High School Students Reading Rate: How Fast Should I Read?

Many high school students remark that they don't have enough time to read through all of their assignments during the week. However, reading speed is not necessarily the answer to efficient reading. This article is designed to help you understand reading as an activity and help you become a more efficient and effective reader.

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Increase Your Reading Rate with Active Reading Strategies

Get to Know Your Textbook

Whenever you get a new textbook, determine how a typical chapter is constructed. All of the other chapters will be put together the same way. If one chapter has a summary, they all will; if one chapter contains review questions, they all will. Use this knowledge when you have a reading assignment and structure your approach accordingly.

Examine study questions, guides and other aids. Does the text provide study aids to help your understanding the text? If questions are used, do they simply require you to find the answers or do you have to use critical-thinking skills to answer them?

Also, check to see if there are study aids both preceding and following a chapter. Which types of aids help you most? Does the text provide suggestions for other readings or materials designed to help you understand this chapter? In addition, examine maps, pictures, charts and tables, which reinforce visual learning.

Examine chapter headings, sectional headings and margin guides. Look at the chapter heading and then the section headings that follow. Write them down and see if this gives an overview of the chapter. Headings help when you're skimming a chapter for specific information. Similarly, the text font may emphasize vocabulary or important points. Summaries are good for testing your comprehension of the chapter.

Identify Pivotal Words

While reading, look for key prepositions and conjunctions that will enhance your understanding of the sentence. If you see a word 'furthermore', you can keep reading because the following sentences will add on to a point that's already been made. On the other hand, the word 'however' indicates that you should slow your reading down and figure out how the upcoming point contradicts the previous statement. If you can master these words and phrases, you will almost immediately become a better - and faster - reader. Here are more pivotal words to look out for:

1. Contrast and change words, including 'but', 'on the other hand' and 'despite', tell you that you're going to hear the other side of the story.
2. Cause and effect words, which include 'since', 'because', 'therefore' and 'so', let you know that an explanation is coming about why something has happened.
3. Emphasizing words, such as 'above all' and 'most importantly', are clues that you should wake up and take notice.
4. Order words, including 'first', 'then' and 'finally', indicate that the author is keeping the information straight for you so you can concentrate on the content.
5. Summarizing words, such as 'to sum up', 'in conclusion' and 'for these reasons', clue you in to important things to remember.

Vary Your Reading Rate

The best and most effective way to increase your reading rate is to consciously force yourself to read faster. However, good readers are also flexible in their reading attack. Well-trained readers have the capacity to adjust their speed to the material.

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