Read at the university level? You must have by now discovered that your reading at the university level has not been smooth, fast and highly rewarding. This is because academic reading is much more demanding than the one you were used to. As an undergraduate, you are not only contending with many new courses but also are going through materials that are varied in content and complex in structure. Your reading, therefore, has been fraught with many problems which slow down your pace and hamper your efficiency.
Most of the problems resulting in your inefficient reading are a carry-over from past into present experience. Your various old methods of reading can no longer stand the test of time. Your hitherto bad, conventional reading approach must give way to the up-to-date, highly effective, result-oriented reading improvement techniques.
You learnt in our first article that deficiency in those essential skills of listening, speaking and writing can, and does affect significantly your reading efficiency. In other words, most of the reading problems you have identified and those you are likely to manifest are traceable to linguistic and psycholinguistic inadequacies. If you have not been reading fast enough, or you are unable to read, comprehend, retain and recall thoughts beneath a printed page, most of your problems are traceable to those enumerated below.
Noticeable Reading Problems of the Undergraduate
Slow Reading: Before now, you were slow at reading either because you could not perceive or recognise quickly the printed words before you. You might, in the alternative, be reading word by word or be sounding your words.
Lack of eye fixation: Another reading problem you must have experienced is lack- of proper eye fixation. You instead engaged in moving your body and/or head or might even trace the lines with your finger. This is a reading difficulty that not only slows down the reading speed but also impedes con-centration and comprehension.
Inadequate Linguistic Knowledge: We will include under this heading such sub-reading problems as low vocabulary power which leads to habitual checking in the dictionary of almost every unfamiliar word encountered; poor knowledge of English syntax that results in misinterpretation of the author’s original ideas or total loss of what the message is about. In short, the problem of inadequate linguistic knowledge manifests itself in poor pronunciation, faulty spelling, inability to discover and express relations within sentences and indistinct, confused thought process.
Insufficient Background Experience: As we hinted in the previous lecture, your reading is bound to be defective if you do not have adequate past experience which can hasten your thought process. You have found it difficult to understand certain texts not only because the authors’ language is complex but also because you are not familiar with the expressed ideas. No matter how intricate some thoughts may be stated, you are likely to know what they are about once you can recall a similar or related experience you earlier had on the
Ignorance of essential Comprehension Skills: Except you have acquired, practised and mastered most of, if not all the cardinal comprehension skills we listed under reading efficiency in lecture 1, you will find it extremely difficult to progress in your study at the university level. Incompetence in the ability to interpret information and ideas; select important points; comprehend details; relate main idea to supporting ideas and details, read critically; arrive at general conclusions and judgements, make deductions from what is read; relate knowledge to experience; and retain and recall what is required will undoubtedly produce regression (going back from time- to -time to reread portions already read), lack of understanding, anxiety and
Inflexibility in Reading: One reading problem you must have noticed you have not overcome is your inability to adjust the rate at which you read to the purpose of your reading. You ought not to read newspapers, novels, textbooks and your lecture notes at thesame speed because the purpose for which you read each of them differs. For example, your recommended texts and lecture notes deserve closer, study-type reading than the skimming or even scanning of the newspapers, magazines and books.
For you to be an efficient reader and a successful student, you must do away with these reading difficulties and learn, through constant practice. All those essential reading improvement techniques which are based on the four language arts activities that permeate your total education.
Solution To Noticeable Reading Problems of the Undergraduate
- Always be interested in people, places, things, events and situation. You should try as much as possible to listen to, speak, read and write about local, national and international
- Engage in both social and serious listening activities but be flexible and objective. When you have the opportunity, contribute meaningfully and
- Have a purpose for every reading talk you undertake and allow the purpose to determine your speed and
- As you read, concentrate and do not be distracted. In other words, guard your mind against wandering and your attention from lagging.
- When you listen or speak or write or read, think seriously about the oral or written and be guided by the key words of the message.
- Cultivate positive reading habits and listening behavior and hold on to them for maximum
- As you read, always make a mental note of unfamiliar word and attempt a context clue to unfold its meaning. But if you cannot determine its meaning from the context, jot it on your vocabulary list and look it up later. You must, however, ensure you use the word in your text conversation or writing.
- Do not read word by word but phrase by phrase. Avoid lips, head and body movements and finger tracing which tend to obstruct the free flow of thought processes, disturb concentration and hinder comprehension.
- Practice each new reading and/or comprehension skill you learn every time you go through printed material. Always read to locate the main idea, the supporting details and relate one to the other. Avoid regression but strive to read critically in order to respond actively.