It’s important to know how to read for pleasure even in this day and age of television, cell phones, and social media sites like Twitter. There is a lot of reading going on, but not as much as there was a generation ago. Many people don’t read because they aren’t good readers.
These people have difficulty remembering as much as they should because it is a long, tedious process. A student may have to read something several times before they understand and retain the information.
Why? Schools are supposed to be a place where students learn to read well. Schools make an effort. Many of the students I work with in middle school are 2–3 years behind grade level in reading comprehension.
Television, cell phones, and the Internet are certainly major contributors to this issue, which appears to be getting worse if we don’t improve reading instruction and put more emphasis on the topic.
In part, this is due to the fads in reading instruction, such as phonics and “whole language,” which are promoted by zealots who disregard the necessity of both approaches. Parents who do not set good examples for their children and, of course, children who are too lazy to learn how to read are to blame for children having poor reading skills.
There is still time for those who haven’t mastered the art of reading. I’ve outlined what I believe it takes to read quickly and clearly:
Make a point of concentration on what you’re reading
Everyone should have a specific goal in mind when they read, and they should keep that goal in mind as they go through the process of reading. The advantage of remembering is that it helps the reader stay on task, focus on the most relevant parts of the text, and rehearse continuously as one reads. For one thing, it saves time and effort by focusing on what is important.
In order to identify the purpose, you must be able to choose what you read. When you’re done reading, ask yourself, “What’s the point?” There isn’t much of a problem if the goal is to entertain or pass the time. Other reasons could include but aren’t limited to, you can read scholarships articles here.
As in a school setting, many of us have readings assigned to us. Or, the boss may simply say, “Here,” and hand us a manual. You need to read this,” he said. A teacher or a boss should tell us, “What do you want me to take away from this?” In the absence of such guidance, you should still formulate your best guess as to what you should learn and remember from the readings.
Begin Reading at the Top of the Page
There are some tasks that necessitate only skimming. Headings, images, graphs, tables, and key paragraphs are all important parts of proper skimming (which are usually at the beginning and the end). When reading for a specific purpose, it’s best to read slowly and attentively only the parts that help you achieve your goal.
A cursory glance over even the most complex material is a good place to start. By skimming first, you’ll get a better sense of the document’s overall structure and meaning, which will help you remember specific details when you read it again.
You’ll also get a better sense of where important information is located in the document, which will help you locate it when you read it again.
People who browse the Internet are more likely to skim rather than read. Web devices, such as numbered or bulleted lists, sidebars, graphics, text boxes, and sidebars, are being used more frequently by writers because of the way content is handled on the Internet.
Sadly, the Web style makes it even more difficult to develop good reading habits for in-depth reading because it teaches us to skim rather than read slowly.
Eyes need to move in a controlled manner for in-depth reading. Skimming teaches the eyes to move without restraint, which is counterproductive. When reading long passages, your eyes must move from fixation point to fixation point in a left-to-right sequence in order to retain the meaning.
To make matters worse, the fixations shouldn’t be on single letters or even individual words so much as they should be on multiple words at the same time. Reading-improvement machines that teach students’ eyes to fixate correctly exist, but they are rarely used in schools. Personally, I’ve found that these devices don’t reduce comprehension while speeding up reading.
To be a poor reader, you have to keep track of the letters and their arrangement in each word, which means that your mind is occupied with that task. As a result, they have trouble recalling what they read. There have been countless instances where college students have said things like, “I’ve read that chapter three times and I still can’t answer your questions.”
When I try to elicit thoughtful responses from students, they frequently falter because they are struggling to recall the meaning of what they just read.
Even when asked simple memorization questions, they frequently fail because their attention was drawn solely to the words themselves, preventing them from connecting what they saw with prior knowledge and thereby aiding in recall. Think about the meaning of the words to help you remember what you’ve just read.
As a former teacher, I believe that phonics is essential for students who are just beginning to learn how to read. However, phonics is just the beginning of a solid reading practice plan. Readers eventually need to be able to recognize whole words as complete units and then expand that capability by recognizing groups of words.
Focus on the content that isn’t deliberately skimmed
Try to increase the number of eye fixations per line (on an 8.5′′ width, try to get three or even two per line). This is a skill that must be honed over time. You should first become proficient in reading with five to six fixations per line. Do four per line after that. Then there were three.
Snap your eyes from one point of interest to another (horizontal snaps on long lines, vertical snaps if the whole line in a column can be seen with one fixation).
It takes practice to learn how to do this. A reading center may be able to help if you’re unable to learn on your own.