The reading strategies offered on this page will help you become a better reader. These strategies will work both in and out of the classroom, but are particularly useful in the classroom. If you learn and use the reading strategies on this page you will improve both your reading comprehension and test scores.
When reading, you may often come upon a word or phrase that you don't understand. Your first impulse may be to look up the word in your dictionary. Before resorting to a dictionary, though, you should first determine whether the word you don't know is important. If it isn't, then ignore it. Consider the following sentence.
What does the word farvennugen mean? You probably don't know. Right? Now ask yourself, Is the word farvennugen important in understanding the sentence? No, not really. We can tell that farvennugen is being used as an adjective, but it isn't important to the meaning of the sentence. The point of the sentence is where the truck was parked, not what kind of truck it is, so, we can ignore that word and still understand the sentence.
If you follow Strategy 1, and you determine that the word you don't know IS important, then before using a dictionary, try to guess the meaning of the word from the context. Context refers to the words and phrases surrounding the word that you don't understand. Once you think you have guessed the correct meaning, then look up the word in your dictionary to insure you have made a correct guess. Then practice using the word in different contexts. This will help you increase your understanding of the word, which in turn will help you increase your vocabulary.
Being able to guess the meaning of words from their context is a skill that is particularly helpful when you come across idioms. For example, in the sentence
the phrase lost track of time is an idiom that means to forget about the time. If you didn't know the meaning of this idiom and you looked up each word in the dictionary, you still would not understand the sentence.
Scanning is a skill that requires that you read quickly while looking for specific information. To scan a reading text, you should start at the top of the page and then move your eyes quickly toward the bottom. Generally, scanning is a technique that is helpful when you are looking for the answer to a known question. This is especially helpful when taking a test.
Like scanning, skimming requires you to read quickly. When you skim a text, though, you are not looking for specific information, but rather, you are trying to get the main idea or point of the text you are reading. When skimming a reading selection, start with the title of the text, then read the topic sentence of each paragraph. Skimming is a skill that is especially suited for doing research. By skimming a few pages of a reference book or novel, you can generally tell if the book or novel will be useful for your research.
When we see sentences written on paper, we see words that are separated by spaces. What we hear when we speak, though, are not words but sounds. Words are separated by spaces on paper for convenience. Reading is similar to speaking because people who are proficient readers read sentences in units of words rather than one word at a time. This skill takes practice, but if mastered is well worth the effort.
1. So far all attempts to relate the bird's navigational ability to electric forces and magnetic activity have failed. Magnets and minute radio transmitters attached to the bird's body, do not interrupt or influence migration. Radar beams bombarding the bird invisibly have no known effect. Rotation of migrants in covered cages during transportation by car or plane does not confuse them on release. One look at the celestial clues, their sky compass and the really expert long-distance birds are away in the correct direction. It has not been proved that birds carry a magnetic compass.
What is the main topic of the passage?
A. The navigational ability of birds throughout the ages.
B. How electric forces or magnets do not affect a bird's orientation.
C. The bombardment of radar beams.
D. The way birds look at the celestial clues.
2. One of the most widespread uses of survey research today is for rating radio and television programs. Commercial ratings of network radio programs were first undertaken by the C.E. Hooper Company in 1935. Then, the A.C Nielsen Company, founded in the early 1940s, invented its mechanical recording device, the audimeter, that was attached to radio receivers to monitor the station and the amount of time a set was tuned in to it. Nielsen bought the Hooper Company in 1950. By the mid- 1970s Nielsen ~ offering an "instantaneous Nielsen" service by connecting some 1,200 sets to a central computer for overnight tabulation of audiences.
What is the passage about?
A. Survey research for radio and television ratings.
B. The relation between the Hooper Company and the Nielson Company
C. The uses of central computers.
D. How radios are monitored by stations.
1. What is the effect of magnets on birds?
A. They interrupt the migration of birds. C. They act as a compass.
B. They have no effect at all.
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