Imagine for a movement that from now on, all of the information from every single thing you read, every single book you studied was completely accessible from your mind – all with a few simple reading comprehension games.
What kinds of things do you think you’d be able to do? How much easier would it be to ace tests, to write papers, to pump out articles, or to build a business?
It’s not a pipe dream – it’s a very real possibility and thousands of people around the world are proving it every single day.
The Difficulties of Reading Comprehension in Today’s World
We grow more and more connected every single day – whether it’s through email or texting, forums and social networks, or just the constant bombardment of media that we slog through every single day. And it’s having a very real and very measurable impact on our comprehension – our minds just weren’t built to handle all of this information at once.
But the human mind is a beautiful thing, and its ability to constantly adapt is incredible. We’ve been able to train ourselves subconsciously to filter out unimportant information before it even gets a chance to clog up our minds.
But we’re still bombarded with different information every single moment of the day, and it’s tough to disconnect. So when we finally do get down to reading something of importance, we feel the pull of other things soaking into our minds, clouding our focus. Sometimes this distraction builds and builds until we’re consumed with taking care of whatever is sucking our focus, and by the time that’s done and we get back to studying, we’ve lost a good amount of the information we we’re just studying. So we either go back through the material and re-read what we’ve been through, or we slog on vowing to never get distracted again – knowing full well it’s going to happen.
Playing Mind Games
As I mentioned before, the mind has an ability to automatically buffer out unimportant information that’s very powerful. And one of the best ways to trigger that response against unwanted distractions while trying to read is to trick the mind into believing that what you’re doing while reading is absolutely critical – but to do so you’ve got to keep the mind engaged, which is no easy task.
Professionals and brilliant minds the world over have been studying and apply different tricks and tactics with varying degrees of success, but one of the most beneficial ways to keep your mind engaged while you read is to boost it with games.
The underlying strategy is that your mind likes to wander when you’re not actively using it, like when your body is at rest and you’re reading something. Your mind takes this position to mean that you’re not doing anything essential, and so it shifts to scan for something of importance to do. This is why we find that those gigantic interruptions usually stem from a tiny little almost insignificant thought.
To combat that wandering and scanning we have to get our minds fully engaged when we read, and there is nothing better than playing games immediately before or immediately after we’ve finished our passage. Here’s one to play right before you start reading.
Essential Questions Mind Game
The reason behind setting up a mind game before you being reading is so that you unlock all of the power in your brain to really get her cranking. You want to make sure that you’re brain is on the hunt for the information that you need, and isn’t going to wander off while you’re trying to study.
One of the best ways to do this is to play Essential Questions.
Basically what you’re going to want to do is read the back cover of the book (or wherever the book summary is located) and maybe a blurb or two about it online. Then you’re going to want to grab a piece of paper and a pen and crank out as many questions about the information as you can. Shoot for 100 or so, and while you’ll probably start to drag around 60, push for the full 100 as those will most likely be the best questions. Don’t worry about repeating yourself, just hammer them out.
Next do a quick review of the questions, and it’s even better if you can go through it twice or three times. If you really want to super charge your comprehension, star a couple of the most important questions and say them aloud a few times.
Now begin reading your material. You’ll find that as you go through the book your mind is subconsciously hunting for the answers to your questions – the brain hates leaving things incomplete.
But Essential Questions is just one way to really blast your reading comprehension thorough the roof. There a many other ways, some you can create on your own, and some reading comprehension games that you can learn from other sources. If you’re serious about really nailing a subject, or have found that your mind drifts too much while reading, try a couple reading comprehension games and see how you like it!