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Fast Reading Skills for Engineering Students


Knowledge has been increasing at a great speed resulting in a large number of books, journals and articles published every year. According to a conservative estimate scientific journals and articles are doubling in fifteen years. Millions of scientific and t6echnical pages are printed every year. The students, teachers and scholars must learn not only to read, but also to read better and faster maintaining at the same time a high level of comprehension.

Dr. P.Eliah
Professor in English,
GRIET, Hyderabad

Academic material may be read and analysed slowly and carefully with attention to each detail. But in view of the need to read vast amounts of materials relating to different fields of knowledge, researchers are of the opinion that very fast reading skills must be developed. Otherwise, it is not possible to cover or know what is in these materials. There is a belief that only a fast reader is an efficient and effective reader.

In fact, there are different reading styles, such as, skimming, scanning intensive reading and extensive reading according to the purpose and nature of the reading material. The belief that only slow reading leads to effective comprehension is not valid. Researchers observe that a higher speed rate facilitates beter understanding.

An efficient fast reader has the following qualities:
  • He does not move his head, eyes, and finger along the lines of the reading material.
  • He does silent reading covering about 800 words a minute.
  • He never pronounces words or rereads them for correct sounds or pronunciation.
  • He reads only to idetnify the main ideas, the theme or the basic thinking of the writer, avoiding details, descriptions and less important or minor details.
  • He fixes a time limit and finishes his reading within this time limti displaying the pwer of his mind. He skims, scans and runs forward looking ofr main ideas only. Lack of sufficient time drives him to his emergency exercise.
  • He will have developed a wide range of vocabulary to help him understand ideas as he rushes forward.
  • He develops an extensive reading habit, so that he is required to speed up his reading.
    He reads clusters or bunches of words at at ime hopping from one bunch to another. He expands his eye-span and tries to accommodate more and more words in the bunches. He has a knowledge of the grammar and structure of the language. He can grasp th emeaning at a cursory glance. He has obviously a trained eye and a disciplined mind.

However, a good reader is not necessarily a fast reader. He varies the speed of his reading to suit his purpose, as follows:
  • He adopts a slow pace of reading whent the material is difficult and a high level of comprehension is required.
  • He adopts an average speed of reading for magazines, newspapers and other routine materials.
  • But a fast reader adopts only a skimming and scanning strategy when his materials are not of a serious nature. Naturally, the level of comprehension is low, but he is not at a loss. Still he gets a global or universal idea of the text.
Published on 10/29/2014 3:45:00 PM

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