Reading is a big component in the study of law. Developing a skill of effective reading will improve your learning and comprehension. Here are a few ideas you can start implementing right now to become a better reader.
- Do multiple short-session readings instead of a single word-by-word reading of the material. You can start with identifying the pattern of the text. Read the title, table of contents, introduction, headings and subheadings, conclusion, note the visuals. After this rapid read, you should be able to tell what the text is about and how it is structured. On your second read, focus on the main ideas and arguments and skip the minor details. During your subsequent reading sessions, go deeper into the text to extract the necessary level of detail till you have a good grasp of the material and are ready to integrate and implement it.
- Always formulate the purpose of your reading. What do you want to take away from the reading? Write down questions and problems that you think can be answered and solved once you read the text. Your purpose and questions may change as you progress in your reading sessions. Just thinks about it, in most real life situations, you will start off with a problem that you will need to solve through your research.
- Practice active reading. Make notes as you read, highlight the key points and trigger words, use color codes to categorize the information, tab the important pages. Incorporate the main ideas into outlines, mindmaps, flow charts, etc.
- Probe your understanding. Think critically, ask questions, note the logic behind the arguments, classify the information, connect the details to the big picture, compare it to what you already know. Test it with your own examples. Think of the ways to make the information more relevant to you personally.
- Take action. Use the knowledge you have acquired from the reading. Test it with flashcards, apply it to new situations, include it into your own analysis, experiment with it. Own it.
- When you read for review, skim the text for the key words to see if they trigger recall of the main ideas. Keep the big picture in your mind. Test yourself continuously with questions.
I hope you find these tips useful. For more suggestions, read How to Read and Digest a Book! by George Ambler.