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Reading Comprehension & Time Management Tips

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Strong reading comprehension skills are very important to time management--esoecially when reading on the web.  Did you know that people actually don’t read online, they just scan the page and focus on the words that jump out at them? I can speak from experience since even offline, I have a bad habit of scanning things and thinking since I read the first three lines I understand exactly what the author is trying to explain. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down, and really take my time to read something thoroughly. It turns out that that is how most people read on the web as well.

1. Reading Comprehension: Read It Twice

Read it through once to get the general gist of the article or email.  Read it through a second time to make sure you have the facts.  This may seem anti-efficient, but you’ll save time later on when you read and digest the salient facts on your 1st and 2nd reading rather than the 20th.

If you don't have time to read through twice, brush up on your note taking skills so once is enough.

2. Reading Comprehension: Highlight Key Phrases & Topics

Get old school and highlight the main points on your second read-though.  But use the Four & No More Rule: advises to Boston-based studies skills expert Michelle Sampson.  Over-highlighting may lead to more confusion, "I like to highlight, but I only allow myself to highlight up to 4 words at a time. If more than 4 words are important, I will also underline the sentence that contains the key phrase, otherwise I get too carried away (i.e. the highlighter's power is diminished if overused.) When more than 4 words are important, I also paraphrase the essence of the sentences in the margin or on a post it note," says Michelle.

3. Reading Comprehension: When In Doubt, Print It Out

No doubt about this one: through years of evolution, the human eye is conditioned to read print on paper, not print on a bright glowing screen. Again, be mindful that when you read something online you tend to scan.

TIP: I like to copy articles into Notepad to erase any wacky formatting, then into Word to print. I change everything to 12-point Times New Roman font and then number the pages for easier reading. And, I always, always print double-sided!

4. Reading Comprehension: Use Times New Roman Font

Times New Roman is the most reader-friendly format--it's universally recognized and your eyes are used to reading it regularly.

TIP: Your resume and any important correspondence is best-read in Time New Roman.

5. Reading Comprehension: Review & Ask Questions

Once I’ve printed something out to read, I fold the page lengthwise and jot down questions I have during my second reading in the margins of the opposite page. If my questions aren’t answered in the article, I know I’ve got some more research to do.

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