I have consistently said in the previous lessons that you do not need to be a speed reader to do well in the reading section. This is because the strategy that we use to answer questions for the IELTS reading section is to first read the questions and then scan the reading passage for the keywords in the question to locate where the answer might be.
Having said that, if you ARE a speed reader then you will benefit even more from this strategy as your eyes will already be trained to scan the passage text faster and more efficiently.
So here are a few quick tips to help you become a speed reader.
- First find out your current reading speed with a paper book and a stop watch.
- Get rid of all distractions around you. No music, no television, no cell phones etc. during your reading practice. Once you have trained yourself, you will be able to speed-read even with distractions around you.
- Avoid re-reading and back tracking. This is the biggest time waster when it comes to reading and is usually a result of poor concentration.
- Stop reading to your self. Some people actually move their lips or say the words under their breath, while others simply say each word in their heads. Regardless of how you subvocalize, it slows you down.
- Use your finger or a pen to track your reading. It will not only give you a sense of how fast you are reading but will also keep you focussed.
- Practice reading blocks of words. Most slow readers read one word at a time. Train your eyes to grab a bunch of words at a time and use your peripheral vision to subconsciously read the other words around them. With enough practice you will be able to read the entire line while focusing only on the middle of the line.
- Finally READ, READ and READ MORE. It doesn't matter what you read to practice speed reading. Pick up a newspaper, magazine, text book .. anything .. and just start reading. Always make sure you time yourself and keep track of your progress. Set weekly goals for how fast you want to get and reward yourself when yuo reach those goals. Soon your reading speed will increase.
Here are some more tips on how to skim and scan to improve your reading speed:
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As always, if you have any questions about this topic feel free to ask in the comments below or email us on email@example.com.
Best of luck.