Improve Reading Speed
85% of all college assignments involve reading – textbooks, outside reading assignments, and research for essays and papers. You just can’t get around it. And your ability to read fast and with good comprehension will be a major factor in your academic success in college. If you struggle with reading, you already know this:
- Your peers read faster than you do
- You find yourself having to read something two-three times in order to understand what the author is saying
- You have a tendency to forget what you have read pretty quickly after reading it
- You have a tough time picking out what is important in what you read
- You spend so much time focusing on the words you are reading that you lose sight of what is being said.
Let’s take a look at the process and the some strategies that will help you improve your reading skills.
There are two aspects to reading, both of which involve the brain.
- De-Coding: This is the process by which your eye sends a set of symbols (letters) to your brain, and your brain recognizes the pattern of those symbols and remembers the word that pattern makes.
- Assignment of meaning to the word: This part of reading comes from your memory. If you have seen the word before and read the word before, then your brain will activate that memory and you will understand the meaning of the word. If it is an unfamiliar word, your brain will try to put the sounds of the letters together for de-coding purposes, but if there is no prior experience with the word, then other strategies will have to be used in order for you to get the meaning.
Other Aspects of Reading
Reading is not just de-coding and assigning meaning to words. It is the ability to read words in sentences, to put them together and to assign meaning to whole groups of words together. This is called reading comprehension – understanding what you read, so that, if you had to, you could put it in your own words.
Another aspect of reading is determining what is important to read and remember and what is not. This is called reading discernment, and it is one of the most critical reading skills for students.
If You Need to Improve Your Reading Skills – Some Key Strategies
- Read for pleasure. If you are not reading for pleasure, then you absolutely have to begin to do so. Most people who do this find that reading is a good hobby. Even if it is comic books that you enjoy reading, do it. The more you read, the greater your vocabulary will become and the more you will practice your ability to comprehend what you read.
- Learn to scan. Here’s how your friends are doing it. They are looking at a page of a textbook and scanning for the words in bold and italics. These are the terms and phrases that matter. Then they focus in on those bold and italicized words and read the content directly surrounding them. And it’s a good idea to highlight the important content surrounding those words.
- Review your lecture notes and learn to highlight. At the end of a day of classes, go over your notes. Read them carefully and highlight the important points. When you have to re-read them for test prep, you will only focus on the highlighted text.
- Get audio versions of your text books. Some people do not process visual content well. They need content presented orally as well. This has nothing to do with intelligence – every brain operates a bit differently. And students who do not process visually have always had difficulty with reading comprehension. So get that audio version and read along as you listen. You reading will improve over time. Another way to do this is to turn the closed captioned function on for your TV viewing. Read the words along with listening to what is being said. And most computers now have a voice function, so that if you are reading something, you can turn on the audio too.
- Do not allow distractions while you read academic assignment content – no music with lyrics being sung, no TV, no conversations going on. You have to focus completely on the words in front of you, not on any words that are drifting in from other places.
- When you read difficult stuff, read it out loud. This will really help your concentration and focus. And try to re-phrase what you have read in your own words. This will really aid your comprehension.
Reading Improvement is Really a Matter of Developing Alternative Strategies
If you have had a reading problem throughout your schooling, then it will not likely be “fixed” quickly. But you can get better at this, and you can use the strategies above to get better over time.
In the meantime, however, assignments continue to pile up. Our services of research and writing essays and papers may relieve you of a large chunk of your reading tasks, and will certainly help you to keep up with your coursework. Contact GetAcademicHelp.com today, and we can discuss your needs.