The following are the different strategies that can help you improve your reading skills;
1. Identify the purpose of reading
Your reading must be directed at achieving the identified reasons or goals for doing so.
Why do people read? They read for several reasons. One of the fundamental reasons for reading is utilitarianism. Reading compulsorily to pass examinations. This is also called achievement reading. This is reading because you must. Reading in developing countries is mainly utilitarian.
Interestingly, several senior academic fellows in our citadels of learning read-only for achievement purposes. They read to prepare for their lectures for those who do that. They read to enable them to write, publish, and be promoted.
The reading ends when they have reached the position of Professor. Do you have Professors around you? Find out from them, the number of books they have read in the past six months. Find out also the kind of books they read.
Another reason for reading is escapist or recreational. This is reading for relaxation. Picking up light reading material when you want to ease up or relax is escapist reading. There are several things people engage in when they want to unwind; reading light novels, magazines and newspapers is one of such activities to relax recreational reading.
Others read for religious reasons. They read to understand their belief, identify with their convictions, to be accepted in their religious group or as an obligation in their faith. So many people read for religious reasons.
There is reading for social reasons. This is reading for the sake of reading. Reading to identify with a class; to be informed on the reigning trend; reading for the need to belong and display your status.
When your reason for reading is identified, it will spur more reading and help to improve your skills.
2. Develop an acceptable reading strategy
To develop your reading skills, determine the reading strategy that works for you, and motivates and encourages you to read. Select the reading strategies that help you to understand and comprehend your texts easily.
When you read for achievement purposes, you might develop some mnemonics to help you remember what you read. Your reading strategies should be used flexibly and interchangeably.
3. Select relevant texts
One major barrier to reading is the scarcity of relevant reading materials. When you do not have good and acceptable materials to read, your reading habits will become stunted.
One of the first steps to improving your reading skills is to identify and select the documents relevant to you and your reasons for reading.
4. Develop the Habit of Journaling
Develop the habit of recording essential points from your reading. Journaling can help you reach a wide range of goals, clear your head, make valuable connections between thoughts and buffer the effect of tiredness from reading.
It helps you to build vocabulary, develop quotations and record useful ideas you may refer to in the future. A good habit of journaling will enhance your writing skills.
Writing and Three (3) Techniques for Developing Effective Writing Skills
Writing is one of the most convenient means of communication. It is regarded as an expressive skill. It generally signifies the act of putting ideas, thoughts, and information on paper or other devices using obvious signs, symbols, or codes.
Usually, writing accomplishes objectives, aims, or purposes. Writing is a communication skill that is consciously learned, practiced, and developed. It works better with constant practice. Academic, scientific, and professional writing requires a deal of effort and consistent hard work.
Writing works with reading. You will be a poor writer if you have an unfortunate reading habit. Writing is tedious. Good writing must be coherent and meaningful. This means that sentences and paragraphs are logically and sequentially connected. Writing is one of the most potent means to express ideas.
The power of ideas and thoughts is expressed through writing. Effective writing requires thinking, creativity, and proper articulation of your thoughts. Also, it requires adequate knowledge of language and techniques of writing. Without these, you cannot write skilfully, logically, and excellently.
1. Tailor the Language to the audience
Effective writing is addressed to a specific group of readers or audience. The audience must be kept in mind while writing. This means that the writer must understand the audience the material is meant for.
The readers must occupy the center of your writing. To communicate effectively to the audience, you must tailor the language to them. The readers’ knowledge, level, feelings, and orientation are essential in the choice of language in writing.
The use of language in writing for the literary audience is different from the science readers. Every area, level, and specialty has its technicalities. You must consciously consider this when you are writing.
Similarly, the writer should use words and language that convey the same meaning to the readers. You should avoid vague and ambiguous use of words. You should also avoid sweeping generalizations in your writing.
Study your words and language carefully and their precise meaning. Words that convey double or multiple meanings should be scarcely and carefully used.
2. Use Familiar Words
Your writing will be judged strange if the words of the text are foreign or unfamiliar. Writing is an effective communication tool. To communicate with your readers, it is important to use familiar words that are prevalent in everyday communication.
Your writing might be turned into jargon if it is filled with complex and challenging words that are not easy to understand by your readers. Your writing should communicate clearly and meaningfully to the specific audience.
Read Also: The Reading Process and the Goal of Reading
However, technical, professional, and complex words that fit into the subject and connect with the audience are recommended in every professional writing.
For instance, you cannot write on economics and use the journalist‘s newspaper words and language. Words that are suitable in the subject, although technical and complex are still preferable. Effective writing utilizes actual words that communicate clearly and sharply.
Avoid the use of abstract words and vocabulary that most writers introduce to impress. You do not write to impress; it is to communicate.
3. Use short sentences
The shorter your sentences in writing, the better. Writing short sentences makes writing simpler. Generally, the longer your sentences, the higher the likelihood of misunderstanding or misrepresentation.
Writing in short sentences communicate better than long sentences that are most times difficult to understand.
Long sentences should be used when there is no alternative way of shortening them or when converting the writing to short sentences will alter the meaning. You should deliberately avoid disjointed sentences. Ensure your sentences belong together.
Writing is a communication skill that enables you to record your ideas and thoughts in a permanent format. Those who have effective writing skills preserve fundamental thoughts and ideas about life, society, relationships, career, and developments.
The less you write, the ephemeral our life becomes; you will be light-headed and easily tossed about; you will lack substance in the scheme of things. There is a measure your brain can store information. Writing helps you to provide an intelligent, meaningful, and excellent backup.
Therefore, effective writing skill is beneficial for the following reasons:
When you are confronted with conveying very complex information, writing becomes essential. The reader can refer to the written text severally until the content becomes easy to comprehend and understand.
It helps you create and preserve a permanent record for present use and future reference.
Sometimes, to leave a footprint on the sands of time, when you are with a very large audience, writing your ideas and thoughts is preferable.
This is mainly in situations where your audience is geographically separated or in a rural setting where video messages may not easily be accessible.
This is also applicable when it is not possible to physically interact with the audience. It will also help you to convey the same message to people in different places.
Read Also: Definition of Learning and its Importance