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What Students Should Know About Reading

To the student: here are a few points about reading to help you understand objectives and to improve your reading skills.

  1. Definition

    Developmental Reading is training for almost all students; conscientious application of the training increases their reading efficiency.

     

  2. The Major Factors in Reading

    1. The Physical

      1. The eye stop. In reading, a person's eyes stop briefly and then moves on to another spot in a line or column. Without these stops, there is no recognition of words.


        The time of eye stops can be reduced for better reading. In early training, a rhythmic pattern is useful in developing effective eye stops.

         

      2. The eye span. The amount of type seen in one stop. Practice can help the reader "see" more at each stop.

      3. Regressions. The habit of going back involuntarily over material already covered; regressing is a handicap to reading efficiency.


        Shortening the eye stop, increasing the eye span, and reducing regression, improves one's reading.

         

      4. Vocalizing. The condition of sounding out words with the lips or in the larynx. Some authorities label the conscious mental "imprint" of words, read as vocalizing; their point is that material read should produce a "picture" or a reaction in a reader's mind, rather than a series of words.

    2. The Psychological

      1. Attitude

        Although almost everyone wants to read faster, many people unconsciously resist change in their own habits. This attitude can result from:

        1. the notion that the "slow reader gets more out of reading" (this notion has been disproved).

        2. instruction in early grades that "you have to read every word" and "you must not skip".

        3. lack of self-confidence, resulting from erroneous teaching as in "a" and "b", and in some cases, from early discouragement from others.

      2. Motivation

        Because reading is the basis of almost all courses in school and a great deal of the work in many careers, the inefficient reader is handicapped.


        Improved reading skills give more time for other activities, can lead to better grades in courses or promotion on a job, bring in the personal satisfaction of accomplishment, and result in increased confidence.

         

  3. Some aspects (either Physical or Psychological) of Developmental Reading

    1. Flexibility

      1. Flexibility is the adaptation of your reading rate to the purpose of your reading. For example, the comics and the editorial page of a newspaper are read at different rates.

      2. Flexibility shows that an efficient reader has reading rates, not a reading rate.

      3. Flexibility in reading can be compared to driving an automobile. If the reading or driving is too difficult, a slower rate is necessary. But, if a driver is familiar with the road he is traveling, he can drive faster; if a reader is dealing with familiar material, he should not read at the slow rate that he would read in a subject unfamiliar to him.

    2. Comprehension

      1. Comprehension, or understanding of what is read, is closely related to flexibility.

        1. Quantity of comprehension is the amount understood from what is read.

          For example: 70% comprehension on 100 pages is twice the quantity of 70% on 50 pages.

        2. Quality of comprehension depends on difficulty of material.

          For example: Understanding Hamlet is more difficult than understanding an account of a fishing trip.

      2. Some kinds of comprehension depend upon the reader's previous knowledge of the material and his purpose in reading. For example:

        1. getting facts

        2. following directions

        3. understanding charts, graphs, tables, etc.

        4. being able to summarize

        5. getting general information

        6. determining a main idea or theme

        7. evaluation or judging material

        8. forming logical conclusions

        9. appreciation styles of writing or ideas presented

        10. understanding human nature

    3. Retention

      1. Retention is the amount of reading comprehended over a period of time.

      2. Among the number of factors affecting retention is the number of times the material is covered.

    4. Vocabulary

      1. An individual's vocabulary is the words he understands or uses in reading or listening or in speaking and writing.

      2. Vocabulary is important because:

        1. Facility with words is one of the best indicators of success in college or in a career.

        2. Vocabulary is the foundation of comprehension.

      3. Vocabulary can be improved by:

        1. reading a great deal.

        2. developing word-consciousness.

        3. widening interests and experiences to learn specialized words and terms.

        4. using the dictionary efficiently.

        5. knowing different languages and/or prefixes, root words, and suffixes.