Speed Readings Strategies and Tips for Book Club Members

Speed Readings Tips for Book Club Members

Admit it, you love, love, love your book club, but time got away from you this month, the next meeting is in two days, and you have a whole book to read. What to do, what to do.

If you’re a reading non-fiction book:

  • Skim each chapter before you read it; pay special attention to introductions, conclusions, subtitles, and study questions; decide how much of the material you really need to know in order to talk intelligently about it in the group
  • After you skim a chapter, read it quickly for comprehension; jot down a few notes as you go—to jog your memory later. Also be sure to note ideas that occur to you as you relate personally to the material. Sharing your own experiences in the book club discussion will add meaning to what you’ve read and help to enliven the conversation.
  • If you have time, pretend that you’re talking to the group; that will help you review the most relevant points from the book

If you’re reading a novel:

  • You probably wouldn’t skim a novel if you’re just reading for fun, but if you’re in a hurry to finish a book before a meeting, skim through it making some quick notes as you go: who did what, when, where, why, and to whom or what; then read it quickly and answer those questions.
  • Think about the characters’ behaviors, motives, joys, sorrows, goals, and dreams.
  • Relate to the characters on a personal level: would you have done the same thing, made similar decisions, or would you have done something differently. When you relate on a personal level the book comes alive and the ensuing book discussion will be lively.

Okay now, don’t you have a book to read? Well, get to it!

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Leave A Reply (3 comments So Far)


  1. AvidReader
    2 years ago

    These tips are great. I’m in a book club and we’ve all read the article. It’ll help our slower readers keep up with us.Thanks


  2. Dr. Z.
    2 years ago

    These are good tips. I’m using them as I read my current book and they are helping me remember what I read. I normally read fairly fast but don’t remember what I’ve read. Your suggestions are working!


  3. Paula
    1 year ago

    I like your suggestion for non-fiction to skim the chapter before I read it. I tried it and it helped me to get the big picture of what the key ides were so when I read the whole chapter I knew the lay of the land and could concnetrate better on the key points.

    Even though it takes a minute or two to do the skimming, I think it’s worthwhile because it increases my comprehension of the material. I can see where to focus as I read the whole chapter.

    I also tried it on a fiction book and found the fast-skimming ahead technique useful for me to find out what parts to skip or gloss over because they weren’t interesting or important to the plot.