How To Understand What You Read? with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

Reading is one of the main methods we use to acquire knowledge. Every day we read so many different things: posters, banners, signs, notices, web pages, social media posts, text messages, novels, poems, etc. Sometimes we use our reading skills even without thinking. For example, we do not consciously make an effort to read a poster or text message that your phone receives. But, you are able to understand the information presented in these texts. However, there are also times when you have finished reading a book but have no idea what you are reading. Read this article to learn how to avoid this inconvenience and to learn to understand what you read.  

How to understand what you read

Before reading:                                     How To Understand What You Read

  1. Understand what kind of book you are reading

Before you start reading the book, take some time to understand what kind of book it is. It’s a novel? Text book? or a religious book? If it is a textbook, it is also helpful to know what field it belongs to (science, philosophy, finance, etc.). You can find out this information by scanning the cover of the book. Having some knowledge of the subject always helps.

Take a look at the format of the book below. Is there a summary? How many chapters does it have? If you are looking for information, you can scan the content page and select the specific chapter that contains the specific information you want.

  1. Know what your goal is

Before reading, you should always have a clear idea of ​​why you are reading the book. Are you reading it for pleasure, to study, or just to get an idea on a new concept?

Knowing your purpose will give you a goal or focus. This will also help you decide which strategy you need to use. For example, if you are reading for pleasure, there is no need to take notes.

Reading during:

  1. Read more than once

First, you can flip through the article to get a general idea about the content. Write down the words, phrases, and sentences that you don’t understand. Once you’ve gotten a general idea about the text, find the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases. Then you can read the text again, more slowly and carefully.

  1. Break up long sentences and rearrange

Sometimes you will find long sentences that don’t make sense. Even if you understand all the words in sentences, it may be difficult for you to understand what they mean. In such cases, you can carefully divide the long sentence into shorter ones.

  1. Read out loud

Some readers find it easier to focus when they read the words aloud. This will help you read at a steady pace. This can also prevent sliding too fast. Reading text can also make a text more dramatic, especially if you find it boring.  

  1. Mark the text

Don’t be afraid to highlight main concepts and ideas or underline interesting concepts. (unless you are using someone else’s book). You can also write questions in the margins.

But don’t underline or highlight random passages because you think they are important. This will make your reading more difficult.

  1. Make annotations

Taking notes is the best way to ensure that you understand the text correctly. You can write a short summary at the end of each section. If you find the book too difficult, write a few summary sentences at the bottom of each page. This will help you focus more attention. You can also go back to the pages you have read to remember what you have read so far.

After reading:

8. Summarize 

After you have finished reading the text, you can make a short summary of the entire text. The chapter summaries and page summaries you made earlier will make this easier. 

9. Review

You can also write a review of the book you have read. If the book was fiction, you can comment on the plot, characterization, literary devices, etc. You can also write what you liked and what you didn’t like. If you read an academic text (textbook, research article, article, etc.) you can criticize the theories, the methodology that has been used. This will improve your critical thinking skills. 


Reading is never easy; It always requires careful attention and concentration. Reviewing a text just for the sake of reading it will never help you understand a text correctly and learn any new information. Following the steps mentioned above will help you understand what you read correctly.

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