Is it possible to not lose comprehension when you read faster?
The answer is YES.
Have you ever heard a teacher in your elementary school tell you to read each word carefully? That this is the way to study thoroughly? Do you remember your teacher asking each student to read a little bit of the chapter aloud?
If the purpose is to check for correct pronunciation, that exercise would be helpful. If it is for the purpose of reading for comprehension, that could actually be counter-productive.
How to read for better understanding
I had a professor in English Literature who read the novel aloud in class. Extremely fast. That’s the first time I had ever heard a teacher use this speed. Then I discovered that I was able to understand the ideas better when he read quickly. I think if he were to read slowly, it would not have accomplished the same. When he read aloud, he group phrases, so it’s easier to hear the entire idea in one breath. He must have had great breathing technique! 🙂
Later, when I took a reading course that I found effective, I discovered the same principle. Speed actually HELPS!
Techniques to increase reading speed
In the article Reading faster is easier than you think, you’ll find specific techniques to help you develop this skill. I have shared these techniques with many students, both American and international students. Often, in just 10 minutes, they double their reading speed without losing any comprehension. It sounds magical, but it isn’t. It is actually mechanical, having to do with eye movement and using your hand to guide you.
The article shows you how to calculate your reading speed before you begin, so you can measure yourself from time to time and feel encouraged by your progress as you practice more advanced skills.
It also shows you how to train your eye movement for speed. When you read for comprehension, you don’t move your eyes that quickly, but with the practice, your eyes are familiar with the movement.
Here’s the entire article on Reading faster is easier than you think. Enjoy!
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If you find this blog helpful, here is another one on How to learn word order.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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