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Reading Exercises

Reading in English is not necessarily easy, especially when English is not your mother tongue. Words that are ignored block us and often slow down our reading.
To read quickly and effectively in English, you must learn to “read diagonally” and “fly over” a text. The term “diagonal reading” is used when a text is read very quickly in order to obtain its general idea and “overflight” when searching for specific information in a text.

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Follow these five tips to learn how to read faster in English by developing your reading skills in diagonal and overview :

Set a time limit

Do you own a smartphone ? Use his counter to impose a time limit on you when you read a text for the first time. Start at 30 seconds for 100 words. It’s a great way to get you to stop bumping into words you don’t know. Imposing a reading time will force you to focus on the key words and phrases you understand to get the general meaning of a text.
It is also very important to set a time frame for your diagonal reading and browsing to avoid getting bogged down in trying to read every detail of a text. Set an even shorter time frame for the flyby (a few seconds per paragraph) to force you to be more disciplined by only looking at the information you are looking for.
Invent another title
The title of a document usually gives you a big hint about its main message. If you apply the diagonal reading technique indicated above, first try to hide the title and then guess at the end of the reading what it might have been. If your title looks like the real title, it means that you have understood the essence of the text.

Identify the information you are looking for Before Reading

This little trick improves the overview of a text. If you are looking for specific information in a text, such as the answer to a particular question or something you need to know for your own information, make sure you know what you are looking for by asking yourself several questions : Is it a number ? Is that a date ? Is that a name ? Or is it something even more specific ? Once you have identified the type of word or expression you are looking for, it will be much easier for you to ignore the information you don’t need.

Underline some passages to come back to later

After reading a diagonal text within a given time frame, there may be some interesting words that you haven’t had time to understand with the help of context. If it is important not to let these words slow you down, you may want to add them to your vocabulary. To do this, highlight or underline them during your reading to allow you to come back a little later in order to guess their meaning or look for them in a dictionary. Highlighting or underlining these passages allows you to forget them temporarily to continue reading, knowing that you will be able to pay more attention to them when you read the text afterwards.

Read from top to bottom

Start by searching for your key words from the end of the text by going up. Warning: this technique will only work if you fly over your document. It’s a great way to read faster and avoid focusing on every word : just look for words that give you the information you need.

Keep your page upside down

Again, this technique will only work if you hover over the document (of course, nobody can read an entire book upside down !). This method allows you to focus only on the information you need without reading the entire text. Practice this technique in your own home rather than in a public place, otherwise you will be incrudescent !
So here are my 5 tips to read faster in English. Do you already use these methods or do you know of others ? You can test your English level with EF English Live and join our community for free !