How to Improve Reading in English
6 Tips and hints from an English teacher at Link School of English
There are various ways to improve your speed at reading in English, these ideas apply just as much to English native speakers as to English learners. You may find that you have imported some of your bad (or good) habits from your own language.
Tip 1: Don’t say the words in your head
When you are reading in English for speed, don’t say the words in your head or by moving your lips. This is called sub-vocalization. It can really slow you down and doesn’t look good either. Not everyone does this, but watch out for it in case you do it. If you do tend to do it, try to keep your mouth shut or chew some gum etc.
Try to see words as pictures, not something you need to say.
Tip 2: Don’t look at each word individually
See lines or parts of lines as chunks. As above, try to see them as pictures, and scan them in. As long as you pick out the main words, you will absorb the meaning.
Tip 3: Watch your eye movements
Avoid moving your eyes too much, don’t stare at each word. You can see at least half a line, without moving your eyes. This makes reading less tiring. At the same time relax your face and smile a bit. This will help to relax.
Tip 4: Concentrate
Make sure that you are concentrating properly, so that you don’t have to go back and read the same text again. Make sure that you are not being distracted by noise or other issues. Switch off your busy brain, because you can’t really focus on doing two or more things at the same time.
Make sure you have an idea of what the material is about before you start reading. This will help to speed you up.
Tip 5: Read in English often
Make sure that you read in English a bit every day, as like any skill, you need to practice it to improve it. There is no point in doing it once in a while and then just giving up, or thinking that you are no good at it.
You need to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes per day, to see big improvements in your speed and other aspects of your English studies. You could also time yourself, see how long it takes for you to read a line.
Tip 6: Choose books suited to your level of English
Make sure that you read books in English that are suited to your English language level. There is nothing more discouraging than not understanding anything. If you start at the right level, you will normally progress at the expected pace.