Free AdviceGet Free Advice
Home | Get advice | Give advice | Topics | Columnists | - !START HERE! -
Make Suggestions | Sitemap

Get Advice

Search Questions

Ask A Question

Browse Advice Columnists

Search Advice Columnists

Chat Room

Give Advice

View Questions
Search Questions
Advice Topics


Remember me
Register for free!
Lost Password?

Want to give Advice?

Sign Up Now
(It's FREE!)


Shirts and Stuff
Page Backgrounds
Make Suggestions
Site News
Link To Us
About Us
Terms of Service
Contact Us

reading problems

Question Posted Wednesday April 19 2006, 9:34 pm

i have a problem reading school materials, i cannot read when i want to (there is a specific time i can read effectively like in the morning) and i cannot read for a long time. 1 or 2 things happen when i read, i either get distract and cannot continue to read due to the lack of concentration or when i read it for a long time nothing seems to come into my head and basically i read nothing even though i did.

So how do i get myself to read effectively and for a very long time? especially with biology and chemistry i know there are a lot of readings to do but then i cannot continue to read after 1 hour or 2. I need help bad because im falling behind and need to catch up with all this reading

[ Answer this question ]
Want to answer more questions in the Work & School category?
Maybe give some free advice about: School?

military45 answered Thursday April 20 2006, 9:05 pm:
ok get a good book that u like then go to ur room turn off all tv and radio stuff. If can lock door. Then just read. Start out with 3-5 pages then add more. Keep this up and it should help

[ military45's advice column | Ask military45 A Question

xoxDaneCookRox answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 11:05 pm:
Well I had the same probalem so when i had to read i just had to go to my room shut off the tv the radio anything that made noise so i wouldent get distracted by anything. I found that it really helped. or you could just like practice reading i guess like read a good book, get use to readin more then it will be easier.


[ xoxDaneCookRox's advice column | Ask xoxDaneCookRox A Question

CheshireKat answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 11:02 pm:
along with soendearing, i am similar in the gets-distracted-easily aspect. ^_^ now, i've been officially diagnosed with ADD (attention defecit disorder), even though i don't believe in it to the extent my mother does. i take medication for my ADD-ish-ness, concerta, which acts as a stimulant to sort of give me the energy to concentrate and stay on task.

but medication is a little extreme i think, unless it's a very extreme case. there are lots other things you can do to help improve your concentration.

***eat fish (especially cold water fish), or specifically, something with fish oil in it. it sounds silly but go find some flavoured chewables. ^_^ i started out with source naturals "attentive child" chewable wafers. they're actually pretty tasty... :P
***drink a moderate amount of tea or coffee, especially in the morning, or a little while before you are going to be reading, and while you're reading too if you can help it. like the proteins in fish oil, caffeine (in moderate amounts) can help you concentrate.
***make sure you're getting enough sleep, and that you have a normal sleep routine, i.e. you go to bed at 10 and wake up at 7. trust me. sleep. good. end of story. ^_^
***watch your diet. too much sugar (or most any simple carbs) can make you jittery and cause your thoughts to scatter. make sure to eat a sufficient amount protein, fruits, and veggies.
***talk to your teachers and friends in those classes. ask for help. figure out some ways to make it easier to go through your reading, like a certain way to take notes, highlighting, etc. for me, i usually take notes for my math and science classes on my tablet laptop so i'm actually writing everything down with a pen, but it still is stored on my computer which is always with me. ^_^ find a way that works well for you and the way you think and learn and process/store information.

hope this helped. good luck! and hey, if you want any support and just someone to talk to about distracted-ness, or if you'd like help figuring out some things that might help you, feel free to email me anytime.


[ CheshireKat's advice column | Ask CheshireKat A Question

BRUNETTE__BABiE__CAKESZ answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 10:28 pm:
hey, talk to your teachers about this. let them know that you struggle. also ask your parents if you could maybe get some sort of help. what to do when you have to read alot is this. read paragraph by paragraph and sum up each paragraph. take notes for them and thats how you can study the material. cait♥

[ BRUNETTE__BABiE__CAKESZ's advice column | Ask BRUNETTE__BABiE__CAKESZ A Question

prescott answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 10:20 pm:
You'd be suprised to know that many people are like that. In order to help you in this, you'll have to help yourself.

You need to be experimental
1. Seek out the time whereby you are able to absorb most.
2. Short time span could be due to the distractions. So, once you know the right timing, get yourself to a quiet place and read there. (or at least a place away from distractions)
3. Don't worry about the time. Everyone is different.

I have a study group. And all 5 of us have different ways of studying and understanding the materials.

Myself, i read and i highlight key points. Then make my own notes (NOT COPYING DIRECTLY FROM THE BOOK). I write down what i can understand from the book. This way, it is less complicating and you'll understand it. The way books are written can sometimes look like some foreign language to me. Mine is a long process but it works for ME. After getting so used to the idea, i can manage 3 chapters of Chemistry in 1 1/2 hours. Frankly, it was because of this, my writing speed increased. Great when it comes to exams.

One of them have a really short span of concentration. Only a mere 30 minutes. So, whatever he can absorb within time goes in. And he never forgets it. This is very exceptional though.

Another one dictates during class. She listens, writes and absorbs at the same time. Then she will review her notes and compared it with the book. She'll then add in things she missed out. Her method gives her the advantage to know what is in the book before she reads it. But she has a habit of reviewing her notes the same day she wrote them.

The other two help each other out. They study together and shoot questions at each other. And look for answers together. Something like a tutor-mentor thing.

There are lots of other studying methods. Remember to get away from distractions. Give it your best and good luck!!

[ prescott's advice column | Ask prescott A Question

oldmongoose answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 10:06 pm:

I understand your frustration. When I was in high school, though, I had a very long attention span and could study and work on things for 3-4 hr stretches without getting bored or tired.

Now, having finished high school, and college, and then grad school, and then worked for several years, I'm now facing a certification type exam for my job.

This involves a year-long course of study, largely on my own time, because there's no homework and no class-- this is studying on my own when I get home from work and on weekends. And you can imagine what a whole lot of NOT FUN it is! So when I first began studying, I could barely keep focused on the material for 10 minutes. Part of the reason was because it was pretty damn boring. Another reason, though, was that my job involves doing a lot of different things at the same time, and being interrupted all the time. So my attention span had been TRAINED to be very short.

And I was determined to train it back, which I managed to do and I am back to being able to study for 2-3 hrs or more in a focused manner.

So, I recommend a few things:
1. DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF. Don't feel badly. A lot of us have this problem, and it doesn't mean that you aren't smart or aren't together. It just means that your attention span is a little shorter than you'd like it to be. I'm not saying this to be nice and touchy feely, because I'm not really that nice or touchy feely at all.

I just know that it's hard to be effective if you're always cutting yourself down and being too critical.

2. Set reasonable goals. For example, if I had to eat all the food I require in one day, but in one giant meal, my stomach would really hurt. Actually, it'd probably burst. Not good. But if I space it out in 3 or 4 meals, I should be fine. In the same way, don't tell yourself that you should read for 2 hrs.

How about saying: "I have biology and chemistry and English homework today. Let me break this down so I can give myself a little mental break every now and then.

Do 45 minutes of English.
Get up, walk around the room, get a glass of water.
Do 45 minutes of biology reading.
Get up, stretch a bit.
Do a 45 minutes of chemistry reading.
Look up, look out the window, give your eyes (and brain a break.
Do another 45 minutes of biology reading...
and so forth. You get the idea.

3)In addition to breaking things up, I recommend that when you finish a study interval, try to stop at a good stopping point, like the end of a chapter or the end of a section.

4)Don't be afraid to take small steps. If even 30-minute intervals are too long, break it down to 15 minute intervals. Although I advise that if you break it down to 15 minute intervals, DO NOT SWITCH subjects. Otherwise, it gets harder to remember what you've done. So 15 minutes of Bio, take a breather, 15 more minutes of Bio, take a breather, etc.

5)Time your breaks-- don't go off and watch an hour of TV or take a long nap. :-) These should be short, 5- minute breaks just so you can take a breath.

6)You mention that you feel like you're not really retaining the material that you're reading, that perhaps, it feels like your eyes are just following the words without them really clicking in your brain.

This happens to me when I'm tired.
I really stress getting enough sleep every night. The older I get, the more this becomes necessary, but even when I was in high school, I found getting 7-8/hrs a night really helpful. I simply remembered things more easily.

7)One way to remember what you're reading and to make your brain really 'click' is:
Don't just skim if you don't feel like you didn't understand what you just read.

Don't be afraid to go back and say: ok, so this description of mitosis and meiosis? What's the difference? Why are they different? And go hunt for the answers in what you just read.

It might be tempting to just mark pages that you've read, but you'll actually waste time if you let your eyes glance over 100 pages, but you remember 0 pages.

Another way to make yourself understand is to take notes on the stuff you found the most difficult to understand. For example, if you understand what mitochondria are, and the difference between DNA and RNA, but you can't remember the theories about mitochondria and why scientists think they used to be separate organisms (rather than organelles, as they are now), go back and look that part up and write it down. I wouldn't write down stuff you already know, since that wastes time, but the stuff you don't know, so you don't have to keep relearning it.

And finally, a great way to make yourself understand and remember is: Can you explain it to someone else? It might sound hokey, but think of what you would say if you had to explain what these things were, what the relationship between these things are, and why they work the way they do. If you can do that, you've got it down pat.

8)Finally, if all of these things don't work, I would advise that you talk with your parents (assuming that they are reasonable people and not obsessive people who push their children like prize racehorses and punish them for not getting perfect grades).

If they are reasonable about this kind of stuff, ask them if they have any advice. And whether they would be willing to have you tested for any sort of learning disability or attention deficit disorder. There's no shame in having any of these, and folks who have these conditions can still be smart and successful. And it could be that it's none of these thigns at all and that one just needs to develop good study habits.

Depending on what your school is like and what the guidance counselors are like, they might be able to point you to some places where one gets more coaching on study habits.

But I would say, be careful of the guidance counselors. Some are great and some suck. I don't know what your school is like, but I will say that in some schools, the guidance counselors are great-- very involved and caring towards the students, and very competent about helping them achieve.

In the school I went to, the guidance counselors sucked donkey wang because they were just losers who couldn't get a real job elsewhere and had to hide in a nice, cushy unionized job. They had no clue about anything, and if you went to them with any problems, instead of helping you, they'd mark you out to be a problem person. They lost papers, records, recommendation letters. They came to work late and left early-- you get the idea. I am very lucky my parents were very reasonable and cool and managed to get into an Ivy League university.

So if none of the tips I've provided help, I'd recommend asking the help of adults that YOU TRUST, to suggest alternatives.

Again, I think you can do it, just give these ideas a shot and don't be too hard on yourself. School's important (because exams and where you go to college is used by corporations and people to 'sort' others into categories and determine how much people get paid), but it's not everything. And unless you want to be a doctor or engineer, you will never use the biology or chemistry again in your adult life!

Best of luck and keep on truckin'!
Old Mongoose.

[ oldmongoose's advice column | Ask oldmongoose A Question

soendearing answered Wednesday April 19 2006, 9:43 pm:
You're not alone. I'm the SAME exact way, i fool around and say i have ADD though hah, (though i think i really do).

I'd say to just try to pay attention in class a lot, and tell your teachers you have trouble with concentrating on the books, i'm sure they can help you out, or maybe your school provides a class where it helps you with reading, i know my school does. Ask your teachers.

Or maybe you can just read more often, like if your bored one day, read a little bit of a book, and progress everyday with reading a little more.

[ soendearing's advice column | Ask soendearing A Question

More Questions:

<<< Previous Question: anorexic friend...maybe
Next Question >>> my best friends are complete weirdness right now

Recent popular questions:
Want to give advice?

Click here to start your own advice column!

Should I stay or leave
I want to be a transcriptionist
nephew's behavior?
My mouth hurts!
I love basketball but I am too short!
I don't have clothes or supplies for school!
Is it too forward?
I have a shaved side
love of the past
Where is the colonial oppression here?
I dont know how to get this friendship to "grow"
what ages are hot topic for
i want to dye my hair, but I'm not sure it would look nice
Change color of my advice column?
recent problems involving masturbation
Brushing my teeth makes me poop.
my mom is a control freak
Is This Considered Stalking?
Best friend issue
Why is it a bigger deal for Greece to default than certain African countries

All content on this page posted by members of is the responsibility those individual members. Other content © 2003-2014 We do not promise accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any advice and are not responsible for content.

Attention: NOTHING on this site may be reproduced in any fashion whatsoever without explicit consent (in writing) of the owner of said material, unless otherwise stated on the page where the content originated. Search engines are free to index and cache our content.
Users who post their account names or personal information in their questions have no expectation of privacy beyond that point for anything they disclose. Questions are otherwise considered anonymous to the general public.

[Valid RSS] eXTReMe Tracker