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Strategies for Improving Reading Efficiency

Designing word-recognition exercises

In designing and using these exercises, two points should be kept in mind.

First. Word recognition exercises are not vocabulary-development exercises. The purpose of these exercises is not to broaden a student´s vocabulary but rather to improve his ability to focus very briefly on words for immediate recognition and comprehension.
In subsequent, application to actual reading, it is hoped that these exercise will free the student from the need to focus on common words at all; they should be so familiar that he can look at them as components of larger meaning-units. Therefore, the key words and possible answers should be within the student´s vocabulary

Second, these exercises must be very strictly timed so as to preclude the possibility that the students will have enough time to revert to sounding out the words he sees. It is crucial to keep the pace challenging; otherwise, students may lose interest in this valuable activity.

There are three strategies:
1) Train students to read in phrases
The types of phrases and clauses should be highlighted in grammar lessons. And in their reading classes, students should practice to break passages up into meaning units, so at the end they can focus only the important information of each unit.
2) Phrase recognition exercises. Similar to Word recognition exercises.
3) “Read and look up”. Students will read silently, look up and say what they understood. The main advantage of this technique is that students will not depend on their books and increase in short-term memory capacity.
This techniques are the beginning of an EFU ( English Foundation Unit) reading program, which could have better results to transfer reading skills from students native language to English, by combining them with vocabulary development and reading skills activities.

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