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Reading Strategies

Reading Strategies

Reading efficiently by reading intelligently


Good reading strategies help you to read in a very efficient way. Using them, you aim to get the maximum benefit from your reading with the minimum effort. This section will show you how to use 6 different strategies to read intelligently.

Strategy 1: Knowing what you want to know

The first thing to ask yourself is: Why you are reading the text? Are you reading with a purpose or just for pleasure? What do you want to know after reading it?

Once you know this, you can examine the text to see whether it is going to move you towards this goal.

An easy way of doing this is to look at the introduction and the chapter headings. The introduction should let you know at whom the book is targeted, and what it seeks to achieve. Chapter headings will give you an overall view of the structure of the subject.

Ask yourself whether the book meets your needs. Ask yourself if it assumes too much or too little knowledge. If the book isn’t ideal, would it be better to find a better one?

Strategy 2: Knowing how deeply to study the material

Where you only need the shallowest knowledge of the subject, you can skim material. Here you read only chapter headings, introductions and summaries.

If you need a moderate level of information on a subject, then you can scan the text. Here you read the chapter introductions and summaries in detail. You may then speed read the contents of the chapters, picking out and understanding key words and concepts. At this level of looking at the document it is worth paying attention to diagrams and graphs.

Only when you need detailed knowledge of a subject is it worth studying the text. Here it is best to skim the material first to get an overview of the subject. This gives you an understanding of its structure, into which you can fit the detail gained from a full reading of the material. SQ3R is a good technique for getting a deep understanding of a text.

Strategy 3: Active Reading

When you are reading a document in detail, it often helps if you highlight, underline and annotate it as you go on. This emphasizes information in your mind, and helps you to review important points later.

Doing this also helps to keep your mind focused on the material and stops it wandering.

This is obviously only something to do if you own the document! If you own the book and find that active reading helps, then it may be worth photocopying information in more expensive texts. You can then read and mark the photocopies.

If you are worried about destroying the material, ask yourself how much your investment of time is worth. If the benefit you get by active reading reasonably exceeds the value of the book, then the book is disposable.

Strategy 4: How to study different sorts of material

Different sorts of documents hold information in different places and in different ways. They have different depths and breadths of coverage. By understanding the layout of the material you are reading, you can extract useful information much more efficiently.

Reading Magazines and Newspapers:
These tend to give a very fragmented coverage of an area. They will typically only concentrate on the most interesting and glamorous parts of a topic – this helps them to sell copies! They will often ignore less interesting information that may be essential to a full understanding of a subject. Typically areas of useful information are padded out with large amounts of irrelevant waffle or with advertising.

The most effective way of getting information from magazines is to scan the contents tables or indexes and turn directly to interesting articles. If you find an article useful, then cut it out and file it in a folder specifically covering that sort of information. In this way you will build up sets of related articles that may begin to explain the subject.

Newspapers tend to be arranged in sections. If you read a paper often, you can learn quickly which sections are useful and which ones you can skip altogether.

Reading Individual Articles:
Articles within newspapers and magazines tend to be in three main types:

  • News Articles:
    Here the most important information is presented first, with information being less and less useful as the article progresses. News articles are designed to explain the key points first, and then flesh them out with detail.
  • Opinion Articles:
    Opinion articles present a point of view. Here the most important information is contained in the introduction and the summary, with the middle of the article containing supporting arguments.
  • Feature Articles:
    These are written to provide entertainment or background on a subject. Typically the most important information is in the body of the text.

If you know what you want from an article, and recognize its type, you can extract information from it quickly and efficiently.

Strategy 5: Reading ‘whole subject’ documents

When you are reading an important document, it is easy to accept the writer’s structure of thought. This can mean that you may not notice that important information has been omitted or that irrelevant detail has been included. A good way of recognizing this is to compile your own table of contents before you open the document. You can then use this table of contents to read the document in the order that you want. You will be able to spot omissions quickly.

Strategy 6: Using glossaries with technical documents

If you are reading large amounts of difficult technical material, it may be useful to photocopy or compile a glossary. Keep this beside you as you read. It will probably also be useful to note down the key concepts in your own words, and refer to them when necessary.

Usually it is best to make notes as you go. The most effective ways of doing this may be to use Concept Maps.

Key Points

This section shows 6 different strategies and techniques that you can use to read more effectively.

These are:

  • Knowing what you need to know, and reading appropriately.
  • Knowing how deeply to read the document: skimming, scanning or studying.
  • Using active reading techniques to pick out key points and keep your mind focused on the material.
  • Using the table of contents for reading magazines and newspapers, and clipping useful articles.
  • Understanding how to extract information from different article types.
  • Creating your own table of contents for reviewing material.
  • Using indexes, tables of contents, and glossaries to help you assimilate technical information.

Filed under: Reading Skills,

10 Tips to Improve Your Reading Skills

10 Tips to Improve Your Reading Skills

By Jim Allen

In the modern age of information, reading truly is a fundamental survival skill. Here are ten tips that anyone can use to improve their reading skills:

1. You don’t have to be a great reader to get the point.

Some people read fast and remember everything. Others read slowly and take a couple of times to get all the information. It doesn’t matter, really, so long as when you read, you get the information you’re seeking.

2. Know WHY you’re reading.

Are you reading for entertainment or to learn something? Decide why you’re reading before you start and you’ll greatly improve your comprehension and your enjoyment.

3. You don’t need to read everything.

Not every magazine, letter, and email you receive contains information you need. In fact, most of it is simply junk. Throw it away, hit the delete key! Just doing this will double the amount of time you have available to read.

4. You don’t need to read all of what you DO read.

Do you read every article of every magazine, every chapter of every book? If so, you’re probably spending a lot of time reading stuff you don’t need.

Be choosy: select the chapters and articles that are important. Ignore the rest.

5. Scan before you read.

Look at the table of contents, index, topic headers, photo captions, etc. These will help you determine if, a) you have a real interest in this reading, and b) what information you’re likely to get from it.

6. Prioritize your reading.

You can’t read everything all at once (and wouldn’t want to). If it’s important, read it now. If it’s not, let it wait.

7. Optimize your reading environment.

You’ll read faster and comprehend more if you read in an environment that’s comfortable for you.

8. Once you start, don’t stop!

Read each item straight through. If you finish and have questions, go back and re-read the pertinent sections. If you don’t have questions, you got what you needed and are ready to move on.

9. Focus.

Remember, you’re reading with a purpose, so focus on that purpose and the material. If you lose interest or keep losing your place, take a break or read something else. You can keep track of where you are by following along with your hand. This simple technique helps you focus and increase your concentration.

10. Practice!

The more you read, the better reader you’ll become (and smarter, too)! So, feed your mind: read!

Filed under: Reading Skills,

Top 10 Ways to Improve Reading Skills

Top 10 Ways to Improve Reading Skills

by Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Nothing is more important to academic achievement than being a good reader. Parents know their children best and can provide the one-on-one time and attention that will lead them to success in reading. Here is a list of ways to help your children become more effective readers.

1. Set aside a regular time to read to your children every day.
Studies show that regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words. Whether your children are preschoolers or preteens, it will increase their desire to read independently.

2. Surround your children with reading material.
Children with a large array of reading materials in their homes score higher on standardized tests. Tempt your kids to read by having a large supply of appealing books and magazines at their reading level. Put the reading materials in cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms, and even by the TV.

3. Have a family reading time.
Establish a daily 15 to 30 minute time when everyone in the family reads together silently. Seeing you read will inspire your children to read. Just 15 minutes of daily practice is sufficient to increase their reading fluency.

4. Encourage a wide variety of reading activities.
Make reading an integral part of your children’s lives. Have them read menus, roadside signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings, and other practical everyday information. Also, make sure they always have something to read in their spare time when they could be waiting for appointments or riding in a car.

5. Develop the library habit.
Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.

6. Be knowledgeable about your children’s progress.
Find out what reading skills they are expected to have at each grade level. The school’s curriculum will give you this information. Track their progress in acquiring basic reading skills on report cards and standardized tests.

7. Look for reading problems.
Teachers do not always detect children’s reading problems until they’ve become serious. Find out if your children can sound out words, know sight words, use context to identify unknown words, and clearly understand what they read.

8. Get help promptly for reading problems.
Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. The earlier children receive help, the more likely they will become good readers. Make sure your children receive necessary help from teachers, tutors, or learning centers as soon as you discover a problem.

9. Use a variety of aids to help your children.
To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.

10. Show enthusiasm for your children’s reading.
Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Be sure to give them genuine praise for their efforts.

Filed under: Reading Skills,

IMPROVE READING SKILLS

Improve Reading Skills

By Kenneth Beare, About.com Guide

Ask yourself this question: Do I read every word in your own language when I am reading a schedule, summary, or other outlining document?

The answer is most definitely: No! Reading in English is like reading in your native language. This means that it is not always necessary to read and understand each and every word in English. Remember that reading skills in your native language and English are basically the same.

Here is a quick overview of the four types of reading skills used in every language:

Skimming – used to understand the “gist” or main idea Scanning – used to find a particular piece of information Extensive reading – used for pleasure and general understanding Intensive reading – accurate reading for detailed understanding

Skimming

Skimming is used to quickly gather the most important information, or ‘gist’. Run your eyes over the text, noting important information. Use skimming to quickly get up to speed on a current business situation. It’s not essential to understand each word when skimming.

Examples of Skimming:

  • The Newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day)
  • Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail)
  • Business and Travel Brochures (quickly to get informed)

Scanning

Scanning is used to find a particular piece of information. Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans, etc. in order to find the specific details you require. If you see words or phrases that you don’t understand, don’t worry when scanning.

Examples of Scanning

  • The “What’s on TV” section of your newspaper.
  • A train / airplane schedule
  • A conference guide

Extensive reading

Extensive reading is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books. Use extensive reading skills to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you understand each word.

Examples of Extensive Reading

  • The latest marketing strategy book
  • A novel you read before going to bed
  • Magazine articles that interest you

Intensive reading

Intensive reading is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number or fact.

Examples of Intensive Reading

  • A bookkeeping report
  • An insurance claim
  • A contract

Filed under: Reading Skills,

Creative New Year 2014

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Happy New Year 2014

National Book Week, 14-20, Nov.2013

Happy Book Week , My dear Readers !!! Expand your horizon of knoweledge via books........all through.......always....all ways

National Book Week, Nov.14-20, 2013

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World Book DayNovember 20th, 2013
Let this World Book Week bring more goodness in our library use habits !!!

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