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Six Steps To Better Homeschool Reading Skills

Aug 17, 2007
Reading is one of the foundations of homeschooling. How can we keep pace with printed words that challenges us daily in our lessons?

Each book often seems to be a priority. We may read some of these publications faster only to discover we're understanding less. Possibly, we eliminate information only to realize later we are uninformed in an important area.

These are time-saving strategies, but not efficient reading techniques. A mark of efficient reading is being able to select quickly the skills you need to read a particular selection in keeping with your purpose for reading it.

Consider using the following reading strategies to help you become an efficient reader:

1. Be a flexible reader.
Proper reading speeds vary according to the type and difficulty of 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. To skim is to let your eyes travel quickly over a page and grasp key words or ideas by skipping with judgment.

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 subheads; noting visual aids and paragraph format; and looking for key words. 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.

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-vocalizing.
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? 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 convey ideas beyond that of a single word.

6. Use vocabulary, author, and, publisher aids.
Use aids such as context, word origins, publishing aids (sequences, italics or boldface type, illustrations), and signal words (furthermore, although, consequently, in conclusion).

Applied routinely, these six steps can become an automatic part of your reading process and you will take charge of that daily deluge of printed materials. You will also find efficient reading is more informative and enjoyable, and that it will improve your comprehension.
About the Author
Joyce Jackson is an educational expert and consultant in northern California. For her latest book and information see Homeschooling Easy.
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