How to Focus on Reading: 5 Checklists to Help NOW

Published by Stan Profy on

These days we have access to so much information that it may be hard to concentrate on one source. Therefore many people find it hard to focus on reading.

Social media networks have taught us to scan through the headlines and move on. This has become a daily habit.

How to focus on reading? Here are five free checklists to help:

1. Create a Reading Log for More Focused Reading

Reading logs help you concentrate on reading by prompting you to find answers to questions, take notes on character development and more.

Reading Log for More Focused Reading
Reading log for more focused reading: You can download it instantly as a PDF file or make yourself a copy and edit online

There can be a wide variety of possible reading log templates, so pick the one that works best for you. We have previously offered several types which are all editable:

2. SQ5R Reading Checklist

SQ5R is a reading strategy that helps you concentrate on reading by introducing you to the contents of the book first and piquing your curiosity.

The SQ5R reading concentration strategy consists of 7 steps: Survey, Question, Read, Respond, Record, Recite, Review.

  1. Survey: Review the book to get an idea what it is about. Scan through the table of contents, introduction, author bio, and the end-of-book summary. This step aims at making you curious.
  2. Question: Based on your survey, create a list of questions to answer while reading. This step aims at setting a goal for your reading.
  3. Read: Start reading but for no more than 20 minutes. The idea is 20-minute reading makes it easy to concentrate.
  4. Respond: After your 20-minute reading block, take a minute to think about the questions you set on step 2
  5. Record: Take some notes of whatever you want from the reading session. This could be interesting ideas, new words or key concepts
  6. Recite: Look away from your book and try to repeat what it was about
  7. Review: Look through your notes and set your goal for the next day. This step can be done after the whole reading session. It can be one 20-minute block or several, depending on how much time you have. So feel free to repeat steps 2 through 6 prior to making your review.

Each reading block should take no more than 30 minutes (including 20 minutes of reading). Once you feel like your reading concentration is improving, feel free to extend your reading block to 30, 40 and 60 minutes.

Here’s a handy checklist for you to start with this reading technique:

SQ5R checklist for focused reading
SQ5R checklist for focused reading: Teach yourself to anticipate reading, spur your curiosity and look for answers to your own questions

Quick tip: You can use Google as your time:

Use Google search as a reading timer
Use Google search as a reading timer

3. 7-Day Reading Planner for Detail-Orientated Reading

If you are looking for more detail-oriented reading experience, here’s a seven-day planner for you:

Download the checklist here. Alternatively, you can make yourself a copy and edit it first to adjust it to your reading goals.

7-Day Reading Planner for Detail-Orientated Reading
7-day reading planner for detail-orientated reading will help you analyze more and create a more indepth reading notes

The checklist moves the focus to different aspects of reading every day and offers questions to guide you through.

4. Reading Comprehension Mindmap

This checklist helps you better understand and remember the book contents by creating a mind map. 

Reading Comprehension Mindmap
Reading comprehension mindmap will help you better comprehend and remember what you read

You can download the checklist here

5. Use Daily Planners to Plan Your Reading

We have compiled a few free printable daily planners to download instantly. You can turn any of them into reading concentration checklist:

  • Set the time when you are actually planning to read
  • Put down your reading goals for each day
  • Leave space for after-reading notes
Use Daily Planners to Plan Your Reading
Use daily planners to plan your reading: Set the time to read daily and define your reading goals

This reading motivation idea works both for non-fiction and fiction books.

How to Get Focused on Reading: More Tips

  • Find a favorite place to read and always read there. 
  • Make your reading corner so nice and cozy so you want to return to it
  • Think about the book you are reading when doing chores or running errands. Teach yourself to anticipate that daily reading break
  • If you know other people who want to start reading, start a reading club
A: Checklists help improve focus by forcing you through going well-defined steps. They can also be quite motivating giving the feeling of accomplishment each time you are using them.
A: Use the following checklists for more focused reading: Reading logs, daily planners, SQ5R reading checklist, 7-day reading planner, and the reading comprehension mindmap.
A: There may be various reasons behind that including racing thoughts, stress, information overload and more. Any persona can have trouble concentrating on reading from time to time. SQ5R reading strategy is said to be the most effective way to get back into reading.
A: There is no single way to concentrate on reading but there are various strategies that can help, based on your personal circumstances and temperament. If you are a visual learner, for example, creating a mindmap may help. If you like to-do lists, include reading into your daily planner. For detail-oriented people, here is a 7-day reading planner.

Do you have any more tips and checklists for more focused reading? Please share them in the comments!

Watch the video on Youtube: How to focus on reading
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