IMPROVING READING SPEED
Understanding is the most important aspect of reading, but you will find it helpful if you can also improve your reading speed.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR SPEED
Ø Find something familiar to read
Ø Set the alarm for 10 minutes
Ø Read for 10 minutes at a speed where you understand what you read
Ø Count how many words you read
Ø Divide this number by 10 to find out how many words you can read in a minute
Ø Do this using different texts. If you read less than 200 – 250 words per minute, it is worth trying to increase your speed.
WHAT IS SLOWING DOWN YOUR READING?
q 1. Track with your finger along the line?
q 2. Read out loud or mouth the words?
q 3. Read books from cover to cover?
q 4. Start reading before you have worked out what you need to know, or what you are looking for?
q 5. Read word by word?
q 6. Keep checking back along the line, rereading what you have just read?
q 7. Find that the words seem to jump up off the page or that the text moves or glares?
For each of these problems, there is something you can do to improve matters.
1. Move your finger down the page, directly from top to bottom, to train your eye to move more quickly down the text.
2. Try reading silently, it can help speed up your reading.
3. Work out what you are looking for before you start reading.
4. Work out what you are looking for before you start reading.
5. If a text looks difficult, try reading something simpler on the same subject. Often, a little background knowledge can help.
6. Coloured filters may help glare and “jumping”. Try out different colours. Have your eyes tested. Ask the teacher for a larger photocopy.
There are times when you do have to read slowly; for detailed instructions, for formulae and equations, and for close analysis of texts.
ACTIVITY How do you read?
Give students a short paper to read. The paper should be conventional in that it has an introduction, elaboration and a conclusion.
1. Give readers 10 minutes to read the paper, BUT, interrupt them after 3, and ask them to indicate what the paper is about.
2. In pairs, ask students to discuss briefly what they have found out. (5 minutes)
3. Individually, students continue reading, taking notes, underlining, annotating if they wish.
4. In pairs, students highlight the main issues.
5. In fours, students explain to each other:
o How they read the paper
o Why they read it that way
o Why they took notes
o How did they take notes (underlining, annotating etc)
6. Students report between groups on how they could get the most information out of the text in the shortest time.