CLG Workshop on Efficient Reading Strategies at IHouse

Author name
Tierney Marey

If the GIANT garbage bag that I threw out last semester, full of readings, is any indication: College students do a lot of reading! Sometimes I feel like I spend my entire life here at Duke moving my eyes over pages and pages of black and white text. It’s a fierce battle…the reading must be conquered in order to achieve the ultimate prize…sleep.

Reading, and more importantly reading efficiently was exactly what this week’s CLG workshop Active and Efficient Reading addressed. We had a great guest speaker Jackie Ariail from the Academic Resource Center come and speak to us about how to improve our reading speed, style and comprehension. Slow readers never fear! It is possible to increase your reading speed, whilst still retaining information. Here are the top tips from the evening:

1.    Be aware of how your eyes move across the page, do they jarringly move from one word to the other, or blindly sweep across the text?
2.    Try and practice with easy texts taking in sets of words at once, rather than reading them one at a time.
3.    Particularly avoid reading aloud, or even speaking the words in your head because that can slow you down!
4.    Try to familiarize yourself with common words in the discipline that you are reading – especially if English is your second language.
5.    Be alert whilst you are reading, notice if your mind seems to be straying and try to refocus. Putting a page underneath each line and moving it down as you go can be very helpful. There is no point to speed-reading if you don’t understand what you’ve read!

With this guidance, we all went home energized about developing more efficient reading strategies. A little investment in developing better reading habits will be a great help to our academic lives, and maybe we will all gain a little more sleep along the way!

Written by Tierney Marey from Australia
Class of 2017 at Trinity Arts and Social Sciences