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Last Installment

04.24.16 | by Ray Jones

    Last Installment…

    on how to become a better reader. I hope you have found it helpful, but most of all I hope you weave these tips into your life. Here are tips 5 and 6.

    TIP# 5: Take advantage of reading Tools… Your ready proficiency might improve by using any number of reading tools that enhance and assist your reading experience. Today electronic books have become a big hit, and for good reason. Reading devices like, iPads, Kindles or Nooks enable you to keep hundreds of books at your fingertips. Further, these devices allow you to enlarge the typeface, change the background and provide a back-light that helps strengthen the text to your eye. They are easy to travel with and are now relatively inexpensive. Having said that, I read only certain kinds of books on my Kindle. It sits on my nightstand. Generally I will read biographies and works of fiction electronically but rarely read any other category that way. The reason? Simply, in my case, I read with a pen and mark pretty extensively in whatever I am reading. The general exception to that is biographies and fiction, so they are perfect for my Kindle. By the way, you can mark reading material with one of the electronic reading devices, but I have found that the information is harder to retrieve for later use. And, there is still just something about physically holding a book, turning pages, marking words and making annotations. The tactical feel of a book or magazine in my view actually helps focus the mind on the content.

    There are other helpful tools as well. Reading journals are useful for cataloging what you’ve read. Moleskin and Levenger make excellent ones. I’ve used them for years and now have a history of my reading logged with notations about specific titles and book ratings. Other tools like, book lights for reading in the dark, book weights to hold pages down, book covers, magnifiers, page markers and special pens that are designed not to bleed through the pages are all helpful. I have, and do use all of these tools depending on what I am reading. By the way, don’t forget books on CD, tape or MP3. I use these when I travel. Listening in the car or on a plane via a smart phone is a way to read or be read to.  Don’t hesitate to incorporate any tools that will help you enjoy reading a little more; they’ll help you become a better reader.

    TIP# 6: Plan to Read… If you really want to become a better reader, this tip will be one of the most important. Set aside some time each day to read. I try to read a minimum of 30 minutes and usually by the time I go to sleep at night will have read for more than an hour+. Put reading in your schedule; treat it like an appointment or errand that you must keep. Planning to read will help you develop a consistent habit and a central key to becoming a good reader is developing the habit of reading.

    Each day I have several consistent things I try to do… 1. Review… in the morning what’s ahead for the day.  2. Devotion… spend time with God in His Word and prayer. 3. Think… yes, I try to spend a few minutes engaging my mind on some subject. 4. Write… something. It may be in my journal, this blog, my weekly column, or just study notes. 5. READ… just read!—Read books as described above, periodicals and selective web content. But take caution in the matter of web content. There is so much information on the web; you can easily get sidetracked from any serious or helpful reading material and end up chasing frivolous and pointless garbage.

    The more you practice these 6 tips, the more enhanced and enjoyable your reading will become. Why not start today incorporating them into your life? There is so much to learn, and fortunately today, so many articles, books and resources to help. Become an expert in something new; start becoming a better reader today.

    And remember, God is always trying to take you someplace new! And sometimes He does that through books. I love being your pastor!

    For God’s Glory Alone,

    Bro. Ray