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How to read difficult texts

How to read difficult texts

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Published by Mubarak Abdessalami

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Published by: Mubarak Abdessalami on Jan 22, 2008
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01/28/2011

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How to read indigestible texts!

By: Mubarak Abdessalami "Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot." ~ Proverb ~

Introduction
To read and assimilate stiff and heavy texts is in no way a picnic. It is basically hard work structured by awareness and systematic determination to decipher the texts ambiguity and somehow overpower their stiffness. Don't stop reading now; otherwise you will never try to learn how to build up your own procedure to conquer the most rigid scripts. Reading is sometimes tedious and tiresome in cases such as when: * You don't feel like reading at all * You are forced to read a text you don't appreciate (at school) * The text itself is not stimulating for you. * The text is not motivating but you have to read it to answer questions * Texts for comprehension tasks are mostly disappointing. So in order to surmount any of the hindrances stated above, you should develop and later on master a reading strategy that encourages you to rise above your easily broken enthusiasm for doing a reading task as you have no other options. First you have to take it for granted that the texts used in exams aren't necessarily the ones that necessary please you and trigger your curiosity, so * You have to train yourself to deal with them per se. * You have to force yourself to easily familiarize with uninspiring texts. * You have to train yourself to get acquainted with weird texts so to speak. * You have to accept and adapt to different reading tasks and situations. Because it is not up to you to decide which text type you prefer to be assigned, you have to train yourself to accept whatever text you are supposed to read. Thus you have to develop your own method to recognize and deal with inappropriateness as far as texts are concerned. This is not something complex to reach. It is only a matter of practice. Normally, your emblem should be "Get profit from what you read but not read what you think is profitable for you in your studies". Selecting will come later when the time of obligatory exam texts is gone by. Imagine you have to read a text which theme has nothing of inspiring for you. What should you do?! Do you drop everything and quit the test room?! This way you prove you are a screwed dumb failure. There is nothing which could stop you from reading whatever passage you are exposed to provided that you adopt an approach which facilitates the task for you to become a modern learner. Modern learners accept change and adjust to novelties.

Procedure
The first thing you have to do is to read the title of the given text; and this will at least give you a broad idea about the content. If the text is without a title, you have to focus your attention on the text viewing it in terms of a map. As you can see, this is basically a visual

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searching procedure but it is not skimming yet; I mean to look for anything that breaks the standard layout of the text. That's what you could call the 'geography' of the text: Are there any words written in different styles, underlined, highlighted, written in italic or bold and so on? Such words or phrases show that they are key tools fostering understanding the text, any text. If I don't know them; and they are not explained on the margin and I have no access to a dictionary, they will actually generate trouble. Your vocabulary repertoire, thus, should be relatively strong to bear intolerances as such. However, should you know all the words in a text?! No, it is not necessary. Through regular reading activities, you should have developed a sort of inference ability which will allow you understanding word meanings through the context. Once again, nothing is gained without a repetitive organized practice throughout the school year and beyond. Next step is to read the first and last paragraphs of the text or the first and last sentences of each paragraph. The first sentence of a paragraph plays the role of the title of the paragraph. It gives you the general idea of the paragraph as a whole; and what remains in the paragraph are details which you can read later for specific information and that's the scanning technique. Now, the reading of the text becomes less hard and a little bit inspiring. If the text is long, I have to take notes either to control the chronological sequence of events in the text if it is narrative or at least to use those notes later as an external memory that help me remember the other details of the text without reading the whole text again and over again. Stage-managing an uninspiring text this way could be compared to a heavy tree trunk that you want to move elsewhere. The easiest and most appropriate way to do it is by chopping the trunk up into pieces so as to make it effortless and practical to displace. These steps intelligently break the rigidity of the text no matter how dull its topic is. They lessen and weaken the hard impression you might have at the start that the text is completely Greek or incomprehensible for you. This dissection at work helps the reader to triumph over the hardness of the text and afterward to master the whole game; and the disinterest in reading the text suddenly and perhaps magically becomes a matter of the past. Obstinacy and perseverance often make miracles; they render indigestible themes at least acceptable and let you tame fierce texts. Conclusion To conclude, once you know what you want and how you could reach your objectives from doing a reading task is what we call simply a straight progress towards learning how to read dynamically and in an insightful conduct to defeat the most intricate enigmatic texts. Finally I'd like you to keep in mind that "Perfect practice makes perfect". Good luck.

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