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Key take-aways from this lesson

Don’t start reading with a bad attitude. Here are the characteristics of a “bad reading attitude”:

  • You expect to be perfect and understand every word
  • You want to study every paragraph in great detail
  • You’re not comfortable being a little uncomfortable

There are three objectives you need to keep in mind when reading. To be successful, you must:

  1. Understand the book
  2. Enjoy the book
  3. Finish the book

Our advice:

  • Don’t stop and study every little thing. Study the things you want to study, but only at the end of a chapter.
  • If you don’t understand a word, you can look it up…but you also have our permission to skip it if you don’t need to know the word to understand the whole story.
  • Stop reading the book if you’re not enjoying it! Life is too short to read things that you don’t like. There are great books out there for everyone. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it.
  • Remember that Amazon takes refunds on Kindle books within seven days.

Video transcript

You made it to Lesson 2! You’re still with us, you must really want to get in the mindset of reading a book, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this video. Let me start out by saying that I think people start reading books in English with a bad attitude. Not a negative attitude; just, a not-very-helpful attitude. The reason I say that, is that people expect to be perfect in reading an English book, and they get frustrated when they discover they’re not perfect, when they find words they don’t know, when there are things they don’t understand. Well, hello! The whole point is to not understand everything! If you understood everything, then you wouldn’t be learning.

So listen to me, okay? The purpose of reading a book is NOT to study every paragraph, memorize every unfamiliar word, or even to understand all the word.

The purpose of reading a book—e-book or any other book—is to understand the book, to enjoy the book, and to finish the book. Those are your three objectives: understand the story, enjoy it, and finish it.

Here’s the mistake I made when I first started reading a book in Spanish. Here it is, Charlotte’s web. I underlined every word I didn’t know and I manually looked it up in a paper dictionary. I wrote down the definition right above or below each word in Spanish. Do you know how far I got? Page 27. Of Charlotte’s Web, a book for ten year olds. I got to page 27 using my old method before I gave up. So how did I do on my three objectives? I did understand it, eventually; but I didn’t enjoy it and there are over 200 pages, so I only got about ten percent of the way to finishing the book. That’s an epic fail.

We’re not going to do that, you and I, because we’re going to have the right mindset. First of all, you have my permission to skip over words you don’t know. Don’t tell anyone that, by the way. Don’t tell your teachers; don’t tell your parents. This is just between me and you, but you have my permission to skip words you don’t know. Not every time, but there will be times you can understand the idea of a sentence or paragraph without knowing the definition of a word. In those cases, by all means, look up the word if you want to, but you have my permission not to do so. Remember, the point is to understand the book, enjoy the book, and finish the book. You can do that without knowing every single word, so you have my permission not to study every single word.

Second of all—this is critical, this is important! You have my permission to give up on a book after the first chapter if you don’t like it. If you don’t like it, please just stop reading it. Life is too short and literature is too big, to be reading a book you don’t like. I just gave up on a book myself in English and I’m not looking back. Remember our objectives: to understand a book, to enjoy it, and to finish it. If you don’t like it after the first chapter, stop reading it because you’ll never meet the second objective, enjoying it. And by the way, Amazon takes refunds on Kindle products. You can’t return Kindle books forever, but you can return the book within seven days. I’ll link to the refund policy below this video.

Finally, this is about learning, so you’re going to want to study some of what you’re reading. But I want you to keep in mind that you can’t study every unfamiliar thing. Sometimes you just need to absorb them; let your eyes see them, pick out the patterns, things like that. If you stop and study every small thing you don’t understand, then you’ll never finish the book—and you certainly won’t enjoy it. It’s a good idea to read the chapter first to enjoy it and then go back and study parts of the chapter later. Otherwise, you’ll break your momentum.

Remember that I said that you have to enjoy a book, so that’s where we’re going next. In the next lesson, we’ll talk about how to choose the best book for you.