Apr 18, 2007

Reading strategies

How do we read texts?

We use different approaches to read different texts.

We can read quickly or slowly, skimming for the general ideas or scanning for a specific point.

How we read depends on the text - its length, its type - and our purpose in reading it - for pleasure, for information, for the general idea, etc.

In the FCE Reading paper, candidates need to identify the text type and the purpose of the task and to apply the appropriate approach.
Our relative success as readers is shown in the outcome of our reading - do we find the information we want, or understand the general idea - which depends on applying different reading strategies to different types of text.

The range of tasks and text types in the FCE Reading paper requires candidates to apply these different strategies effectively.

Here are some situations in which you would apply different approaches to reading:
When you read the back of a book trying to choose what to read on your holiday, you read for gist.
When you look at the front page of the newspaper on the bus but you only have a few minutes before your stop, you read for the main points.
When you assemble something using an instruction manual, you read for detailed understanding.
When you look for a location on a department store floor guide, you read for specific information.
When you look at a sign in a language you don't know, you have to deduce the meaning.
When you read a short story, you follow a narrative.

No comments: