Despite smart phones, television, and social media, traditional reading is still an important skill.
Apart from the proliferation of modern-day communication systems and an acclaimed preference for videos, one reason that many people don’t read much is that they don’t read well. For them, it is slow, hard work and they don’t remember as much as they should. Students, for example, may have to read something several times before they understand and remember what they read. Some read mainly because of tests papers and exams and the end of the academic session. There are claims that middle-school teachers complain that many students are 2–3 years behind grade level in reading proficiency.
The problem that television, smartphones, and the Web are contributing to this problem, will apparently get worse if there is no emphasis on how to improve reading habit.
Some of the blame can be placed on unprofessional reading teaching, the parents who set poor examples and, of course, on the learner who is too lazy to learn how to read well.
Well, it is not too late. Here’s what it takes to read with good speed and comprehension.
Read with Purpose:
Have a purpose for reading and think about how that purpose is being fulfilled during the actual reading. This helps the reader to stay on task, to focus on the more relevant parts of the text, and to rehearse continuously as one reads. This also saves time and effort because relevant items are most attended.
Identifying the purpose should be easy if you freely choose what to read. Just ask yourself, “Why am I reading this?” If it is to be entertained or pass the time, then there is not much problem. When you’re handed a manual to read, ask, “What do you want me to learn from this?” In the absence of such guidance, you should still formulate your best guess about what you should learn and remember from the reading.
Some reading tasks require no more than skimming. Proper skimming requires putting an emphasis on the headings, pictures, graphs, tables, and key paragraphs which are most times at the beginning and the end. Depending on the purpose, you should slow down and read carefully only the parts that contribute to fulfilling the reading purpose.
Even material(s) that have(s) to be studied carefully should be skimmed first. The benefits of skimming first are that it primes the memory, making it easier to remember when you read it the second time, orients the thinking, so you to know where the important content is in the document and creates an overall sense for the document, which in turn makes it easier to remember certain particulars.
Get the Mechanics Right:
For in-depth reading, the eyes need to move in a disciplined way. Skimming actually trains eyes to move without discipline. When you need to read carefully and remember the little prints, the eyes must move from one fixation point to the next in a left- to right-sequence. Moreover, the fixations should not be on individual letters or even single words, but rather on several words per fixation.
How much do you read?
There is reading fast, and then there is reading lots. A combination of the two has been recommended as the best way to supercharge your reading routine, although, each is valuable on its own. In this sense, a desire to read more might simply mean having more time to read, and reading more content—books, magazines, articles, blog posts—in whole.
How fast do you read?
One of the obvious shortcuts to reading more is to read faster. That’s likely the first place a lot of us would look for a quick win in our reading routine.
So, how fast do you read?
According to Staples, an online test reading platform, the average adult reads 300 words per minute. In a recent reading test, it showed data on how different demographics stack up in words per minute.
- Third-grade students = 150 words per minute
- Eight grade students = 250
- Average college student = 450
- Average “high level exec” = 575
- Average college professor = 675
- Speed readers = 1,500
- World speed reading champion = 4,700
Do you want to do it manually by timing yourself, or you prefer to take any online test? Go ahead and practice until you become better.
How well or not do you read? What plans do you have to improve? Do share with us in the comment section.