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Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...
Reading: Methods of Speed
Lesson Objectives: To
increase rate of reading.
Reading Rate: There are many ways to increase
the speed of you reading. Begin by sitting up straight, hold the book down
with your left hand, and use your right hand to do the pacing.
You should already be a
good reader before you attempt to speed read. Speed reading will not help
you if you have problems in comprehension and vocabulary. In fact, it may
hurt you to try to rush through stuff that you can't comprehend.
Methods of Increasing
- The Hand
- The Card
- The Sweep
- The Hop
- The Zig-Zag
The first method is to simply place your right hand on the page and slowly
move it straight down the page, drawing your eyes down as you read. Keep an
even, slow motion, as if your right hand has its own mind. Your eyes may not
be exactly where your hand is, but this simple motion will help you go
faster. Don't start, read a little, stop, read a little, start, read a
little. Keep the movement slow and easy. Only do it once per page. If you
are "left-handed" use your left hand as the dominant pacing hand.
The next technique is to use a card or a folded-up piece of paper above the
line of print to block the words after you read them. Draw it down the page
slowly and evenly and try to read the passage before you cover the words up.
This helps break you of the habit of reading and reading a passage over and
over again. It makes you pay more attention the first time. Be sure to push
the card down faster than you think you can go. Slide the card down once per
Another method is to use your hand to help draw your eyes across the page.
Slightly cup your right hand. Keep your fingers together. With a very light
and smooth motion, sweep your fingers from left to right, underlining the
line with the tip of your tallest finger from about an inch in and an inch
out on each line. Use your whole arm to move, balancing on your arm muscle.
Imagine that you are dusting off salt from the page.
Similar to the "sweep" method is the "hop", but in the
"hop" you actually lift your fingers and make two even bounces on
each line. Each time you bounce, you are making a fixation which hopefully
catches sets of three or four words. Moving to a "hop" method also
makes it easier to keep a steady pace as it is a lot like tapping our
fingers on a desk. Balance on your arm muscle, don't just wiggle your wrist.
The Zig-Zag or Loop:
The last method is a type of modified scanning technique. In this one you
take your hand and cut across the text diagonally about three lines and then
slide back to the next line. Now the idea here is not necessarily to see
each word, but to scan the entire area, letting your mind pick out the main
ideas. I wouldn't recommend this for material that requires very careful
reading, but it is a way to help you get the general ideas of easy material.
Practice Speed Reading: These are very useful
methods which can help a good reader read faster and better in very little
time. But these techniques will not do you any good unless you PRACTICE
them. You may find that one is more suitable for you than the others. Find
the one that works for you and use it.
For most people, it is
easy to learn to read faster. Your reading rate is often just a matter of
habit. But to begin, you may need to try to change some habits and try these
1. Pay attention when
you read and read as if it really matters. Most people read in the same way
that they watch television, i.e. in a passive way. Reading takes effort and
you must make the effort. There are some simple methods that you can use to
pay better attention and get more out of your textbook reading time.
Different authors call it different things, but many researchers say that
you will improve your comprehension if you somehow "preview" the
passage before you actually sit down and read every word.
To do a preview you:
take 30 to 60
look over the title
of the chapter.
look at all the
headings, subheadings and marked, italic or dark print.
look at any pictures
or illustrations, charts or graphs.
quickly skim over
the passage, reading the first and last paragraph and glancing at the
first sentence of every other paragraph.
close the book and
---What is the main
---What kind of
writing is it?
---What is the
You might not think that
you could possibly answer these questions with so little exposure to the
material, but if you do the preview correctly, you should have some very
good general ideas. If you have a general idea of what the passage is about
before you really read it, you will be able to understand and remember the
When you finally get to
the point where you are actually slowly reading the passage, read in a
"questioning" manner -as if you were searching for something. It
sometimes helps if you take the heading or title of a chapter and turn it
into a question.
For example, if the
heading of a section in the text is "The Causes of the Civil War",
take that title and switch it into a question like: "What are the
causes of the Civil War?". Now you have a goal; something to look for;
something to find out. When you are goal-oriented, you are more likely to
reach the goal. At least you'll remember one thing about the text which you
have just read.
2. Stop talking to
yourself when you read. People talk to themselves in 2 ways, by:
vocalizing, which is
the actual moving of your lips as you read, and
is talking to yourself in your head as you silently read.
Both of these will slow
you down to the point in which you find that you can't read any faster than
you can speak. Speech is a relatively slow activity; for most, the average
speed is about 250 WPM (words per minute).
Reading should be an
activity which involves only the eyes and the brain. Vocalization ties
reading to actual speaking. Try to think of reading as if you were looking
at a landscape, a panorama of ideas, rather than looking at the rocks at
3. Read in thought
groups. Studies have shown that when we read, our eyes must make small stops
along the line. Poor readers make many, many more fixations (eyestops) than
good readers. Not only does this slow you down, but it inhibits
comprehension because meaning is easier to pull from groups of words rather
than from individual words or even single letters. Try to read in phrases of
three or four words, especially in complete clauses and prepositional
phrases. Your mind may internalize them as if the whole phrase is like one
big meaning-rich word.
4. Don't keep re-reading
the same phrases. Poor readers habitually read and re-read the same phrase
over and over again. This habit of making "regressions" doubles or
triples reading time and often does not result in better comprehension. A
single careful, attentive reading may not be enough for full comprehension,
but is often more effective than constant regressions in the middle of a
reading. It is best to work on paying closer attention the first time
through. Do a preview first before the careful reading and try the tips I
mentioned above. You'll remember better without the rereading.
5. Vary your reading
rate to suit the difficulty and type of writing of the text. Poor readers
always read at the same slow rate. An efficient reader speeds up for easier
material and slows down for the hard. Some things were not meant to be read
quickly at all. Legal material and very difficult text should be read
slowly. Easier material and magazines and newspapers can be read quickly.
Poetry and plays were meant to be performed, and if not acted out, then at
least, spoken out loud orally. This obviously will conflict with good speed
reading method which forbids vocalization. Religious writings and scripture
were originally written to be recited and listened to by an audience which
was likely to be intelligent, but illiterate. The "fun" of poetry,
plays, or prayer is not really experienced if you "speed read" the