an entire selection quickly for a general
impression of it. Scanning locates specific information such as a fact or figure.
By using these techniques, you can then
identify the parts of the selection that require careful reading.
Consider using the following reading
strategies to help you become an efficient
1. Be a flexible reader.
Proper reading speeds vary according
to the type and difficulty of the reading
material. In order to be a flexible reader,
you need to recognize your purpose for
reading a given selection, preview the
information, and then decide whether it
will be sufficient to skim it or if it will be
necessary to read the material in-depth.
Let your eyes travel quickly over a page
by skimming, and grasp key words or
ideas by skipping with judgment. Concentrate on your purpose for reading a
respective document. This will allow you
to focus on the main ideas and details.
2. Be an involved reader.
After you decide on your purpose for
reading a given selection, the next action
is to preview the materials. Previewing is
performed by an initial skimming of the
material. This includes reading the title
and subheadings, noting visual aids and
paragraph format, and looking for key
This action provides an internal outline of the information which helps to
increase reading speed and ultimately
improves comprehension. You become
involved in the materials as you anticipate the author’s emphasis and direction.
Your reading speed and comprehension
will improve if you understand the structure of the material first. Ask questions,
look for answers, and reflect on what
3. Limit re-reading.
Regression is a serious obstacle to efficient reading. Some re-reading may be
necessary for difficult materials, but regression can easily become a habit. Previewing will help you to minimize the
desire to re-read everything.
4. Limit vocalizing or sub-
If you vocalize (say aloud) or subvocalize (say silently) some words as you read,
that is not unusual. Some inner speech
occurs in all readers, but to a lesser degree with efficient readers.
5. Read words in clusters.
Do you look at words as individual words
or as part of thoughts or phrases? Read
using this type of word cluster:
Do you look at words
as individual words or as part
of thoughts or phrases?
These phrases or thought groups can
be read as a unit and can convey ideas
beyond that of a single word.
6. Use vocabulary, author, and
Use aids such as context, word origins,
publishing aids (sequences, italics or boldface type, illustrations, and signal words
e.g., furthermore, although, consequently,
in conclusion). These aids are the obvious
clues to the most important ideas.