HOW TO DEVELOP READING SKILLS
( By Faiz )
A. What is a reading comprehension?
Understanding a written text means extracting the required information from it as efficiently as possible. For example, we apply different reading strategies when looking at a notice board to see if there is an advertisement for a particular type of flat and when carefully reading an article of special interest in a scientific journal. Yet looking the relevant advertisement on the board and understanding the new information contained in the article demonstrates that the reading purpose in each case has been successfully fulfilled.
B. Why do we read?
There are two main reasons for reading:
• Reading for pleasure
• Reading for information
C. How do we read?
Skimming : Quickly running one’s eyes over a text to get the gist of it
Scanning : Quickly going through a text to find a particular piece of
Extensive reading : reading longer texts, usually for one’s own pleasure. This is a
fluency activity, mainly involving global understanding
Intensive reading : reading shorter texts, to extract specific information.
This is more an accuracy activity involving reading for detail.
D. Reading Techniques
Most of the techniques dealt with in this part are already familiar to the students in their native language. But it is necessary to re-train them, as some students have difficulty in applying them to a second language.
The aim of this section is to provide exercises that will develop the strategies that students need to cope with unfamiliar words and complex or apparently obscure sentences. It should ensure that they do not stumble on every difficulty or get discouraged from the outset.
Inferring means making use of syntactic, logical and cultural clues to discover the meaning of unknown elements. If these are words, then word formation and derivation will also play an important part, When dealing with a new text, it is better not to explain the difficult words to the learners beforehand. On the contrary, students should be encouraged to make a guess at a meaning of the words they do not know rather than look them up in a dictionary.
b. Understanding Relations Within The Sentence
Inability to infer of unknown elements often causes discouragement and apprehension in students when they are faced with a new text.
c. Linking Sentences and Ideas
It is essential to prepare the students in recognizing the various devices used to create cohesion and more particularly the use of reference and link words.
2. Improving Reading Speed
Students who read too slowly will easily get discouraged. They will also tend to stumble on unfamiliar words and fail to grasp the general meaning of the passage.
How to increase reading speed?
• Give students passages to read and ask them to time themselves.
• Ask the students to faster every time.
• Give the students comprehension questions.
3. From Skimming to Scanning
Students will never read efficiently unless they can adapt their reading speed and technique to their aim when reading.
E. The process when Reading
a. Bottom up
b. Top down