Strategies for Better Reading Time

A step-by-step guide to making the most of your reading time.

frog and book

Have you ever started a book, only to find yourself reading the same paragraphs over and over? Has it been months, or years, since you read a book cover to cover? This happens to everyone at some point in their lives. The truth is, while reading time can be a truly rewarding activity, most people read less than they want to. This is why we’ve dedicated this blog to help you learn to read English for beginners.

The beauty of reading is that it’s like riding a bike. The books might gather dust on the shelf, but they’re always available to you. You’ll never regret reading. It’s something that human beings have been enjoying for 5,000 years. So It doesn’t matter if it’s been weeks, months, or years. Much like riding that bicycle, you will always have the tools you need to succeed. Once you find a book that excites you, you’ll forget why you stopped in the first place!

For those who want to make the most of our independent reading time, we have gathered a list of strategies for you to use. In this blog, we will help you activate those pathways in your brain that you use for reading. With our help, you will not only be reading again – but getting the most out of the reading experience. Keep reading for the best effective reading strategies you can implement to your reading time!

Reading: The Basics


You need to enjoy what you’re reading to get the most out of it. This is an essential prerequisite in the how to learn English reading handbook. If you have the freedom to choose your own reading material, do your research. If you’re not sure where to start, try a best-sellers list. Researching book reviews and ratings can also give you a good idea of the quality. These can be found on YouTube, reading apps, and bookshops. Lots of eBooks also provide sample pages you can read to get an idea for the writing style. If all else fails, head down to your local bookstore for an afternoon and paw through the first chapter.


Now you have your books selected, it’s important to set your intentions for them. This could be as simple as putting them somewhere you’re going to see them. You could also set reminders in your calendar to remind yourself when you have free time to read. Some great habit-tracking apps actively remind you every day to set time aside. The important thing is to tell yourself you’re going to read and actually follow through. Active reading strategies require some discipline, even when you’re reading beautiful books.


While many people enjoy reading in bed, this is not shown to be the best place to absorb reading material. Our brains get drowsy and the overall impact of the story is diminished. It’s much better to find a spot in your house that’s comfortable, but not too comfortable. This could be a desk chair, a sofa, your front lawn, or the hammock on your patio. Make sure it’s an area free from distractions to get the most out of your reading experience.


For many readers, all they bring to the experience is the book itself. However, there are many useful tools you can keep on hand while you read to enhance the experience. Try keeping a notebook nearby to jot down favourite quotes. You can also use a highlighter, a notes app, or page markers to keep track of specific pages and paragraphs. Adult reading has historically relied on reading without tools, but once you try this method, you will find your enjoyment of reading increases. Whatever your tools are, make sure they enhance your experience, rather than clutter or distract from it.


Of course, setting time aside for reading is a given. But some people see reading as a marathon and not a sprint. This sometimes prevents people from picking books up – because they can’t put them down. If you find yourself losing track of time while reading, try using a timer or an alarm to notify you of when to stop. This can also be useful if you’re keeping track of your reading speed.

frog fishing books


Reading Time: The Strategies

1. Previewing

Have you seen anything like this before? Before you begin reading, take a moment to read the summary on the back and imagine similar stories you’ve read. This helps set your expectations for the book based on prior knowledge. With this framework, you will find it easier to understand where the story is going. This is also a useful tool for effective readers to use when they’re choosing what books they want to read next. Active readers need effective reading comprehension strategies like this.

2. Predicting

Look at the book’s cover, its artwork, and give it a general overview. Imagine what kind of book you’re about to read, is it a picture book? A non-fiction book? Where is the table of contents? As you read, you will constantly be updating this information. It’s important to keep asking yourself “where is this going”? Prediction is one of the most exciting parts of reading a story. This engagement will keep you coming back to it.

3. Summarizing

At the end of every time you read, put the book down and reimagine what you’ve just read. This will help your reading level while you remember where you left off. It also acts as a soft form of comprehension for people who want more of a test. Summarizing requires the reader to focus only on what’s important to the plot. If you can summarize effectively, you’re also reading effectively.

4. Questioning

For the readers who are part of a book club or class, questions can be a good learning style to revise the work. There are plenty of online quizzes for readers, allowing them to familiarize themselves with the text on an academic level. This is especially useful for those who wish to write reviews of the book online. Questioning can range anywhere from “did you like it?” to “what allegories can we take away from this text?”.

5. Inferring

You can take your summarization one step further by forming conclusions about what you just read. For instance, this could be finding symbolism in the events that took place. You might also find the book is trying to communicate something to you through its themes, topic sentences, and storytelling. Try summarizing a chapter you just read, then solidifying the events into meaning.

6. Chunking

Sometimes reading comprehension of dense pages can be daunting. This is where chunking comes in. This is a popular learning method implemented in studying and classroom environments. Chunking is as simple as mentally splitting the work into smaller, more manageable sections. If you are reading a book with long chapters, but want a decisive finishing point, you could chunk your reading into 10 pages at a time. The most important part of this method is knowing your limits and making the most of them.

7. Visualizing

Some readers are lucky enough to have books with ample pictures and visual additions. For others, they might need to rely more on their creativity. Studies have shown that readers who create mental images while they read absorb the text much more effectively. This could be entirely internal, or you could flex your language skills and draw your own illustrations to go alongside the text. Whatever your method, keep imagining!

8. Mapping

Mapping out the story is something we all naturally do. It involves identifying the Setting, Characters, Plot, and Theme. Try to keep these in mind while you read, as they will constantly change as the story progresses. For those who want extra time getting acquainted with the story, try making notes of these mapping tools. This could come in handy later if you forget something and need to recall it.

9. Retelling

Human beings have been sharing other people’s stories since the very beginning. This is a great way to not only entertain people – but to do active reading or test your understanding. Make sure you try and cover the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of the story. For more in-depth retelling, you could make notes as you read of every event in the story. However, retelling becomes even more engaging when the person telling the story can summarize in as few words as possible.

10. Implementing

Comprehension consists of many mental exercises interacting with each other. Now you have learned the basics and strategies of reading well, you need to implement them. This can be greatly benefited by a reading club or a friend who is reading the same book. But if you want to keep this independent, keep taking notes along the way. Once you have finished the book, write your own summary of the events and your thematic takeaways. Implementing these reading strategies will make you a stronger, better reader.


frog dancing


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my reading time?

One way to improve your reading time is by practicing what is called “active reading.” Active reading involves more than just passively absorbing the text on the page; it requires engagement and comprehension. When you are actively reading, you should be asking yourself questions about the text, making connections to prior knowledge, and taking note of key concepts.

What are the 5 effective reading strategies?

Reading comprehension is a skill that requires practice and time to master. However, there are a few strategies that can help readers to better understand what they are reading.

The first strategy is to identify the purpose of reading. Is the reader looking for information, entertainment, or something else? Knowing the purpose of reading can help the reader to better focus on the text.

The second strategy is to preview the text before beginning to read. This can help the reader to get an overview of the material and identify any key points.

The third strategy is to actively read the text, paying attention to the words and ideas being presented.

The fourth strategy is to take notes while reading, either in the margin or on a separate piece of paper. This can help the reader to remember important information and make connections between different ideas.

Finally, after finishing the text, it is helpful to reflect on what was read. This can be done by summarizing the main points or writing a response to the material. By using these five strategies, readers can improve their comprehension and understanding of any text.

What is a reading strategy?

A reading strategy is any technique that a reader uses to gain a better understanding of a text. Some common strategies include rereading, skimming, and taking notes.

What are speed reading techniques?

Speed reading is not simply about reading faster. It is a technique that allows you to read more efficiently by improving your comprehension and retention. The first step is to learn how to skim-read, or quickly scan a text for the main ideas. This can be helpful when you need to get a general overview of a document or when you are looking for specific information. 

How do I stop Subvocalizing while reading?

Subvocalizing is the act of saying words out loud in your head while reading. It can slow down your reading speed and make it difficult to comprehend what you’re reading. If you want to stop subvocalizing, there are a few things you can try.

First, make a conscious effort to focus on the shapes and symbols on the page, rather than the actual words. This will help you to read faster and without pronouncing the words in your head.

Another helpful tip is to use a finger or a pencil as a tracking device. This will help you to focus on each word as you read it, rather than trying to pronounce the whole sentence in your head. 

What are the 7 habits of a good reader? 

Being a good reader requires more than just being able to read words on a page. To really get the most out of reading, it is important to develop good reading habits. Here are seven habits of good readers:

1. They set aside time for reading every day.
2. They choose materials that interest them.
3. They read aloud to themselves to improve their fluency and comprehension.
4. They take time to reflect on what they have read.
5. They ask questions about the text to deepen their understanding.
6. They make connections between the text and their own life experiences.
7. They share what they have read with others.

Implementing Reading Strategies with LillyPad

For the readers who have fully committed to reading better – they will require a lot of reading material. Most of which comes in the form of cumbersome books of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, with the rise of eBooks, we can save ourselves the back pain and still keep up with our reading. This is where our App LillyPad comes in handy.

As a reading app specifically designed for readers and students, we have our own built-in eReader. This allows you to read your favourite books from anywhere. It could be a local café, a classroom, your office, or even a park bench! We know that reading needs to be easily accessed every day. If you find yourself constantly on the go, an app like this can be a lifesaver. Especially when you are trying to fit reading time in between work, lunch, socializing, exercising, and resting.

Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! Lilly is a personal English tutor, and she has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving your English easy. With Lilly you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating!

For learners of all ages striving to improve their English, LillyPad combines the most scientifically studied and recommended path to achieving English fluency and proficiency with today’s most brilliant technologies!

Additionally, the platform incorporates goal-setting capabilities, essential tracking & reporting, gamification, anywhere-anytime convenience, and significant cost savings in comparison to traditional tutoring methodologies.

At LillyPad, everything we do is focused on delivering a personalized journey that is meaningful and life-changing for our members. LillyPad isn’t just the next chapter in English learning…

…it’s a whole new story!

Do you want to improve your English? Visit

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

Note:  iOS is currently unavailable.

LillyPad Logo
Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

Related Articles

Improve your English Faster with Lilly!
An Artificial Intelligent Tutor!

Latest Posts


How long will it take you to improve your English?


Design, write and practice your own phrases or learn 3,500+ premade English phrases with Lilly!