Books and Reading
Books can fit almost every need, temper, or interest. Books can be read when you are in the mood; they don't have to be taken in periodic doses. Books are more personal and more impersonal than professors. Books have an inner confidence which individuals seldom show; they rarely have to be on the defensive. Books can afford to be bold, and courageous, and explanatory; they don't have to be so careful of boards of trustees, colleagues, and community opinion. Books are infinitely diverse; they run the gamut of human activity. Books can express every point of view; if you want a different point of view, you can read a different book. Reading is probably the most important skill you will need for success in your studies. You will have to read lengthy assignments in different subjects with varying degrees of detail and difficulty. If you read inaccurately, you will fail to understand some of the information and ideas you read. If you read slowly, you will have to spent too much time reading your assignments so that your other work may suffer.
Poor reading may be a problem for you, but it is not a hopeless one. Like other skills your ability to read English rapidly and accurately will depend upon a careful instruction and purposeful practice. You must continue to practice on your own to improve your reading skill.
Reading speed is determined in part by how many words your eyes can see at a single glance. Here is a comparison of three different readers and how many stops their eyes make.
Being ¦ able ¦ to read ¦ by phrases ¦ instead of ¦ by single ¦ words ¦ results ¦ from ¦ practice.
Being able ¦ to read ¦ by phrases ¦ instead of ¦ by single words ¦ results ¦ from practice.
Being able to read by phrases ¦ instead of by single words ¦ results from practice.
Notice that the slow reader's eyes must stop fourteen times, focusing on each word alone before they move on to the next. The eyes of the average reader stop six or seven times because they are able to see about two words at a single glance. The eyes of the fast reader stop only three times. They focus at the center of a phrase and see three or four words, then move rapidly to the next phrase. This ability to see words on either side of the point at which your eyes focus is called peripheral vision. As a foreign student of English, you may feel, that it is impossible to recognize so many words at a single glance. It is difficult for many native speakers, but it can be done - and must be done if you are to read as rapidly as you should. You can increase your peripheral vision by eye exercises.
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