|HOW DO YOU BECOME A BETTER READER?
Do you find yourself unable to catch up with the large amounts
of readings for your studies? Do you find it difficult to evaluate
how much you have understood a text? There are so many other skills
of English (such as speaking, writing, etc.) you want to improve
that reading could be the last one you are willing to spend time
on. But if you realise that reading can actually help you improve
your spoken and written work in some way, you may find the reading
activity worthwhile and rewarding.
The aim of this leaflet
This introductory leaflet is a guide to our advice sheets for the
skill of reading. It provides a description of our advice sheets
on reading, so that you can see what's available, and which ones
might be appropriate to you. Two types of advice sheets are described
here. The ones that provide basic advice (described below) give
suggestions which you may find useful whichever reading subskill(s)
you decide to learn. The ones that provide further advice (described
on the next page) look at the different reading subskills that you
may choose to work on.
Basic advice about reading
Reading may not be the skill that you want to improve in the immediate
future. You may think that you read in your everyday life anyway,
so you don't need to spend extra time on it. Another worry is that
you may not be able to tell whether you have become a better reader
or not after some time of learning. But if you plan your learning
carefully, you will find that it is not impossible to evaluate the
progress you have made in reading. Also, you may get a surprise
bonus: both your writing and speaking could have improved, too.
- Thinking about reading (R2)
Before going any further, we suggest you read this advice
sheet first because it lists some crucial questions about
reading. These questions help you identify your needs for improving
reading, and the reading materials that you enjoy. It also gives
some tips on how to solve your reading problems.
- Evaluating how much you have improved
in reading (R3)
It is very important to assure yourself that your effort has paid
off. This advice sheet describes methods that you may use to evaluate
the progress you have made in your learning so that in the end
you can proudly say that you have become a better reader.
Advice about particular reading skills
Below are the titles of other advice sheets about reading. Just
look at the one(s) that interest you. All the advice sheets suggest
useful materials and tips for learning.
- Improving reading speed (R4)
You may want to increase your reading speed so that you can cope
with the heavy reading load. This advice sheet suggests some of
the ways that can help you read fast.
- Reading for main points (R5)
This advice sheet helps you identify the main points of a text.
This subskill is particularly useful if you do not want to bother
- Reading for specific information (R6)
If you want to locate specific information from a text, this advice
sheet will suggest tips for doing so. Normally you have already
had some basic knowledge about the topic and you have some specific
questions in mind that you hope the text will be able to provide
- Reading critically (R7)
If you are not satisfied with basic understanding of a text, this
advice sheet will give you some ideas on how to read between the
lines. In other words, you will be able to distinguish opinions
from facts; and you will be able to form your own judgement on
the issues raised in a text. This advice sheet will also give
you advice on how to make use of text organisation to understand
- Devising a reading plan (R8)
This advice sheet helps you plan your reading project. First,
it explains the four key components of an effective plan. Then
it shows examples to give you a better idea on how to make a reading
- How to enjoy reading (R9)
This advice sheet aims to raise your awareness on how to enjoy
reading by means of a questionnaire. You can also try out the
strategies suggested in this advice sheet. They will help you
enjoy your reading more.
Good luck with your reading! It may not be very rewarding at the
beginning. But with patience and time, you should find that you
are making progress. And remember, you're not alone! You may talk
to your friends or language instructors. If you need any further
This is part of a series of introductory leaflets supporting independent
language learning produced by the HKUST Center for Language Education SAC team.
This leaflet was written by Susanna Ho, 1997. Version 1. If you
copy this leaflet, please acknowledge the source. Thanks.