Active and Efficient Reading Strategies - CLG workshop at IHouse

Author name
Triveni Raghavan

Written by: Triveni Raghavan

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know” – Albert Einstein
In this knowledge era, we have to keep updating ourselves to make sure that we are not left behind. There is so much to read and so little time to do it. The only way out is to read faster but, there is a catch – you may not understand / remember what you read. Jackie Ariail, Learning Specialist from Duke’s Academic Resource Center elaborated on strategies for reading efficiently and retaining what you read, at this week’s workshop hosted by Lisa Giragosian, IHouse.

The Mechanics of Reading & Strategies for Reading Faster
If you are taking forever to read something it is (either because it is boring :| or) because you are a slow reader. Some strategies for reading faster:

  • Don’t sub-vocalize
  • Do take in more words with one look (fixation)
  • Don’t reread (regress) unless you have to

In the workshop, we all did a ‘one minute read’ to check our reading speed (typical range for adults is 250 – 300 words per minute). To practice reading faster:
1.    Understand the typical construction of the English sentence – Noun, verb, object. Use the orienting information provided at the beginning of the sentence.
2.    Recognize the word groupings.
3.    Read more vertically than horizontally.

Reading Actively and Efficiently
Once you learn to read faster, it is equally important to ensure that you understand what you are reading. Jackie outlined a few steps to read efficiently and effectively:
1.    Understand the purpose of reading within the context of your course.
2.    Before you start reading, familiarize yourself with the material by looking at TOC, headings, illustrations/diagrams.
3.    Read the introduction and conclusion, and try to form an idea about the material.
4.    Read the material.
5.    Remember what you read by writing marginal notes, highlighting or writing a summary.

Finally, we discussed a reading technique called pseudo-skimming which combines, “the comprehension benefits of reading and the speed of skimming”. The secret is to identify the meaty versus filler paragraphs and focus on reading the important ones.

Thanks Jackie, for inspiring us to “Read, Read, Read……………. To Succeed”