Do you love to read? Would you like to find out about some exclusive tools for reading to help improve your understanding? Read this post to the end.
Reading is not exactly a complex activity. All you need is a good book or blog post and you are ready to go. That said, there are some tools for reading, features, and fun gadgets you can use to make reading easier for your eyes and more pleasant for yourself.
Since I gathered many of them over the years, here’s a list of my favorite tools for reading.
See Also: Lexis and Structure
Table of Contents
Tools for Reading Physical Books
Highlighting is a fantastic way of letting your intuition work. Don’t think about what you want to highlight. Just read and mark whatever you want to jump to you. You can always go back to your highlights later and classify them. Never read without a sharpie by hand.
A very bright reading lamp is also one of the most important tools for reading. Having a bedside lamp with a goose that you can bend can be a good start. This will be helpful because you wouldn’t need to position yourself in strange ways while reading in bed. All you need to do is just bend the lamp wherever the light is needed. It is especially useful if you read on your back.
You can literally use anything to follow where you are in a book, such as a piece of paper or a post-it note, but a physical marker can be a pleasant personal touch. Or, if you do not forget things easily, you can use your memories and thus may not necessarily need them as a favorite. It is a good memory exercise.
Tools for Reading on Screens
I get physical books whenever I can, but sometimes my Kindle has been a rescue. It is such an easy way to transport unlimited books everywhere and a single charge lasts weeks. The electronic paint screen is very easy for the eyes and you have prominence, a dictionary, and browsing on the built-in web.
This is my book summary service. They have a web and phone app, more than 5,000 non-fiction titles, audio for over 80% of them, internal highlights, as well as resources to synchronize their highlights to Evernote and send summaries directly to your Kindle.
This is a digital archiving system, but your genius lies in the fact that you can use it as a second brain and your own private Google. For most people, the free version is enough, but make sure to install the web clipper. You can use it to hold articles, or pieces of them, images, and everything you find online. The software makes all the text researched, which means you just need to remember a few-chair word to find anything at any time. I wrote a complete guide on how to use it here.
If you want an innovative way to read online, Spritz can be for you. Instead of reading a coherent text block, their application shows you one word at a time. As your eyes don’t have to move, you can read much faster. It is definitely strange at first. Once you get used to it, however, it’s amazing for news or other content you want to consume quickly without losing anything.
This fascinating tool adds a color gradient to text your view online. It helps your eyes move faster and drags them from one part of the structure to the next.
Most blog posts are full of disorder on the edges. Some browsers are developed with reading mode built-in, but if your own isn’t built that way, you can use the Chrome extension to only change an item for a suitable text display.
This is a must if you work on screens early or late at night, but especially for late-night reading, it’s important. F.lux changes the color of your screen to a more reddish color at night, resembling the sunset and removing the blue light. It helps your body not interrupt its production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Even if you stay up longer, you won’t have as much trouble falling asleep. If you’re on a Mac or iOS device, this feature is built-in and called Night Shift.
Timing is important. Sometimes you come across a great article without time to read it now. Or maybe you are not sure whether it is the right advice at the right time. The pocket takes care of it. Just send content from everywhere to this universal reading folder and decide again. It is built in advance in Firefox but is easy to install as an extension on other browsers.
Resources that will Improve your Reading Skill
The full guide to remembering what you read:
The system that I use personally when I read non-fiction books. Contains everything, from viewing the content to how to breathe while reading, to a selection of annotation systems and how to condense everything.
Time To Read:
This is a free, 14-day email course I made to help you make reading a habit. Maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon or are completely out of love with it. This is aimed at helping you get back on track. In retrospect, I’d make the lessons shorter, but I’m proud of the mix of storytelling and science that’s in there. Definitely, worth checking out, I also included a whole bunch of bonuses.
10 Days for Faster Reading:
This is a book by Abby Marks-Beale that presents the concept of speed reading. I am not a big fan of the idea, because no matter how fast you get, the consequence is always that you’ll miss information. I prefer to first filter what to read first. On the other hand, this can be useful for reading what you have to read but are not super excited about. Tim Ferriss also wrote a scientific guide about this.
Other Essential Tools for Reading
The following list contains some habitual acts that aid reading, they are not generally used though, but are also helpful tools for reading if properly utilized and not abused. These are:
Ah, the drink of the champions. I think it’s great with and without caffeine, but the smell of a warm cup of fresh coffee is hard to let go of, even without a book. It became a ritual for me to drink while writing, but I also have to read in the morning, so it’s a perfect match.
Because I read and write all day, I got used to music in the background, although not always listen to songs with lyrics, because they can be disturbing. But a good mix of electronic, classic, and other instrumental music can really improve your retention. This is the same for many people. I also like natural white sounds such as rain, etc. A site that combines jazz with rain and noise enables you to make your own custom sound mix.
I really only hear audio tools and podcasts when I’m on a long journey, but I know that many people appreciate them while they work or perform tasks. Audible has a great free rating, with which you can listen to two books of your choice. We also have our own selection of more than 900 audiobooks, which have a fixed speed and always grow. Each contains a summary that is a lecture here, and more than 300 of them even come with my personal comments.
Remember: the use of tools for reading is good, but the most important thing will always be to understand what you choose to read.
Best Tools for Reading: Strategies to improve reading skills
Having learned about tools for reading, you might also be on the lookout for useful strategies and tips to aid your reading as well as the learning process. As you may know, reading and learning do not always come easily for every child. Parents and teachers often look for strategies, tools, and other specific sources to help readers and students with difficulties.
Below are a few useful strategies and tools for reading and learning. Note that the tips below apply to all readers, regardless of age:
Strategies to implement at school
- Request or allow for the course and book content to be available via audiotape, CD, or DVD.
- Use a portable, hand-held spell checker (such as the Franklin Spelling Ace) for unknown words.
- Use graph paper, a ruler, or the Reading Focus Cards for more focus with math work (i.e., to help promote more accurate number placement in column addition, long division, equations, etc.)
- Use interactive computer reading programs or apps that support challenged readers or learners and require only a limited number of tasks at a time.
- Underline or highlight important keywords in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an assignment.
- Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time. Using individualized tools can help with this as well.
- Allow for moving to optional work areas with less distraction.
- Allow for the experience of a variety of sensory learning techniques such as those derived from using a computer, tape recorder, projector, and/or manipulatives. The more senses you involve in the learning process, the more success and retention the student will experience.
- Use word processors or computers to complete written work, especially when writing is a struggle.
Strategies to implement at home
- Allow for kneeling or standing at a desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for other children or students.
- Allow for access to a copy of prepared notes, especially after a teaching session or discussion.
- Arrange for a second set of textbooks at home so that materials are always at hand when needed.
- Use very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work.
- Allow for a child or student to work cooperatively at times with others as part of a “buddy” system of support.
- Use colored paper for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.
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