Monday, January 10, 2011

How To Read English Text Effectively!

Have you ever got difficulties during your English test on reading comprehension? Try this ways to solve the problem!

Reading is not simply a matter of starting at the beginning and going on until you reach the end. If you want to gain something from your reading, you need to read actively, not passively; you must know why you are reading it, and you should not always need to understand every single word.

Effective reading, If you follow these rules, you will gradually become able to control how you read English texts. They will be difficult to obey, but they are really important. First, do not use a dictionary unless you really have to.When you come across a word which you do not understand, ask yourself the following questions: Can I understand this sentence even if I do not understand the exact meaning of this particular word? Can I understand the whole paragraph even if I do not understand this particular sentence? Can I guess the meaning of the word? If you use a dictionary, ask yourself afterwards if you really needed to. Of course, you may misunderstand the text if you ignore a keyword, or guess the wrong meaning.But you will quickly realise if you have made a serious misunderstanding because the rest of the passage will not make sense. If this happens, you should go back and check the meanings of words which you may have misunderstood. Once you have practised this approach, you will find that you develop the ability to guess the meanings of English words. Of course, this approach will not work if the passage contains a great number of unfamiliar words. If this happens because your knowledge of vocabulary is poor, then you must look up all the words you do not know and learn the ones which you think will be useful to you. If it happens because the passage contains a very specialized vocabulary, you have two choices. If you want to study this topic seriously, it would be a good idea to look up all the words and learn the ones which you think will be useful to you. If you do not want to study the topic seriously, then it is probably better to look for a different passage, which contains the same information but is written for non-specialists, and therefore uses simpler vocabulary. Second, when you read something in English, you should try to understand it in English, and not translate it into Japanese. Translating into Japanese takes a lot of time. It also means that you concentrate on the meanings of individual words and sentences rather than on the meaning of the passage as a whole. You should only read in this way if the passage is extremely difficult, or if you actually need to produce an accurate translation. Probably the best way to begin to read English as English is to re-read passages that you already understand.

Extensive reading, you might be reluctant to read long passages of English. However, the task is not impossible. You do not necessarily have to pay equal attention to every single word. It is possible to control the reading process so that you read actively and in appropriate ways. Before you read, whenever you read non-fiction, even a newspaper, it helps to have a clear reason for reading right from the beginning. This will give you a focus, and help you to understand what you read. Before you start reading, you should also see what information you can get from the text without actually reading it. If you can relate this information to your reason for reading, you will be able to organise your reading effectively. For example, if you want to read the newspaper in order to find an account of yesterday's baseball games, it would be a good idea to start by finding out which pages are likely to have baseball reports. Once you get to the right pages, photographs and headlines will help you to find which of the articles is about your favourite team. A quick glance at the actual article will tell you whether your team is being praised or criticised. After you have read the article properly, you can go back and look at other parts of the newspaper. There is nothing wrong with reading a newspaper in Japanese first, or watching the TV news, in order to get a general idea of what stories are likely to appear.
In the case of a magazine or periodical article, this sort of previewing activity is even more important. If you find out as much as you can about what you are going to read in advance, the whole process of reading a long piece in English should seem less frightening. Who wrote it, when and why? What is the name of the publisher, magazine or journal, and what is its reputation? Look at the title, headings and subheadings. Are there any illustrations, diagrams, tables or graphs? Does the index contain keywords that you are interested in? Does the bibliography contain books which you know about or have already read? Is there a summary at the beginning (or end) of the article or chapter or on the back cover of the book? This information will help you to anticipate the contents, and to decide how to read the text: whether you need to read it all, or only part of it, where you should start, and how much time you should spend. It will also help you to judge the value of the text, and how relevant it is to your needs.

Sometimes you will read because you want a specific piece of information. For example, you want to find the meaning of a word, the date when someone died, or what the writer has to say about a particular economic theory. In all such cases it is sensible to scan your reading material until you find the information you need. In other words, rather than read the whole text, you search for the information you want as quickly as possible, and read only the part containing the relevant information. Scanning can also be helpful if you want to check that a book or article which you have decided to read really does contain the sort of information you are looking for. In order to scan effectively you should: See how the text is organised. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are arranged in alphabetical order. Multi-volume encylopedias have indexes of key words. Academic books should have indexes; otherwise you will have to use the list of contents and section-headings. You can then find the section of text which is most likely to contain the information you want. It may then be necessary to look through the text for your particular piece of information. Choose some appropriate keywords, and go through the text looking only for those keywords. When you have found the keywords in the text, read carefully in order to get the information you want.

It is helpful if you can develop the ability to skim texts, that is to read them very fast in order to get the main ideas. Normally, this sort of reading should be a preparation for detailed reading of a text, not a substitute. It is also useful when you want to re-read something which you have previously read in detail, particularly if the most important parts are already underlined. If you do not have time to read the whole text in detail, skimming can also help you to identify the passages you should really concentrate on. This is how people often read newspapers or magazine articles. Skimming might also help you to select the most important or relevant articles or books out of several on the same topic. In addition, it is worth noting that if you practice skimming enough, your general reading speed will improve. When skimming you should: Try to read groups of words, not one word at a time. Concentrate on finding the main ideas, and consciously ignore details. Read the introductory and concluding paragraphs in detail. (The first paragraph may sometimes be used to set the scene or catch the reader's attention. In this case, the second paragraph will normally contain the introduction. In long passages, both the introduction and the conclusion may consist of several paragraphs. Read the other paragraphs in order to find the topic sentence and/or the main idea. Attention to transitional words and phrases will help you to find your way quickly through paragraphs, and to work out how each paragraph is joined to all the others. If skimming is likely to be the first step to detailed reading, it is a good idea to mark passages that you think deserve particular attention. If the text is really long, it is probably a good idea to divide it into sections. You will skim each section and then read it in detail, before going on to the next section. You will not necessarily do this to each section in order. For example, in the case of a book, it is often a good idea to start with the first and last chapters. Have a nice reading and good luck!

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