What Are Your Reading Modi Operandi?

Hello, You! ๐Ÿ˜

Now, you might be wondering what I’m going on about today. Why is this guy bringing his job jargon to his blog all of a sudden? I didn’t intend to call it as it is but every other logical title seemed to insinuate something that I wasn’t referring to (e.g. How Do You Read? What Are Your Reading Strategies? Do You Know How to Read, Bro?). So I went with this one instead:

What’s your reading modi operandi?

For those who don’t know, a modus operandi (often shortened to M.O.) refers to a person’s behaviourial pattern in the criminal business. It alludes to how they proceed to commit a crime and englobes various steps that leads to the criminal act. This terminology is highly utilized in all kinds of crime fiction and is incredibly popularized in shows and movies throughout time but it remains a concept that is still employed in police organizations.

But what are reading modi operandi? I’m creating this concept to talk about the things you do to get yourself in your reading groove. Over the past years of reading, I’ve come to notice that there are things that help me read better and that these things are actually never the same from one person to another. The reason why this came to mind was when my girlfriend decided to look into speed reading and discovered some tactics there that I suddenly incorporated to my own modus operandi only to realize how incredibly useful they actually are!

Today, I’m here to share with you my secret in hopes that you’ll share yours afterward! ๐Ÿ˜‰


POSTURE.

Imagine that. You’d think that any reading position is good for reading. Think again. The only true optimal reading position for me is the student posture. If I’m not sitting straight, legs crossed or not, I won’t achieve my true potential. This is mostly due to 1) I have been a student for more years than I can count and still am as a PhD candidate, making it unconsciously a position were I learn faster, and 2) any other inclined or laying down position will have me falling asleep super fast. I’m a night owl who doesn’t sleep much. Don’t put me in a position that will just knock me out! ๐Ÿ˜›

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PILLOWS.

There. I said it. When I want to read, I always look for a pillow to put between me and my book. Usually, it’s big enough to elevate my arms and make it even easier to stay in a reading position for long periods of time. Mostly, the pillow just makes me feel comfy and happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

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SOUND.

Now, I’m still trying to figure this one out. So far, there are two possibilities. Either there’s classical instrumental music (e.g. Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, etc.) or it’s as quiet as the grave. Both allow me to focus on the words and lets me immerse myself into the story.

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PENCIL.

This is the gamechanger item that I was speaking of. And there’s a science to it! See. The eye skips from one word to another when you’re naturally reading because it doesn’t have a moving object to guide it. Yet your brain is able to process information WAY faster than that reading speed. The pencil allows you to have THAT moving object. You simply use the tip of it as your reading guide and read at a pace that allows you to capture each word without losing its meaning. When it comes to speed-reading, which I’m not aiming for, you simply increase the speed at which you trace words per line as your brain adapts to it over time and, at some point, you’ll get the desired result as you read faster and process just as well. However, I maintain my usual reading speed with this technique but cut out all the nasty hesitations, the re-reads, the drowsiness that kills my flow, etc. It’s magic! Try it! ๐Ÿ˜€

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BREAKS.

This is another revelation that I’ve come to better understand thanks to my girlfriend’s recent use of it: the pomodoro technique. I never had a name for it but it makes a lot of sense. What does it entail? You focus for a set amount of time (e.g. 50 minutes) to execute a task, in this case, reading, and then follow it up with a break (e.g. 10 minutes). I’m not one who loves to sit in the same place for countless hours, especially when I love to stay active (oh, the good ol’ days when I could still ball…) and so I naturally always end up taking a couple of minutes to do something else before getting back to my task. This helps a lot in not getting tired of what you’re doing and to maximize your concentration instead of being all over the place with it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Will these all work for you? You tell me. I just know that I’ve tried a lot of things in the past years to make my reading time better in some way. Whether it was note-taking (it didn’t last long before I found it too demanding, although it was a very efficient strategy for recalling stuff and writing reviews) or reading while walking (I don’t know, I thought maybe it would force me to focus reeeeal hard on the words???) but the elements I’ve mentioned earlier have been working fantastically for me so far.


Now, tell me, what is your reading modi operandi? ๐Ÿ˜

TILL NEXT TIME,

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56 comments

  • The pencil observation is really interesting! I suppose it makes sense though. Sometimes I get into phases where I have to re-read the same page because I haven’t at all processed it – I wonder if the pencil can solve that problem too? Either way, will try it and report back!

    Great content as always! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right? I love how it helps in terms of eye movement, allowing the brain to process at a speed that it is naturally able to! I often find myself taking more time reading certain words because of eye movement that skips at a random pace hahah I hope it works well for you though! Thank you so much for reading, Jacqueline! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • Nothing special for me. I’m just glad if I can stay awake long enough to get through a couple of chapters! I find I can focus more early in the morning, so I usually get up 2 hours before I have to leave for work. Does that sound crazy? I don’t set an alarm, I’m just a natural early-riser. I enjoy reading during this quiet time of the morning with that first cup of coffee. The problem is, if I try reading for more than 30 minutes after returning home from work in the evening, I usually start to fall asleep. Maybe because I get up so early? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your tips!

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    • Hahahah I feel you there. There are times where I’m surprised if I can even get through a chapter without dozing off. ๐Ÿ˜› I am impressed at you waking up that early to read before work! That says a lot about how dedicated you are to reading! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • Well, once again you compel us to think about actions we consider as natural as breathing! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Intriguing…
    I can’t say I have any established M.O. for reading: I can enjoy a book either sitting on a couch, or standing in a packed subway (and in the latter case, reading helps me forget the rest of humanity…), but thinking about it I can say that the optimal situation is represented by a comfortable seat and some background (and unobtrusive) music. A cup of tea makes it all even more enjoyable ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hahahahah I do like to get us to reflect on things that we take for granted! ๐Ÿ˜› I also love reading when I commute by bus or subway, even if it’s not optimal reading hahah And yes! I love a good hot drink to accompany a reading seance. Suddenly, I just want to read. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  • A sitting posture is best for me, but I can read lying down (thank goodness kindles are so light!). No background noise. And no more than 2hrs at a time for me. Then it is break time.

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  • Love this post! Pencil thing works for me as well. I do read with breaks a lot but if the book is really great I can read it in one night, in one sitting (lying or sitting doesn’t matter) with only bathroom breaks. As I said position doesn’t matter to me and I prefer to read in silence if I really want to remember things and have full concentration otherwise I can read with noise around as well.

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  • I don’t know that I’ve ever given this much thought, I just do it. I can read just about anywhere, but thinking about it there are definitely some places and times that are better than others. I suppose I’m most comfortable sitting in a cushioned chair, often crosslegged, sometimes with a pillow to raise the book but sometimes without. I prefer it to be completely silent, no background music. Even instrumental stuff, like classical, I just get too into the music. As others have mentioned, I like having coffee or tea nearby. And I also take breaks. It’s interesting, I’ve heard of the pomodoro technique in various contexts over the years but never thought about it in relation to reading. It makes sense, though. The pencil idea I’ve never tried. I’ll have to give that a go one of these days, though I may need to find something less likely to mark up the book if my fingers slip (which they will). ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hahah that’s what I think everyone does too. They just do it! ๐Ÿ˜› I just like to break down those things that we often take for granted and this came up! I love that you too utilize pillows and read cross-legged! We aren’t that different after, O’bearded wise photographer! ๐Ÿ˜€ I also understand how music can actually be distracting. I think I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ve made my brain focus and block out ambient noise somehow hahah I guess, instrumental music serves as a tempo-setter for me and that’s how I’ve gotten used to it being there. Same here for the pomodoro technique. I find it pretty cool that it can be adapted to just about any task, including reading! As for the pencil trick, I use something with a cap or an unsharpened led pencil. The idea is not to mark the book hahahaha As for slipping… Well… For the time being, I find that the use of a pencil also forces me to stay awake and focused. And that’s key for someone who can easily doze off if given the proper circumstances! ๐Ÿ˜›

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  • I’ve never really thought about my reading MO before, but now you’ve got me thinking! I read in bed about 99 percent of the time, sitting up and reading just doesn’t feel like I’m relaxing, and when I read for pleasure, I need to relax. Also, I need silence when I read, no music at all. Even instrumental music is distracting to me:-)

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    • See! That is so interesting! We’re often told not to do things in bed because our brain associates bed to sleep and it deters us from having good sleep when we do all kinds of activities there hahahah But I won’t lie that reading in bed sounds so relaxing! ๐Ÿ˜› I do it anyways before bed hahahah

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  • I used to be able to read listening to metal… now i listen to what milou has playing, either some nice asmr or a adiomachine-ish playlist with some movie scores in the mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t really have an established routine… music yes, often, and then usually instrumental, but not only – but usually something I already know, not to be absorbed by the words too much. And laying down is dangerous, my eyelids tend to get heavy as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reading while walking? Another reason why you’re insane. I’m glad you came to your senses.
    Taking notes – very helpful for recalling things later, but it’s rather time-consuming and can snap you out of the “zone” too much.

    Position – I remember reading in all sorts of different positions as a kid. Now that I’m older and my body screams at me if I don’t move in certain ways, I too, prefer to sit. I don’t use a pillow, though.

    Sound? Absolute silence. Depending on the state of my brain, sometimes I can tolerate white noise and/or classical music, but others I cannot.

    Breaks are a necessity. Even if to move so my body doesn’t get stiff.

    There was a time when I used a pencil but found myself reading too fast and missing too much of the substance. Since I no longer have to cram chapters and chapters for school, I have the luxury to just enjoy reading at a comfortable for me pace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha I had to put something ludicrous up there. Although, in the summer, I can, sometimes, read while walking. ๐Ÿ˜€ Exactly. Note-taking takes me out of the zone too easily. It quickly made me drop the little project… Hahahaha I really don’t look forward to the day where I’d be limited to one position because my body says no. ๐Ÿ˜› I like the idea of absolute silence. It just lets the words resonate within you and to let your imagination go wild! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I understand that issue with the pencil. It’s why I remain careful as to the pacing so that I always understand what I read. Having the pencil also forces me to stay mentally active and awake and not dose off! That’s key for me hahahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • I love when you go all criminal jargon on us Lashaan ( especially ow that my man is on a Bones binge watch LOl). I need silence to read and…I readwalk! So I am moving while reading, best combo for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I feel like I’ve gained some brain cells just from reading this post ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s so interesting to see how readers can basically manipulate their environment for maximum effect. It reminds me a lot of the study techniques I’d use at university, especially the pomodoro technique. Maybe I should try adding that into my reading routine.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Woah! Love this post, Lashaan! I don’t really have an MO. I’m just happy to find time to read – whether in bed, couch, bathroom (oops! LOL); in whatever position, be it standing, lying down, with or without pillows/pencils, sound or no sound (no music for me though, TV yes), etc I didn’t know you’re a PhD student! What’s your major, if you dont mind me asking ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah that works too, Jee! Finding time to just read is already something not easy to do for many of us and it’s probably too much to ask of ourselves to find all those ideal conditions that allow us to read even more peacefully and wholly! ๐Ÿ˜›

      I’ve been studying in criminology since my bachelor degree and am doing my PhD in that field of study! I also work as a crime preventionist in a police organization. My time is prettyyyy booked as you can see hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • I’m all for the pillows and the pencil – sometimes. I usually use a highlighter, actually, because I highlight a lot when reading; I only use it as a guide when the book has me at the edge of my seat and I’m speeding to learn what happens next. Can’t do the instrumental music. Makes me daydream too much. Silence is better or the sound of nature outside.

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    • Pretty cool that the highlighter has a double functionality in your case! As someone who doesn’t write in my books, that’s definitely a huge plus for anyone else! ๐Ÿ˜€ As for daydreaming, I totally understand hahahah So interesting how some people love music in the background while others can’t do it while reading! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for sharing!

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  • I’m usually on the couch with my reading pillow (those lovely little guys with the arms), lots of blankets, one of the dogs snuggled up and the TV on in the background as a kind of white noise that I block out, yet still require. I’ll switch is up every now and again but this is my go-to.

    Liked by 1 person

  • That is so interesting about the pencil thing. I’m going to have to give that a try sometime. I also like the 50 minutes of focus followed by a 10 minute break. I’ve tried that with my writing, but I was trying 2 hours on, and then a 15-20 minute break, but found that I rarely could focus for the full 2 hours like I wanted to, so the 50 minutes you mentioned sounds way more attainable for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My reading habits are all over the place. Sometimes I sit up, sometimes I lay down, sometimes I like it to be quiet, other times no amount of noise will stop me. lol I do notice if my husband is reading, he always lays on our giant beanbag with a blanket and listens to relaxing ambient music.

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    • I find it so effective when you want to be focused and fully immersed! No hesitation, fully in the zone, ready to tackle a bunch of pages in a consistent flow! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I honestly think you can achieve even better results if you reduce it to 50-10. I mean, if you’re in the zone, once again, you can keep on going and go on a break later, of course! ๐Ÿ˜›

      Hahahah your husband knows what’s up!!! ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve come to realize that a lot of us don’t stick to one modus operandi and just go with whatever they feel like doing too hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting how habits change over time… Since (almost) all my “reading” is done via audiobooks, I don’t have to think about these issues. So you will find me “reading” whilst doing grocery shopping, exercise, housework or puzzle games. When I from time to time read more serious stuff like science books, I’ll be in an upright student position armed with highlighter and pen (yes, I write notes in my books! ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜)

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    • We won’t be talking about the points you lose by writing notes in books!!! Just kidding. I find it cool that some people are able to effectively do it though. And you’re right. Audiobook listeners don’t even need to worry about their modus operandi! Do you personally keep your stories at a normal speed or do you modulate it according to certain factors though? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • Hahaha, I thought you’d probably want to have words with me, when I told you I write in my books! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The only time I’ve sped up an audiobook was when a narrator was quite awful and another blogger recommended speeding up. Normally, I don’t see the point. I know some people find it annoying that it takes more time to get through a book on audio compared to reading it, but since I always listen whilst doing other stuff, I don’t really see what is the rush.

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  • Ahahah great post Lashaan! You can thank your girlfriend for the part she played in these realizations as well! ๐Ÿ˜Š It’s super interesting though, I use the “pencil” technique when reading on a computer, at work for instance, to read faster and be more focused, but I never actually realized that it worked (don’t know if that makes much sense) ๐Ÿ˜‚
    I have always admired people who could read in a busy environment because I’m completely unable to focus – I am barely able to focus if someone is sitting silently in the same room… ๐Ÿ˜‚ so I really understand the need for silence or instrumental music!

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    • Thanks, Juliette! Hahahah indeed, she plays a huge role in the ideas that I came up with for this post. ๐Ÿ˜› I totally understand! I’ve seen people throughout my life just swinging a pencil around as they read and I think many of them don’t realize how much it actually helps!!! I used to be someone who preferred absolute silence for any academic or reading activity but I find that I just grew to ignore my environment and focus on my task over time. It’s definitely easier when it’s a quiet and empty room but life doesn’t and probably won’t always allow that! ๐Ÿ˜›

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