Sometimes even the most dedicated readers can find a book difficult to follow. Whether it is a text for school or for a book club, or something that you found and sounded more interesting than it is, you may review some chapters (or a few pages) and realize that it is not of your pleasantless. However, it is important to finish books, even those you don't enjoy, as they can offer knowledge, an escape route, or just a pleasant afternoon. Read on and find a way to stay focused and engaged until the book is finished. You will undoubtedly be glad you did!
Part 1 of 3: Staying Motivated and Focused on the Book
Step 1. Create well-defined goals for reading
Establishing clear and well-defined objectives increases the possibility of being successful with practically any endeavor. When reading, you may not be clear about what your goals are. However, you can easily create them on the go.
- If you have to read a book for class, the teacher may have assigned a number of pages or chapters that you should cover. This will allow you to have a clear ending in sight.
- In case of reading for pleasure and encountering difficulties, set daily reading goals. You can choose a certain number of pages or chapters and stay motivated by remembering that you will only read one part of the book per day.
- Challenge yourself to learn something new from the text. Reading allows you to acquire great knowledge, regardless of the type of text, be it fiction, non-fiction or historical (even the most boring).
Step 2. Divide the reading into more manageable chunks
Hard-to-follow books can seem more overwhelming when looking at a book as a single piece of literature with hundreds of pages. Instead of trying to cover the book from cover to cover, break your goals down into smaller sections, such as a few chapters per day. As you progress through the daily sections, take breaks between chapters to clear your mind and rest your eyes before continuing.
- Take breaks during reading sessions to stay focused. However, be sure to decide in advance how many breaks to take and how often.
- Don't take breaks every time you feel like it. Challenge yourself to meet a set goal (such as the end of a long chapter, or after completing two relatively short chapters).
- Place a bookmark at the end of each group of chapters. This way, you'll be able to see the end point as you turn each page, and you'll be more motivated to read everything else.
Step 3. Reduce or eliminate distractions
A boring book could make you tempted to pick up your cell phone, check social media, or watch TV. However, dividing your concentration will only make it more difficult for you to retake your reading. Instead of giving in to temptation, force yourself to continue without distraction until you meet your daily goal.
- Find a quiet place where no one will bother you, if possible.
- Turn off or silence your cell phone. Keep the TV off and stay away from the computer or tablet.
- If you don't have a quiet place or you like to read on the bus, wear headphones during reading sessions.
- You can use earplugs to reduce noise or use headphones and listen to something that blocks sounds without being distracting. The best option is usually instrumental music. Try a lively beat, like jazz or some classical music composers.
Step 4. Approach the text with a clear mind
Sometimes a boring book can seem much more boring if you are tired, distracted, or unfocused. So get in the right mindset before picking up a book. In this way, you will reduce the chances of losing interest or looking for reasons to abandon reading for the rest of the day.
- Try to read at the times when you are most awake. Reading a boring book while sleepy on the couch won't help you much.
- Sometimes writing things down will allow you to clear your mind and eliminate distractions. Try to do this first before starting your daily reading session.
- Take a deep breath before you begin. For many people, this exercise has a calming effect that allows them to clear their minds.
Part 2 of 3: Engaging with the text
Step 1. Make annotations in the margins, and underline or highlight the information
Underlining or highlighting snippets is a great way to engage with the text and find a place for reference that you can return to in the future. Writing the margins with annotations, questions or observations is another good strategy to stay engaged with the text, since it will force you to ask yourself questions related to the text and look for relevant passages. Some things you can observe as you read include:
- definitions or relevant terms (especially those you don't know)
- methods and results (for textbooks)
- cause and effect relationships
- references to previous materials that may contain important concepts
Step 2. Summarize the material and write it in your own words
Another good learning tool to keep you focused is to extract important material from a text and write it in your own words. This will force you to pay special attention and process what you read, instead of flipping through the pages.
- Active reading requires extracting and gathering related pieces of information from the text. In this way, you may discover that a fragment in the middle or end of the book is directly related to a previous section in a way that you may not have noticed before.
- During the reading, paraphrase the complex passages in your own words. This technique has been shown to help students retain information better.
Step 3. Force yourself to answer and develop integrative questions
In addition to summarizing the material, it is important that you make a conscious effort to ask questions related to the text. Then try to find the answer by reading ahead or quickly referring to previous pages or chapters (in which case underlining, highlighting, and jotting down information will be very helpful).
- Decipher the message the author wants to convey in each chapter. How is the chapter self-contained and how does it fit into the larger context of the book's purpose?
- How do you build each chapter you read on the basis of the previous chapter? Is there a relationship between the two or do they seem to be completely disconnected? Was it a voluntary choice of the author?
- Ask yourself if you can learn anything from the text. Surely, the answer is yes. The goal is to determine what you can learn.
- Ask yourself questions about fragments or sections that are complex or confusing. Try to answer these questions before moving on, either by reflecting on the material you've finished reading or by reviewing the underlined or annotated sections from other earlier parts of the book.
Part 3 of 3: Finding Reasons to Keep Reading
Step 1. Understand that there is always a reward
No matter how boring a book may seem at the moment, there will always be something worth reading for. Remember that any published text has been deemed important, interesting, and well written by someone who publishes books in a professional manner. So if you haven't discovered the reward yet, you will soon find it.
- At one point or another, you will find the value of the book. This may not happen before the end or near the end, but there is always something that adds value to a book.
- Whether it's the excitement you feel when the action is finally resolved, the knowledge you'll gain through reading, or the understanding that the book is about a much deeper topic than it seemed, you can undoubtedly get something positive out of the book by finish it.
- If you don't finish the book, you will never understand why people consider it a classic.
Step 2. Think how much money you will lose if you don't finish it
Not finishing a book is actually a waste of money. It may not be a problem to borrow the book from a friend or a library, but if you bought it, you will lose the benefits of the investment.
- If you bought the book, you may have invested $ 10 or $ 20, maybe even more if it has a hardcover.
- If you've only read the first few chapters of the book, you've really lost most of the money you've invested.
- Consider the book as another form of entertainment. You wouldn't buy tickets to a play or sports game and leave 10 minutes early, so why do the equivalent with a book?
- As much as it is not a waste of money and you have to read for school, think about the consequences on your grades for not reading the book.
Step 3. Learn dedication as a life skill
Reading a boring book has its rewards, which extend beyond the satisfaction of finishing it. Think of it as a form of adult training and the exercise of maturity or self-discipline.
- Consider finishing a boring book as a training for life.
- At certain times in life, you will have to do things that you don't enjoy.
- If an employee decides they don't feel like completing their job duties, they may be fired quickly.
- If you miss school assignments, your grades will suffer.
Step 4. Compose yourself once you finish the book
If you really have a hard time finishing a book, try to give yourself a tangible incentive. Reward yourself with something you like at the end or avoid something you want until the book is complete.
- Having an eye-catching reward could be the "carrot on the stick" you need to keep working until you get to the end.
- You may decide that at the end of the book, you will treat yourself to a delicious dinner, ice cream, or a good bottle of wine (if you are of legal drinking age).
- You can also avoid certain sweets or unnecessary benefits until finished. For example, you may decide not to have dessert until the book is finished.
- Have food, water, and snacks on hand so you don't have to get up and get distracted once you've started reading.
- If you can't get rid of everything that distracts you from reading, create a "study schedule" so that everything is quiet, at least in your bedroom or the place where you usually study. Tell your family members or roommates that you have to study so they don't interrupt you at this time.
- Give the book a try. You may end up enjoying it!
- Don't put off reading. In the case of reading for school or a book club, procrastinating what you need to do will only cause you to have to read more pages in a single session later.
- There are some study guide sites on the internet that will help you understand what you read, but don't use them instead of reading the book. You won't get as much information from using these summaries, so you should only use them to understand the confusing parts of a book.