may sound quite technical or boring but it’s really as simple as maybe asking a question like ‘Who’s your favourite character?’ or ‘What was your favourite scene?’ Sometimes I find that hearing other people’s perspectives of a book can often help me understand the book more. Also discussions are really fun to be a part of and you kind of get to start your own mini book club!


7. Audiobooks for the win!

Sometimes it becomes just impossible to get fully into a book. In which case, audiobooks are definitely the way to go! Listening along to someone narrating a book can often be a lot easier to follow along and understand. Even better, audiobooks allow you to read while completing other tasks as well such as exercising, walking or driving. Audiobooks are also rarely expensive and if you are having trouble purchasing your own copy you can always try your local/school library or even an online library.

There are all the main tips I have for getting through required reading. Hopefully they will help you get through all the books you need to read as easily as possible. Let me know whether you use any of this tips already or what tips you use to get through required reading! Thanks for reading my discussion post today, I hope you enjoyed it. But until next time!

Gabby The Dauntless Warlock xx

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