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Selective Reading: What, Why and How?

Reading in a Library

People read all the time. With the development of technology, everyone has something to keep them busy, whether those are text messages, news, magazines or books. Advertisements, posters, notifications – all of these use text to deliver the information needed. However, people tend to say, that they read less comparing to before. Is this so indeed?

The truth is, our generation reads more than the previous ones. Still, surfing the internet does not feel like real reading, does it? Stuffing your brain with tons of information is a different process comparing to having a break while enjoying a good book with a cup of tea.

Instead of reading all the articles you stumble upon, you can try to control what you are letting into your brain. Not only this will help you save some free time (please do not tell me you have nothing to fill it with. Call your grandma. Walk your dog. Cook a meal. Do some more selective reading), but will also let you check the relevant information only.

Look Newspapers

So, What Is Selective Reading?

Selective reading stands for a combination of reading and a research. This is a process of reading with purpose. Instead of running through a text that might have no practical and esthetic value for you, develop a skill that will give you a feeling of improving your way of reading.

Why Do I Need to Try It?

  • Reading with purpose will mean only reading the texts that keep the useful information. Useful not necessarily stands for “boring”, you can select any book that carries the knowledge you were craving for to gain but thought you have no time for;
  • It is a great way to fill your evening or a trip to home from school with something special that you remember. Honestly, how many tweets and YouTube comments have you read yesterday and do you actually remember them now?
  • It develops the ability to select the most important information from the whole text instead of “swallowing” everything without chewing.

How Do I Do This?


The first thing to do before starting anything great is planning. You want to make a list of skills you would like to possess. Those can include the knowledge you lack to get a higher position or better marks, as well as the things you are interested in – spaceship building, dogs breeds, cooking, article writing, drawing and so on. Do you feel like you cannot plan your budget? Want to get better in ancient literature? Include everything!

After this, select the topic you want to work on first, and then let the others follow.

Planning Ahead

Now it is time for a little research! Look for any electronic or paper books, useful articles and feedbacks, if you need those.

This is it! Now when you have a list of texts to look through, take care about having them around and diving into reading every time you feel bored or have a need to wait. You will see, how switching the things to text make you closer to the idea of you that you wish to become one day!

One thing you need to bear in mind: the process called a selective reading is your survival skill now. If you spend hours in front of the screen struggling to find a drop of necessary information among loads of internet repeated encyclopedias without any purpose – this skill is definitely for you.

While reading a new text and searching for some needed information, you need to have the following questions in your head:

  • Does a topic of the text I am reading accord to my intentions and plans to find out about?
  • Is this text up-to-date and does it refer to the material given by a professor?
  • Does it carry any new information and not just previous and redundant message?
  • Can I skip some abstracts in order to get to the core message the text carries?
  • Can I define the main topic of the text after briefly reading it or does an author beat around the bush?

Do not be afraid if anything goes wrong while doing a selective reading: if you experience any struggles just consult your professor, ask him or her foe a piece of advice and they will be definitely glad that you are being curious and want to know more about it. There is nothing bad in asking your classmates or friends as well, so build your confidence be sure that everyone will help you as soon as you ask for it.

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