Reading is the most important habit for studying. In liberal arts classes, students dedicate up to 90 % of their personal study time to reading. It is through reading that most knowledge is gained and it therefore strongly influences the intellect. It is through reading that words can be recognized, capturing the author’s thoughts and contrasting one’s own thoughts in a critical manner. In one way or another, a dialogue between the reader and the author is established. Laín Entralgo defined reading as the “silent colloquium between the reader and the author”.

 Three different types of reading can be identified: one is for distraction, which is not so deep and where the argument is the point of interest rather than the acquirement of knowledge; another type of reading for information, which aims to capture a general vision of a given theme, such as in a book; and finally, there is the reading meant for studying or training, which is the slowest one and aims to exhaust a determined theme.

   Two main components for reading are: speed and comprehension. Speed is the velocity at which amount of words are read per minute, which tend average between 200 and 250 words for a normal student. Comprehension can be measured through an objective assessment to be conducted immediately after the reading is finished. It is often graded on a scale from 0 to 10, and it usually has between 6 and 7 questions for a normal reading. It is important to avoid mechanical reading, that is, reading without comprehension.

   Instead, effort must be put forth to read everything in a well paced manner so as to assimilate the greatest amount of knowledge possible. This increases one’s concentration level while improving the speed of reading without compromising comprehension.

   If you want to achieve a quick reading speed, doubling or even tripling your actual speed without compromising comprehension, you should do a fast pace reading course. Through a specific type of training you can reach a fast speed, such as the one reached by President Kennedy, who was able to read 1200 words per minute.

   It is convenient to examine the lesson before beginning to study its content deeply. In other words, scan through the lesson, observing what the questions are about, the drawings, charts, pictures, etc. This is how you can get an overall idea of the topic. The second step would be to ask yourself about what you already know of the topic and try to answer that question. This is how previous knowledge is linked with new knowledge.

        Arturo Ramo García

Instructions: select one of the buttons with letters a, b and c. The selected answer will appear in red.



1.- Reading occupies 90 % of one’s time in:

a) Personal study.

b) Science homework.  

c) Liberal arts classes.

2.- An overall vision of a subject can be achieved through:

a) Reading for information.

b) Reading for distraction.

c) Reading for study.

3.- The slowest and deepest type of reading is the one for: 

a) Information.

b) Distraction.

c) Study.

4.- Reading without comprehension is known as:

a) Mechanic reading.

b) Reading for distraction.

c) Unsatisfactory.  

5.- Scanning through a lesson is:

a) An exploration.

b) A superficial reading.

c) Reading for distraction.


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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL