Read for Pleasure
Reading for pleasure can help improve your grades but it also introduces a more positive feeling about learning.
The more you read, the more you will be able to read, and reading something you like can get you there faster.
Of course, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons as your reading skills improve. Jump out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
Read at least twenty books this year! (Yes, you can.)
Think of this, if you read at an average speed of 300 words per minute (WPM) and only 15 minutes a day, you will have read about 20 books (1 512 000 words) in one year!
There is no easier way to help build vocabulary, increase speed of reading, and improve comprehension.
Did you know that reading too slowly can hamper your understanding (comprehension) of the material just as reading too fast does?
However, it is also true that speed is relative to the person. At this point you might be reading fairly slowly in order to understand – and that’s just fine as long as you make an effort to “up your game” over time.
Tips to pick up the pace
When you are reading silently, try to break yourself of the habit of moving your lips or sub-vocalizing. Place a finger on the vocal area of your throat to see if you are doing this. These habits really slow down your reading speed.
Use your finger, a ruler, a pen on the margin, a bookmark, etc. to help “scan” the sentences. Scrolling down the page with one of these devices can force you to keep moving and can help your eyes scan more effectively until they are trained. I still do this if I’m tired or if I need to read a lot of material fairly quickly. It just helps keep me on track. Oh, and I have never had trouble reading (thankfully), so the method works for everyone. (I have seen a number of professors use the same method when trying to read through a massive number of essays or reports.)
Work at expanding your vocabulary. When you are reading and come across words you don’t know, spend a little time looking up the meaning. Use a dictionary in book form or online. If you are using a Kobo or Kindle, you can search the word easily on the device. You can even keep your own personal dictionary. Do this especially with words that keep recurring. Authors will tend to use their favourite words more than once. Paying attention to these new words and then seeing them in various places throughout the text or novel will help you retain their meaning.
But – won’t this slow me down?
Yes, it will temporarily. As your vocabulary increases, however, so will your reading speed for a larger variety of material over time because you will already know more and more of the vocabulary. Just as when you began learning to read as a child, you didn’t read in “chunks” or “phrases.” You read word for word until things got a little more familiar. This is the same idea. You don’t have to look up every single unfamiliar word either. As mentioned before, focus on words that keep showing up and words that you can’t decipher well enough from the surrounding words and sentences (context).
Talk about it!
Try to have a conversation about your reading. Talking about what you are reading will help you remember, but it can also aid in appreciating various interpretations. Not everyone will see the same facts or stories in the same way. Obviously it is fun to chat with someone who has read the book (or story or blog, etc.) but you can often have a great conversation with people who haven’t read the same information. They will likely ask questions or have a completely different take on what you are reading and discussing, so don’t be shy. Of course, you shouldn’t force someone to listen if he or she doesn’t want to. If you are talking to someone who is not familiar with the book or topic, it is a great time for you to work on improving your ability to consolidate information and make it presentable so that they do want to listen. Not only will this enhance your own retention, but it will give you practice for any future written assignments or presentations. Talking about your topic so that the listener’s eyes don’t glaze over is good practice. It will help you when you need to do presentations in the academic world.
That’s the Goal
And that’s the goal. reading for pleasure might not have a direct effect on your school studies. For example, the Grisham novel might not have any historical or scientific relevance, but the fact that your reading speed and your ability to understand more broadly and deeply has improved will have a positive effect. The idea that you can now discuss the themes, plot, and characters in a presentable way will bring you rewards.
Learning to have fun while improving yourself is essential.
Reading is still the best way to get you all of the benefits.
If you want more personal attention and help with reading, writing, math, and/or study skills, do not hesitate to get in touch.
I offer free information meetings online or in-person. I would love to help you, or your child, reach your academic goals.
This week’s video: Reading for Pleasure.