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Good Reading Strategies

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We live in the information age where we are overwhelmed with information. If you don’t have any good reading strategies you can spend unnecessary time slogging through very much unimportant material. Therefore let us look at some good reading strategies, to be able to know what is important to read thoroughly and what is not too important, what we can just peruse, or glance over.

I have been teaching reading strategies to foreign students for years. When teaching reading strategies I found that the easiest method to read was to look at most reading materials and find a common denominator among the materials. Basically every essay, article or even blog has three parts: the beginning, the middle and ending. This may sound obvious, but let us take a closer look at the function of each of these sections.

The beginning is the place where the author tells you what the written piece is all about. In the middle the author goes into more detail to explain him/herself. In scientific research papers it is here that the author explains how a particular study was conducted and the results of the study. And in the ending the author confirms more or less what has already been stated in the beginning. At this point the author shows that the initial theory was correct and that whatever the author was claiming in the beginning works.

Now let us look at an example. Any given newspaper can serve our purpose. First we see the headline in large bold letters. You, the reader, now decide “do I want to know more about the subject?” Then the newspaper gives us a little more information, in case we couldn’t quite make sense of the headline and finally, if we are interested in the details we read the article on the subject further inside the newspaper.

This principle holds true for reports, for research papers for newspapers and even for books. It does not work on novels. And finally one more thing. When in the middle of the piece ask yourself what the piece is all about. If you do not know or clearly understand it, start reading again from the beginning and decide if it is really worth more of your valuable time.