How to Read Non-Fiction Books Effectively

In my previous blog post, I have shared with you three reasons for reading non fiction books. Some of them include becoming a better communicator and having increased concentration levels. There are many types of non-fiction books that you can pick up. Some of them include information books about science, such as plants, the human body and even space. Others include magazines like Reader’s Digest and Young Scientist! I’m sure you’ve seen some of these around!

Today, I’ll share with you more on how to read non-fiction books effectively. Compared to fiction, reading non-fiction books requires a different set of skills altogether, so I hope the tips I’m going to share in this video will help you make the most of what you are reading.


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Firstly, how do you choose which non-fiction text to read since there are millions of titles out there? Just like how you select story books, you may wish to select a non-fiction book based on your currently interests! You might be reading some mystery novels at this point, and have wondered to yourself what detectives and the police do. Therefore, you can start embarking on non-fiction by selecting books about law-enforcement. Another way of selecting a non-fiction text could be as easy as walking down the aisles in the library and picking up whatever title catches your eye. Open the book up, browse through the synopsis found at the back of the book and ask yourself if you are interested in reading further.

Next, you should familiarise yourself with the different parts of a nonfiction book. First, take a look at the contents page. It will give you a clear idea of what the book will cover. When you are considering to buy or borrow a book, you should also look at the contents page to see if it will provide you with any information you seek or interests you in any way.

You can also look at the index. This is an alphabetical list of almost everything that is covered in the book accompanied by page numbers. Again, this will help you to understand clearly the content covered in the book. Also, while reading the book, you can always use the index to look up specific terms and concepts and go right to where the specific information is located.

Once you have decided on the book, make yourself comfortable. Settle down on a comfortable chair or your sofa. Have a hot cup of drink with you. Personally, I like to drink tea or hot chocolate with marshmallows!

While reading, do use the following tips to help you navigate the text. Read the headings and subheadings before you embark on the prose! To help with comprehension, consider the different types of paragraphs that you have just read and ask yourself what types of paragraphs they are! Did you come across a compare-contrast structure? Or perhaps a problem-solution structure?

At the end of each chapter, ask yourself what you have learnt to check your own understanding. You can also try summarising the chapter in your own words to see if you have understood the gist of what you have read.

In addition, take a look at the visuals in your non-fiction book. These could include photographs, some pictures, charts and even graphs! You might be able to put your mathematical knowledge to use here as you study the graphs and charts. The visuals in a non-fiction text not only help you to understand the content better but they also help you to relate what you are reading to a real-life context. Imagine looking at a forensic scientist’s kit or a policeman’s baton in a book about law-enforcement. You can definitely learn a lot just by looking at these visuals!

Last but not least, nonfiction texts are a great source of vocabulary! As such, you should consider keeping a vocabulary notebook with you as you read so that you can write down interesting vocabulary words and remember them! You can also look up the meanings of the words that you are not familiar with and put them in your notebook later.

Wow. I trust you have just learned that non-fiction texts can be read very effectively, especially if we take it slow. Now, do you have your selected non-fiction book with you? How about a nice, warm cup of drink? Happy Reading!

Ms. Velvet

As a teacher, Ms Velvet believes in sharing her love for reading to her students and encouraging them to be confident speakers. Therefore, she incorporates lively discussions on meaningful topics in her lessons to impart knowledge to her students. She believes that in order to do well, one needs to be interested in learning, so she ensures that her lessons are meaningful and thought-provoking so that students can learn earnestly.

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