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Exploding Four Reading Myths
One of the most important aspects of effective reading is your attitude toward
the reading task. Many students base their approach to reading and their reading
strategies on the following four myths.
- Myth 1: You only need to read the material once. Textbooks are
too much information to understand, much less retain, in one reading
session. This is particularly true if the information is new and unfamiliar.
Most students who can read and retain information from a textbook in
just one session usually have some prior knowledge about the subject.
Rereading allows you to build up information in layers of understanding.
Developing a specific purpose each time you read the material will aid
you. For example, read the first time to formulate questions about the material,
read the second time to find and record the answers, and read again
to review and reinforce what you have learned. Rereading material builds
familiarity, understanding, and knowledge.
- Myth 2: You have to read every word. Some experts suggest that
need to read every word of a passage. This is particularly true once you
break your reading task into steps with distinct purposes. For example, the
first step in SQ3R is to survey. This step requires that you quickly preview
the selection to get a grasp of the reading task and to set your purpose for
your reading session. A quick preview allows you to identify new or difficult
words and create questions based on headings and subheadings that
you can answer as you read. Some books, such as reference books and
handbooks, are not meant to be read word for word. Selective reading
handled wisely is an effective reading strategy.
- Myth 3: Your reading rate affects your comprehension. Many people
that a faster rate means less comprehension. Therefore, they are hesitant
to push themselves to read more rapidly. However, comprehension is
based on the ability to pull the author’s main idea and important details
from the text. The more skilled you become at this, the faster you will be
able to read. Often readers worry so much about their reading rate that
they cannot concentrate on the material! Once you focus on the purpose
of your reading, your rate will improve along with your comprehension.
- Myth 4: Some people are just born better readers. Reading is a
And just like any other skill, it takes time and practice to become
efficient and effective. You can increase your reading ability!