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Reading methods

Reading daily news method

Disregard redundant information to save time now.

News is redundant: previewed yesterday...detailed today...summed up tomorrow.

You use the "reading news method", when you are read whether from a report, newspaper, magazine or newsletter, skip what you already know. Make sure to you get the new information you need.

Look for the most information to match purpose for reading. A strong purpose immediately increases speed reading and comprehension. Be clear about what you want, then quickly search to find it. Don't just read for the sake of reading unless you have chosen to pass leisure time.

Take just 10-20 minute in the morning to review the news. This time constraint gently forces you to get focused. Come back in the evening to get whatever you "have to" or "want to." You may discover it to be ancient history by evening.

Reading newspapers method

Read headlines and first paragraphs only.

Review headlines and select articles you want to read based on interest or purpose for reading. Read the first paragraph to preview the article.

Reporters present 80% of the key information in the opening paragraph. The subsequent supporting text should be read only as needed. Follow this strategy:

Ask yourself what other specific details you want. Let it go if there are none.

Skim the article for the desired details. "Dip" into the article and read those paragraphs. Don't read all the words unless you have the luxury of unlimited time.

When finished with an article, go on to the next. This whole process should not take more than 10-15 minutes.

Close reading method

Close reading is the essence of the academic experience. It aims at the mastery of material with full retention of details. It divides into a number of separate steps, each vital, but ends as a whole.

Before reading a difficult piece of writing, take a few moments to close the eyes and relax while taking two or three deep breaths. Ask yourself that you can read with full concentration, recognize key information, and achieve high comprehension quickly to accomplish the needs. Believe you can, and you will.

This may simply sound like "positive mental attitude." Yet if you do not purposefully affirm the positive, you may be shutting off your true capacities by subtle anxieties about the task.

For example, if the material is dense and difficult to read, any anxiety about getting through it can cause lowered performance. The secret is to see the material simply as new and different, not dense and difficult...and be relaxed about it. Early confusion can create curiosity that guides you to search for and recognize the information you need. The comprehension and overall reading performance can increase--all with just a few seconds of preparation.

Reading to learn method

Although many of us believe reading is a passive process we couldn't be more mistaken. Reading is actually a highly complex process of interaction between the reader and the text. Reading is the processing of information. To any text we bring our own store of general information based on our cultural, educational and personal experiences and normally some specific knowledge of the topic about which we are reading.

We also possess a linguistic competence which includes knowledge of the words, the grammar of the text and the rhetorical patterns and linguistic conventions which characterize different types of texts. For example, news stories, poetry and research reports are all distinctly recognizable text types or genres.

When we read we have a particular purpose in mind and in most cases we have a motivation to read, for instance looking up a timetable to catch a train to Bathurst on Friday to attend a friend's wedding. However, we use different strategies to assist us in our reading according to the purpose. We would not read a newspaper the same way as we would read a Physics chapter or a poem.

There are different types of reading "styles" and we make choices about the most appropriate style according to our purpose. Skimming involves moving our eyes rapidly over the page to get the gist of what the text is about. This skill can be used to skim a particular book or article to see if it is useful. This technique is used to judge material after rapid inspection.

Two approaches to help you learn to skim are described below.  

  1. Scanning is the strategy we use when searching for a specific piece of information such as dates or names. This kind of reading is particularly useful when you are researching a topic. You can use this strategy to check through catalogues, scan a contents page and index to see if a particular item is mentioned. Check the abstract or the introduction or conclusion of a chapter/article for key words to see how relevant the text is to your purpose.
  2. Intensive reading is the style we employ when we want to gain a detailed understanding of the information contained in the text. Extensive reading is the term used to describe the strategies used for reading longer texts either for pleasure or for information. The full range of strategies, skimming, scanning and reading for detail are employed by the reader according to the individual text and interest in the various parts.

The reading style we employ to any text is dependent upon the type and content of the text as well as our purpose in reading. It's important to use these strategies appropriately and flexibly for maximum benefit.

Following are a number of exercises to practice some of these strategies.

Exploratory reading method

Exploratory reading is the half-way point between skimming and close reading, and it's similar to pleasure reading. You want to acquaint yourself with the subject, but you do not need complete understanding and retention. Perhaps you are reading supplementary material which you will not be held accountable for, or perhaps you only need to gain general knowledge from a text which will be available if you need to look up specific references. In exploratory reading, read as quickly as possible. Keep your mind on the material. Upon finishing each section of the material, pause to rest the eyes. See if you can summarize what you have just read. The ability to summarize is another skill which can be developed only by practice.

How to tackle reading those huge computer books

Spend some time reading the chapter headings and sub-headings from the index page. Get familiar with the framework of the book, how the book is organized and broken down into it's sub sections, and the overall feel of the book.

Skim the book. What is meant by skimming is to casually read over each page without trying to remember the material. Read a sentence here, a sentence there, look at a diagram here, a diagram there. Look for new terminology that you haven't come across before, look at diagrams and graphs and get a feel for the topic. This will help you get a feel for the new terminology before you have to really study the concepts, as well as help you ascertain the sequence within the book that these new concepts are introduced. Skimming will also help you to locate specific charts, diagrams or tables later on.

After you have skimmed the book, read the entire book through superficially. Only concentrate on the sections of the book that you already know or understand, and completely skip over entries in the book that you don't. This includes entire pages, paragraphs, diagrams etc. Anything that you come across that you don't understand, skip it. Even if it means skipping more than 50% of the book, it doesn't matter. This is just the first reading - so don't get swamped trying to take in something that you don't understand. That can come later.

Lastly, read the book again and this time study the material. This will essentially be the third time that you've looked at the book, and a lot of the content, the structure and the feel of the book will be familiar to you. You should be able to tackle the entire book much easier.

Academic strategy for textbooks and research reports

Determine a purpose. What is it that you want to get from the printed page? Terms and definitions? Problem and solution? Research method? Preview the printed pages to see how the ideas are organized. Read the title, the introduction, and the headings. Read the conclusion if there is one. Where will you find the information that you want for the purpose you set? Point your pacer and start reading the introduction. You can race through that because you already read it.

It becomes the pace car in your race. Read rapidly, only slowing down when you approach something relevant to the purpose you set. After you read a page or a section, mark the lines or words that you want to remember. If you mark text as you read, you are likely to let it become a nervous habit and mark nearly everything until the page becomes a sea of yellow. That slows you down and serves no utilitarian purpose after you finish reading. When you reach the end of the last page, quickly look back at the marked text for a rapid review. This should answer the question or purpose that you set before you started reading.

How to read the reports you love to hate.

In just 11-13 minutes you can get 80% of what you must know from even the most difficult reports. Here's how you can do it now, quickly and easily:

  • At the end of the day, take 2 minutes to glance through the report's layout, table of contents and ending. Decide on 3 things you must know from this report.
  • STOP! Do not read further. Flip the pages in front of your eyes like a fan 2 or 3 times. Make a guess where you will find the answers. Leave it alone until tomorrow.
  • In the morning take no more than 7 minutes to search for and read the key points you felt you had to know.
  • Double check to determine if there are any additional "life or death" needs associated with this report. If yes, spend no more than 4 more minutes now and maybe 5-7 minutes the next day.

How to read a novel method

That is Assigned for a Book Report Book Help: Read any information on the book cover or in the forward that gives you ideas about the content of the story or about the author's reasons for writing the book.

Outside Help: Read articles about the book that are provided in magazines, in newspapers, on the Internet, or at the library reference room. On the other hand, some pamphlets of notes are helpful while others are poorly written. Significance of Chapter One: Read the first chapter slowly and carefully. It should introduce the main character and the problem or conflict that he/she faces. Most of the rest of the book will describe the attempts to deal with this problem. Notice the relationship between the location/setting of the story and the character's problem. The first chapter also develops some character traits and introduces other characters who influence attempts to resolve issues. Time Management: Plan how much of the book you will read at one sitting. If you become seriously restless after thirty minutes, plan to read for thirty minutes at a time. A more mature plan is to read one chapter at a time.

Determine what time of day you will always read. For example, you may prefer to read during the thirty minutes before dinner in the evening. Mark a symbol for the reading assignment on the kitchen wall calendar or on your bedroom wall calendar. Each time you finish reading, draw an X through the symbol on the calendar.

The average student reads a novel at the rate of about 300 words per minute. One page in a paperback novel contains about 350 words. Therefore, if a chapter is about 20 pages long, you may assume that it will take you a little over 20 minutes to read it at a rate of not quite one page per minute. Notes for the Book Report: After you read a chapter, write a summary paragraph about the events in that chapter. Add a comment about anything else you think is significant such as the appearance of a new character. After you finish the last chapter, you should have a summary of the entire book composed of those chapter summaries that you wrote. The wisdom of having read everything now allows you to write a paragraph that introduces the book and a paragraph for the end of your report where you draw some conclusions about how the character attempted to deal with the conflicts and about what the character or the reader learned about human nature during the story.

Study Guides: Some teachers provide a study guide for the book report. If so, read the study guide after you read chapter one and get an idea of any specific details you may need to note. Or they may tell you that you will take a test on the book in order to receive credit for reading it. If so, use the pen as you read to place a check mark in the margin next to any names or facts that you may need to memorize after you finish the book.

Book Marks and Pacers: If you like to use a book mark on the lines as you read, consider placing the marker above the line instead of below it. This allows your eyes to move faster and increases reading speed. Some people may need to place the marker below the line because their eyes need guidance moving from the end of the line to the beginning of the next line.

A pacer such as the finger or a pen point tends to drag your focal point across the line to increase speed and reduce regressing back to re-read text. Regressions are usually emotional rather than necessary for understanding. Of software, sometimes you truly need to re-read. Remember that you are not reading math or science. You are reading fiction and do not need the detailed precision that you do while reading those subjects.

Talk About What You Read: If you are a social learner, it may help if you and a parent or friend read using the same time management schedule. Then you can discuss the story and talk about your opinion of what the character did in that chapter. Talk about whether or not you would you have done the same thing? Was their behavior heroic or foolish? Compare your summary paragraph with your friend's. Perhaps your discussion made you aware that you omitted something important that you can add to your summary.

How read math texts

There are a few lucky folks who seem to learn even the hardest math almost effortlessly. The rest of us can only envy them and try to pick their brains. I doubt that you would be here if you were one of them. That means that you are like the majority of us who cannot learn math without working hard at it. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can get by without working at it. You will only get yourself into more trouble than you can climb out of by mid-semester.

Do the homework exercises. Many professors do not require you to hand in the homework's. The homework are for your benefit, not the professor's. You cannot learn to play the piano without endlessly practicing scales. You cannot make the football team without endlessly running wind sprints. You cannot learn to paint without endlessly painting still life's. Math is no different. The exercises will train your mind and sharpen your intuition. So do the work. It will pay off in the end.

Math books are meant to be read slowly. Evelyn Woods never had to read a serious math text. You cannot speed read it and expect to get any benefit out of it at all. When you encounter a new concept in a math book, do not expect to understand it on the first reading, no matter how carefully your read it. You should go over each difficult paragraph several times. If you are still uncomfortable with it, read ahead a page or so, then come back to the difficult passage. And remember that math books are meant to be read with paper and pencil in hand. Use the paper and pencil to work through any steps that the book skips over.

Always use a pencil to do math homework (and exams). Don't ever try to do math in ink. You will make mistakes. Everybody does. So be equipped to clean them up. If you like mechanical pencils, great. If you prefer the old wooden kind, then sharpen several of them before you start each homework. Make sure you have a clean, usable eraser as well.

Although neatness might not get you extra points, it does help keep you from confusion. Keep your work organized. Skip a line (or even two) between each row of written calculations. You will be surprised at how much easier it will be for you to follow your own work when it's not so densely packed onto the page. Paper is cheap. Don't be afraid to use lots of it.

Your greatest assets are in the class with you. Your classmates are in the same boat as you. Organize a study group. Try to coax at least one of the top students in the class into your group. I recommend that the group size be three to five. Try to meet at least once per week. You will be working together on homework's and comparing your lecture notes.

You don't want to be in the group that works on math in between beers and Monday Night Football plays. Choose as your group-mates those who have a serious attitude.

When you form the group, it might be a good idea to inform your professor that you have done so and who are the group members. You should explain that if all of you turn in the same wrong answer on a particular homework problem, it's because you worked on it together.

In your group activity, take turns. See if you can find a room with a whiteboard. Have one person get up and do a problem on the board, explaining what he or she is doing as the problem unfolds. If the person at the board gets stuck, the others in the group should try to provide hints or ask the person at the board telling questions. If the person at the board is doing fine, the others in the group should challenge him or her. Make the problem-doer justify each step orally. If anybody in the group does not understand a step, the person at the board ought to be able to explain it to his or her satisfaction.

When one person is done with a problem, somebody else gets up and does the next one on the board. And nobody weasels out.

You will be tested as an individual. Despite the helpfulness of your group activities, in the end your grade will be based upon your individual performance at solving problems. Following your group get-togethers, be sure to go solo on a few exercises.

Try to see more than just procedures. Again I urge you, learn the concepts, and the procedures will seem obvious. And try to have some fun with it. Humanity invented math largely because it is fascinating. Be fascinated.

Activate reading method

During activation we stimulate the brain probing the mind with questions and exploring parts of the text to which we feel most attracted. We then super read the most important parts of the text by scanning quickly down the center of each page or column of type. When we feel it is appropriate, we dip into the text for more focused reading to comprehend the details. In dipping, we allow our intuition to say, Hey, turn to the last paragraph on page 147! Yes, that is the one. The ideas you want are right there. Other activation techniques developed while reading this book include rhythmic perusal, skittering, and mind mapping. These also help us gain access to the deeper impressions established by photo reading. When we activate, we involve our whole brain, connect the text with our conscious awareness, and achieve our goals for reading.


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