Improving speed reading

The need to be able to read quickly, utilising the famed strategies of skimming and scanning is clear. How to enable students to do it effectively is not so clear. One way to do it is to give students a reading passage and give them a time limit in which to read through the passage and find the answers to various questions. This works well in principle, but, especially if the student gets the answers wrong, we don't really know whether they skimmed through or scanned the whole passage or just intensively read the first part and then guessed! The only way to force students to read at speed is to take away parts of the passage after a few seconds or minutes. This, clearly, is impractical, unless of course you have a computer plugged into a projector, in which case it's easy to scroll down a passage steadily, forcing students to read more quickly.

A cheaper alternative is to make use of either subtitles in films or the end credits of films which always scroll up from the bottom of the film. By making up a worksheet with questions such as :

Who played Catwoman?

How many stunt actors were there?

What was the name of the orchestra that played the music for the film?

Who was the dubbing mixer?

What job does Bob Simpkins do?

etc, or by creating a gap-fill of the credits, you can force students to read through the passage at speed. Gap-fills work particularly well with subtitles.

Category Reading

Angus Savory 18-08-2011

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