How can you enhance your reading efficiency; Reading is thinking. It is also the sharing of the thinking of the great minds of another culture. When you read, you do not only perceive the printed verbal symbols; you are also reacting and responding to the thoughts expressed by the writer. RAND Reading Study Group, contends that reading comprehension as the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language.
It consists of three elements: the reader, the text, and the activity or purpose for reading. An efficient reader is he that can bring his vast past and present language experience to bear on his reading task. He is, as a result, able to read fast and comprehend most of, if not all, he has read.
The rich background knowledge that enables you read well is the sum total of those oral activities you have been engaged in over the years: But the picture is not complete. Fluency in reading must be accompanied by high level comprehension. What then, is comprehension? Comprehension is the understanding of a paragraph, in any reading material. It is like solving a mathematical problem. To comprehend consists of selecting the right elements of the situation and putting them together in the right relations, and also with the right amount of weight or influence or force for each.
Reading efficiency is the act of reading and comprehending well. To read well, therefore, is to know what to do with a page of print. You are regarded an efficient reader when you know where to look to:
- discover main ideas and supportingdetails;
- recognise the Organisation ofthought;
- interpret and evaluate thatthought;
- consciously look for paragraphs and the main divisions of the author’sthought;
- be sensitive to directional words and punctuationsignals;
- grasp meanings, nuances, associations and relationships of meanings authors convey through their choice ofwords;
- broaden your background
Let us examine those basic factors that can influence your reading efficiency and relate them to our discussion on language competence.
Before you can read well, you need to be proficient in perceiving verbal stimuli, that is, recognise the various letters and symbols with which the text is written. This, in effect, means you cannot read in a language you have not been listening to or speaking or writing about.
The second factor is the possession of adequate vocabulary. Texts are composed of words appropriately chosen to convey specific ideas. You, therefore, need a rich vocabulary to be able to cope with your reading. You can only acquire adequate vocabulary through listening to others, speaking to others and writing about people, other things and events. In other words, the more vocabulary you have, the better you read.
Next to the acquisition of vocabulary is the mastery of the structure of language of communication. Through the various language activities you have engaged in, you must have been familiar with the acceptable construction of the English sentence. It is that experience that facilitates your reading efficiency.
The fourth factor is the possession of a very high “general knowledge quotient“. For you to interpret the author’s ideas correctly, you should have a vast of incidental general knowledge which is drawn from your wealthy background experience.
Another factor that influences your reading efficiency is clear and analytical thinking. Effective reading occurs when you are able to master your complex thought process so that the activities of receiving the information, processing it, reacting and responding to it will enable you get the author’s desired message. Remember that a lot of thinking is involved in listening, speaking, reading and writing activities and that language is the vehicle with which you express your thoughts. Language deficiency, therefore, will lead to wobbled thinking, uncoordinated expression of ideas and, of course, inability to read and understand printed message.
The sixth factor is the purpose for which you engage in the reading task. You may want to read for pleasure or you may read to obtain specific information. Often times you read your notes for the purpose of learning and passing examination. Therefore, you will read fast and comprehend well if you allow purpose to determine what and how you read.
The seventh and final factor for reading efficiency is the cultivation of positive habits to reading. Read when you are highly motivated and in places that are free of physical and psychological distractions.