– Transfer: This means using ideas that you already have to make learning easier. For example, if you know that a paragraph (like a hamburger) usually has an introduction, a middle containing supporting detail, and a conclusion, you can use this knowledge to skim (read very quickly, by missing out non-important information, to understand the general topic) a text because you know that you only have to read the introduction and conclusion of both the whole text and the paragraphs.
– Translation: You can read a story in a newspaper in your own language first, then read the same story in an English newspaper. Most of the story will probably be the same, so the story in your own language will help you to prepare for reading in English. For example, it will give you vocabulary, and when you read the English story and there is some vocabulary that you don’t know, then you can use your knowledge of the story to guess what the new vocabulary is.
– Inferencing: You can also use the strategy of reading a newspaper story in your own language first for prediction. You can predict the contents of the same story in an English newspaper. Reading to confirm your predictions is easier than reading with no background information. Click here for more information on reading newspapers.
– Prediction: As well as predicting from newspaper stories in your own language, you can predict from your knowledge of the world, you knowledge of how people think, write and talk, and your knowledge of what the writer is like. For example, if you are reading a book it is a good idea to read about the author and the contents (on the cover or at the front of the book) to help you make predictions about what he or she believes.
Studying: Reading Skills
Reading skills you might find useful are: skimming, scanning, predicting, understanding the organisation of a text, guessing meanings and identifying a writer’s attitude and purpose.
Skimming is looking through a text very quickly to understand the main topics and arguments. Read the introduction, headings, first and last sentence of each paragraph, and the conclusion. This will help you read and find information faster.
Scanning is looking for details to answer questions that you have. Use the results of your skimming (see above) to find relevant sections, then look quickly through those sections looking for key words that are relevant to your question. This will help you read and find information and quotes faster. Click here for a program called the Scanner in which you paste in your writing, and the program scans it and highlights words that are easy to scan for.
Predicting is guessing the content of a text based on your knowledge of the subject, the author’s area of expertise and opinions, and the context. You can do this by asking yourself ‘journalistic questions‘ about the topic before reading.
You need to understand the organisation of a text at 2 levels, at the paragraph level and at the whole text level. The paragraph level means understanding the organisation of the sentences in a paragraph, and the links between them. For example you can draw arrows from words like ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’, and ‘it’, back to the nouns they refer to, like this: