Katie Harnett illustration

For me, summer vacation = summer reading.

But….I’ve got way too many books to read this summer, and not enough time. And I’m starting to freak out about it. Like many dyslexics, reading is something I dearly want to do — but find very tiring. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always a pleasure to read on vacation.

Given that, I started looking for advice on how to achieve my summer reading goals. Something more concrete than just “read 5 pages a night” or “read something light.”

Reading less, reading smarter

I stumbled across How To Retain More From The Books You Read In 5 Simple Steps by Darius Foroux, and his words were an epiphany for me:

“You see, it’s about what you do with your knowledge, not about how much you have. Don’t read more. Read smarter.” ~Darius Foroux

He says that we should have a strategy when we read (something I’ve never heard before). And his five steps seem tailor made for readers with learning and attention issues:

How to retain more from the books you read in 5 simple steps

By Darius Foroux

1. Have a purpose: Only read books that teach you how to overcome your current challenges.

2. See yourself as a teacher: Don’t just ‘read’ a book. No, devour a book and talk about it with others.

3. Highlight & Make Mental Connections: The more connections you make between pieces of information in your brain, the better you remember it. I do that by making a lot of notes.

4. Visualize and imagine: What I like to do when I read is to have imaginary conversations about the stuff that I’m reading.

5. Immediately apply one piece of knowledge: There’s nothing sadder than a well-read person who holds himself captive by the four walls of his room. You must go out there and apply things you learn.

This is a verbatim summary. Read the complete, unedited list.

Foroux links to an interesting 2015 study by MIT about rewiring the brain, which is worth a look.

My summer reading strategy

I’m using Foroux’s list to prioritize my summer reading. I’m really interested in #1 – Have a purpose. I’m going to choose books that help me overcome a challenge or achieve something. And I’m definitely intrigued by #5 – Immediately apply one piece of knowledge (I’ll let you know how this works out!).

I have divided my pile of books into 3 manageable sections as follows:

1. My first priority is to finish reading Kyo Maclear’s wonderful memoir, Birds Art Life. I have been reading it on and off for a year. It’s relatable to my life right now, and I have much to learn from her experiences. As an added bonus — it’s full of illustrations.


2) Terence Dickinson’s NightWatch is definitely applied reading – I’m taking it to the cottage so we can read it together as a family and be amateur astronomers this summer.


3) I have a huge stack of books about dyslexia and neurodiversity to catch up on. OK, so I need to read all of these for obvious reasons. But that’s an impossible goal, so I will aim to complete two in this stack…if not this summer, than by the end of the year.


Watch this space for book reviews coming soon.

Happy summer!


Posted by lostandfoundbooks

I am unable to withstand the gravitational pull of bookstores and anything vintage. I am passionate about art, books, coffee, public radio (CBC), social justice and writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.