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3 Easy Tricks to Read and Assimilate Text Faster for Seniors

by Guest Blogger
senior man reading a book in his bedroom

It’s highly likely that you don’t remember how you learned to read as a child. However, the way you learned how to read as a child has little relevance to how we should learn how to read as seniors. While the slow process full of methods may work for young people who are trying to understand the basics of words and structure of different sentences, adults who need lots of information to process in a couple of seconds need an entirely different reading method.

Learning how to read and assimilate text is one of the best skills that you should develop today. This skill will save you lots of research and study time. While there are lots of amazing ways to develop this important skill, here are three simple and effective ways. But first, let’s define reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension

Reading comprehension is all about understanding what you are reading. Strong reading comprehension involves a wide range of literacy skills needed to identify and interpret meanings in a text. Several elements are involved in effective reading comprehension. And they include:

  • Fluency: This involves a mix of several factors. It focuses on your ability to read with the flow while decoding new vocabulary quickly.
  • Vocabulary: This involves decoding the meaning of new words to influence your reading comprehension. When you interpret meanings and identify links between new vocabulary, you greatly increase your chances of forming new ideas and understanding what you read.
  • Inference: Inference is an essential component of reading comprehension. When you make inferences, you connect information from texts to your ideas and opinions to identify the meaning of what you are reading. The ability to connect new ideas and form opinions will boost your retention rate.

1. Skimming and scanning are key

Skimming and scanning are some of the best reading techniques that seniors should use. They involve using keywords and rapid eye movement to read and assimilate text quickly. Skimming involves reading quickly to get an overview of the entire material. Scanning, on the other hand, involves finding specific facts.

While skimming informs you about the facts in a specific section, scanning helps you find a specific fact. You can use skimming to preview, review and determine the main idea of a section you don’t want to read. Or, when you want to find source material for an academic paper. Scanning is usually used to research a particular fact, to study topics that contain lots of facts, and to answer questions that require facts for support.

Skimming can save you hours of difficult reading. However, you should not always use it to read. It is quite useful when previewing a detailed reading. Or when reviewing a section with heavy content. When you skim, you can miss essential points. Skimming can be used to overview chapters or review a test. Skimming helps you decide if you need to read something. Skimming will help understand the general idea and tone of your material. To skim effectively, you need to move through the pages rapidly. You won’t read everything.

However, you’ll pay close attention to typographical cues such as boldface, headings, indenting, italics, and bullets. You’ll be on the lookout for phrases, keywords, names of people, dates, places, and unfamiliar words.

Scanning uses keywords and text organization. While skimming aims to get a comprehensive view of the material, the goal of scanning is to locate and focus on particular facts. Facts can be buried in long texts that have little or nothing to do with the topic of interest.

Skimming your material will help you determine if it contains the facts that you need. Scan summaries, tables, indexes, contents, and headings. To easily understand tables and lists, you should skim first to figure out the organization method used for instance alphabetical, most to least, or chronological.

When scanning, you should:

  • Know the keywords that you are searching for. Knowing the phrases and keywords will naturally turn you into a search engine.
  • Look for a single keyword each time. If you are looking for several keywords, you’ll have to perform several scans
  • Allow your eyes to flow quickly down the pages until you find the keywords or phrases that you want
  • When you get a keyword, read the material around it carefully.

2. Read the first and last sentence of the paragraphs

As speed reading experts report, most successful authors write to convey information. And they generally follow a tested formula. This involves starting every paragraph with a sentence that introduces the paragraph and gives a clear direction of where the paragraph is heading.

Since paragraphs in scientific and academic journals can contain lots of information, you’ll be wasting hours reading all of it if you’ve mastered the topic. Next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to read a long text, consider reading the first and last sentence in all the paragraphs. And you won’t miss much.

3. Be mindful

To read quickly and understand everything, you need to focus and concentrate. Minimizing distractions, external noise, and interruptions can greatly boost your concentration. If you notice that you are thinking about something else while reading, bring back your mind to the object of focus gently. Most seniors read a couple of sentences passively. And then spend several minutes going back to re-read to ensure they understand.

This popular behavior is known as regression. And it slows your progress significantly by making it harder for you to see the big picture. If you approach each text carefully and attentively, you’ll quickly figure out when you aren’t understanding something. And this will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Bonus Tips:

1. Avoid multitasking

One of the worst habits you can form is reading while listening to the radio, watching TV, or entertaining a distracting thought. Multitasking is a myth. However, most people believe that multitasking is one of the best ways that will help them cope in a world of overload.

Our brains have been built to switch tasks but not to multitask. When you think you are multitasking, you are switching from task to task smoothly. If you are reading a good book or working on an important task, you don’t need to switch. Multitasking cannot help you get more work done. Stay focused on one thing till its completion. And you’ll be amazed by your progress.

2. Use speed reading apps

You can do most speed reading techniques manually. However, there’s always a likelihood of falling back into the habits that we’ve already formed. If you want to learn how to read and assimilate text quickly, you need to look for the best reading apps in online stores.

Some of these apps have a highlighting marker that guides your eyes through your reading list. You can also invest in a reading course that aims at improving your reading speed and comprehension rate. Other common methods that reading apps employ include pointing and setting daily targets to boost your reading speed.

3. Take notes while reading

Another effective method that will help you develop and improve your reading skills is taking notes as you read. You can record new words while reading a journal.

Effective note-taking will allow you to ask yourself essential questions and make clear connections on the topic of interest. Also, creating visual representations like tables, charts and diagrams will help in clarifying themes and forming conclusions from your reading. Note-taking is extremely important when it comes to comprehension and summarizing.

4. Read every day

One of the best ways to develop and improve your reading skills as a senior is to practice every day. Developing your reading skills takes time and effort. However, it pays off in spades in the long run. Set aside at least fifteen minutes to read every day. You can read a magazine, article, novel, or any kind of text. Taking your time to practice your reading skills will pay off.

5. Set reading goals

Setting daily reading goals will help you develop a wide vocabulary, gain a deep understanding of your texts and make it easier for you to form connections between the things that you are reading and your ideas and perspectives.

For instance, you can set a goal to learn the meaning of two or three new words related to a specific topic like technology or business management. Then, you can start using these words when constructing sentences. As you build your vocabulary, you’ll gradually increase the difficulty levels of the texts that you are reading.


Thanks to the rapid technological advancements, we are constantly bombarded with new information. This is especially true for seniors who love reading and developing their skills. If you use the suggestions that we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll not only learn how to read effectively but also cut the amount of time you spend reading.

Author Bio:

Nick van Migrot is a professional college paper writer at assignment help and a member of several writing clubs in Los Angeles, California. Nick is interested in topics such as business, hospitality, finance, and marketing. He is the father of a lovely toddler and a passionate long-distance runner. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter.


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