By Tarun Patel
Improve Your Reading Skills
“Reading is to mind what exercise is to body.” -Richard Steele)
Undoubtedly, Reading helps to develop and improve other skills. Reading enriches our knowledge bank and leads us to a world of better understanding and healthy relationship. The primary function of reading is to inform instruct, educate, entertain and persuade others to do good deeds. The renowned essayist Bacon has rightly said in one of his essays ‘Of Studies‘ that “Reading maketh a full man” and “studies serves for delight, for ornament and for ability.” It is quite necessary for a reader to make reading purposeful, meaningful, pleasurable and interactive as well.
Reading opens the doors of knowledge and explores the world of communication. It has been very rightly said that ‘those who read, lead the world.’ So to lead the world through communication one has to be a good reader. In order to have good command over other skills, one has to be an active reader. Reading involves not only physical reorganization of worlds but also interpretation of ideas symbolized by written or printed language as well.
Effective reading helps to boost confidence level of an individual. Reading is a very dynamic process in which the reader tries to interact with the written material to infer the meaning but at the same time reading is a very critical and complex process. So reading should be executed carefully otherwise the purpose of reading may not be achieved.
Apply PSQ5R in Reading
Here P stands for Purpose, S for Surveying, Q for Questioning and 5R denotes Read selectively, Recite, Reduce, Reflect and Review.
Purpose: A good reader knows well and remains aware about the purpose of his/her reading. For this a reader should ask himself/herself why he/she is reading? – With a purpose or pleasure. So connect the ideas on the page to what you already know and select a reading material according to the purpose of reading.
Surveying: A prompt survey should be done to select the appropriate reading stuff. After selecting such a reading material a good reader will focus on the features and ideas of the passage. (Central theme or subject).
Questioning: While reading a reader should ask questions based on 5W&1H (What, Why, When, Where, Who and How). Questioning will be helpful in understanding and using information comprehensively. Answering should be positive and quick in nature.
Read Selectively: Reading does not mean to read every written material. A good reader will select a reading material according to his/her liking, interest, utility etc. A good reader will look for the ideas and information that will meet his/her objectives.
Recite: A good reader should recite the answers to the questions by using words as much as possible. A good reader will use both forms of reading i.e. silent and reading aloud. Reading aloud is relevant at primary level and demands less attention to comprehension whereas silent reading helps to increase speed in reading and to develop concentration.
Reduce : To maintain the speed of reading a reader has to reduce the length of a paragraph. So a reader has to prepare a brief outline of the content. A ideal state of reducing a lengthy passage is 1/3 of the original text.
Reflect: Reading does not end only by completing a paragraph or story. The content of reading material directly or indirectly affects the psychology of a reader. Impact of reading can be felt on a person’s personality. So a good reader will connect the knowledge gained by him/her with his/her prior knowledge and personal experience and organize and reorganize it.
Review: Review is very necessary in reading. Review can be done immediately after some time and/or before reading out a text. It helps in mental organization and in building memory.
Be careful while reading: Do’s and Don’ts of Reading
Read early in the day: This will allow you to concentrate and retain more information than studying later at night when you may be tired and develop reading as a habit.
Take short breaks: Try to read for 35 to 40 minutes at a time and then take a short break. If you have this as your reading goal it can serve as a motivator in trying to really focus on the material at hand.
Find a quiet place: The environment that surrounds you is very important.Find a suitable and less noise polluted place where you can absorb yourself in reading as distractions will hamper the quality reading. So avoid public places
Use library and dictionary: A library is especially useful as you have access to many other books which can help you with your reading. Having a dictionary at hand enables you with any tricky vocabulary that will help you understand the text and improve your overall reading skills.
Do practice and practice only: The good writer is a good reader. Hence, if you are interested in writing, you need to practice on reading. By reading you enrich your knowledge and also gained vocabulary to put into your writing.
Make notes: Make notes while reading, it will be very helpful for better understanding of the content and it serves as an important record.
- Do not read with lips and pen/pencil, it may hamper the speed of your reading.
- Do not read aloud (when it is not required), it may distract and divert attention of others.
- Do not read under dull /dark light, it may cause harm to your eye sight.
- Simply do not read when you are not in mood.
- Do not take reading as burden rather than enjoy it.
- Do not waste your time, energy and money in reading stuff that you do not find interesting.
- Do not feel hesitation in consulting the dictionary or expert in the field while reading hard reading stuff.
ELT Articles , ELTWeekly Issue#19 , Free ELT Article