Six Ways to Become Fascinated by a “Boring” Text

This article is part of the teaching tip "Five Keys to Helping Students Read Difficult Texts"

There are no uninteresting things in the world, only uninterested people.

~Lord Chesterton  


Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.

~ Gustave Flaubert


Doing Snatches is one way to build anticipation.  Here are some additional ideas:

    1. Ask questions especially “Why? How? What?”
    2. Realize that this topic is so interesting that people have spent their entire professional lives studying it.  Make yourself be curious; make yourself be interested.
  2. Learn more about the topic.  Maybe you don’t know enough to be, curious. 
  3. Predict – try to guess. . .
    1. the answers to your questions,
    2. from a “Snatch” of text what interesting things you might learn from a “Snatch” of text,
    3. where the author is headed—try to second-guess the author.
  4. Find or create an authentic reason/purpose for learning the information: a service, an application, a pressing need, etc.  “To pass a test,” while a survival goal, cannot energize your learning.
  5. Think of yourself as a scholar, a scientist, or an artist and be determined to create new ideas, possibilities and original insights using the text as a springboard.
  6. Integrate your abilities, prior knowledge, opinions, insights, and experiences with what you are reading. (See pp. 108-113.)  Have the goals of using what you gain to transform yourself and to transform others. 



Tip conributed by:
Marné B. Isakson, Ph.D. (
Developer of courses: Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading
Author of Learn More & Read Faster: A Handbook of Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading: A Handbook of Essential Strategies for College Success. 
For more information please contact Taylor Halverson, Teaching and Learning Consultant