Combat Boredom While Reading

Combat Boredom While Reading

There are times in our life when we have to read texts that cause boredom.  There are three primary reasons the relationship between the reader and the text is less than exciting.  The text may: (1) cover familiar information, (2) cover unfamiliar information, or (3) be too long (taking too much time to compete).  Here are some tips to help you get through boredom while reading.  These are tips that I find useful in my social life, at work, in school, and even in my leisure reading.

The Familiar

Start a dialogue with the text in the margins.  I know it sounds like a little weird, but I actually add little notes like “[head nod]” or “I agree” in the margins.  If I am reading a text on a subject that I know a great deal about, I will write feedback or a review.  If it is an article for research, I will list any gaps in the logic, or any strengths and weaknesses in the study. 

The Unfamiliar

When reading something that is completely unfamiliar to me, I find I have a hard time following along because I do not understand the language or jargon being used.  I catch myself wondering, “Why am I reading this?  What does it have to do with XYZ?” Here are some things that I do to help.

  • Ask the writer (e.g. teacher, boss, sender) how does this text fit into the lesson, goal, or project
  • Conduct an internet search for simpler explanations
  • Skim through the text and create a mental outline
  • Write a list of questions that I want to or expect to have answered.  I generally do this right in the margins of the text.
Taking Too Long to Read

This is a constant issue of mine even when the text I am reading is not boring.  I remind myself that my goal is to gain understanding, not to get through the text as fast as I can.  First, I skim the text and create a mental outline.  I then use that outline to create stopping points.  I also create a realistic reading timeline that ties in with my overall completion goal.  This is especially useful when reading difficult textbooks.

When bored while reading, approach the task with a sense of control.  Take control over your attitude towards the text (or even the act of reading).  Take control over your time, and take control over your learning process.
Happy Reading!