There are a myriad of things to say. In light of this, let me offer three tips/strategies for reading literature.
First, knowing the genre always helps in reading literature. For example, if you are reading history, then there are certain elements that are common in history that you should look for. Knowing these conventions helps in understanding. The same can be said for other genres such as comedy, tragedy, etc.
Second, the simple act of rereading a story is also important. There are many internal allusions that a reader may miss on the first reading. Therefore, when a reader rereads, he or she will be able to find these allusions in greater measure.
Third, knowing something about the historical context of the story also help in comprehension. For example, if you are reading Of Mice and Men, knowing something about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl will help you appreciated the context.
Houda Soltani, College teacher,
To appreciate the aesthetics of a literary work, you should have exprimented with character drawing and stylistic figures. How else would one get to Austen's ironies in Pride and Prejudice, for example?
knowing some literary techniques and how to apply them to the story will definitely assist your understanding.