Various Speed Reading Techniques
by Melvin Ng
The ability to speed read is an important skill
in today's world, where - whether we are students
or at work - we are often expected to read hefty
amounts of materials on a daily basis. As a result,
improving your speed reading technique is something
each and every one of us should not only do, but
maintain. What, then, are speed reading techniques?
If You'd Like To Know Why Reading
by Barbara Freedman-De Vito
Here Are Some of the Reasons Why Reading Is So Important
Why Do We Tell Children to Read?
We're always telling children that books and reading are
good for them, but have we ever really thought about why
that's true ? Exactly what do older children get out of
reading novels ? What do younger kids get from reading
children's stories and being read to ? Does reading matter?
The purpose of this article is to say that, yes, it's
true, reading really is important, and that there are
some solid reasons why that is so. Let's begin with the
practical benefits and then move on to the less tangible
rewards of a life filled with reading.
Books Help Children Develop Vital Language Skills
Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed
in children. Not only is it necessary for survival in
the world of schools and (later on) universities, but
in adult life as well. The ability to learn about new
subjects and find helpful information on anything from
health problems and consumer protection to more academic
research into science or the arts depends on the ability
Futurologists used to predict the death of the printed
word but, ironically, Internet has made reading more and
more a part of people's daily lives. The paperless society
is a myth. The computer's ability to process and analyze
data means that endless variations on reports and other
types of documents can be and are generated. Internet,
itself an enormous new source of information and recreation,
is based on the humble written word. To effectively utilize
the web and judge the authenticity and value of what is
found there, both reading and critical thinking skills
are of prime importance.
The more children read, the better they become at reading.
It's as simple as that. The more enjoyable the things
they read are, the more they'll stick with them and develop
the reading skills that they'll need for full access to
information in their adult lives. Reading should be viewed
as a pleasurable activity - as a source of entertaining
tales and useful and interesting factual information.
The more young children read stories and are read to,
the greater their interest in mastering reading. Reading
out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing.
It enhances the development of their spoken language skills,
their ability to express themselves verbally.
Reading, by way of books, children's stories, magazines
or websites, exposes kids to new vocabulary. Even when
they don't understand every new word, they absorb something
from the context that may deepen their understanding of
it the next time the word is encountered. When parents
read aloud to children, the children also hear correct
pronunciation as they see the words on the page, even
if they can't yet read the words on their own.
Reading Can Open Up New Worlds and Enrich Children's
As mentioned above, reading opens doors - doors to factual
information about any subject on earth, practical or theoretical.
Given the wealth of available resources such as Internet,
libraries, schools and bookstores, if children can read
well and if they see reading as a source of information,
then for the rest of their lives they will have access
to all of the accumulated knowledge of mankind, access
to all of the great minds and ideas of the past and present.
It truly is magic!
Through books and stories, children can also learn about
people and places from other parts of the world, improving
their understanding of and concern for all of humanity.
This, in turn, contributes towards our sense that we truly
live in a "global village" and may help us bring
about a more peaceful future for everyone. This can happen
through nonfiction but, perhaps even more importantly,
reading stories that are set in other places and time
periods can give children a deeper understanding of others
through identification with individual characters and
Through stories and novels children can vicariously try
out new experiences and test new ideas, with no negative
consequences in their real lives. They can meet characters
who they'll enjoy returning to for comforting and satisfying
visits when they reread a cherished book or discover a
sequel. Books also give kids the opportunity to flex their
critical thinking skills in such areas as problem solving,
the concepts of cause and effect, conflict resolution,
and acceptance of responsibility for one's actions. Mysteries
allow children to follow clues to their logical conclusions
and to try to outguess the author. Even for very young
children, a simple story with a repetitive refrain or
a simple mystery to solve gives a confidence boost. Children
can predict the patterns and successfully solve the riddles.
Children are influenced by and imitate the world around
them. While a steady diet of violent cartoons may have
a detrimental effect on children's development, carefully
chosen stories and books can have a positive influence
on children, sensitizing them to the needs of others.
For example, books can encourage children to be more cooperative,
to share with others, to be kind to animals, or to respect
the natural environment.
Reading Can Enhance Children's Social Skills
Although reading is thought of as the quintessential solitary
activity, in certain circumstances reading can be a socializing
activity. For example, a parent or grandparent reading
a story aloud, whether from a traditional printed book
or from an ebook, can be a great opportunity for adult
and child to share some quiet, relaxed quality time together
away from the rush and stresses of the business of daily
living. They share a few minutes of precious time, plus
they share the ideas that are contained in the story.
In addition, older children can be encouraged to read
aloud to younger ones as a means of enhancing their relationship.
At school or at a library story hour, books can bring
children together and can be part of a positive shared
experience. For some preschoolers this may be their primary
opportunity to socialize and to learn how to behave around
other children or how to sit quietly for a group activity.
Make the most of this experience by encouraging children
to talk about what they've read or heard.
Reading Can Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
It may sound funny, but ebooks can be a way for children
to improve their fine motor skills and their hand-eye
coordination, as they click around a childfriendly website
or click the backward and forward buttons of online story
pages. They may also be picking up valuable computer skills
that they'll need in school and later in life.
Reading Can Provide Children with Plenty of Good, Clean
I've saved the most important point for last. Reading
can provide children with endless hours of fun and entertainment.
All of the pragmatic reasons above aren't at all necessary
to justify reading's place in children's lives. Stories
can free up imaginations and open up exciting new worlds
of fantasy or reality. They allow children to dream and
may give them a good start on the road to viewing reading
as a lifelong source of pleasure; so read to your young
children every day.
Inspire your older children to read. Give them access
to plenty of reading material that they'll enjoy and discuss
it with them. Sample everything - traditional printed
books and ebooks on Internet, classic children's novels
and fairy tales, as well as more modern stories.
If a child wants to hear the same story over and over
again, don't worry about it. Children take comfort from
the familiarity and predictability of a beloved story
that they know by heart. There's no harm in that. Reread
old favorites and, at the same time, introduce your children
to new stories. Your child's mind and heart have room
So Reading Really Does Matter After All
There are so many ways in which reading continues to be
both a vital skill for children to master, and an important
source of knowledge and pleasure that can last a lifetime.
Nurture it in your children. Make the most of all the
resources that are available and waiting for you: printed
books, online stories, magazines and so forth. Encourage
follow-up activities involving creative writing skills
and the arts, as well, so that your children can reflect
upon or expand on what they've absorbed and, at the same
time, develop their own creativity. As you help your kids
appreciate the magic of reading, you'll find that there's
a whole wonderful world full of children's literature
out there that YOU can enjoy too.
About the Author
Barbara Freedman-De Vito, children's librarian, teacher,
professional storyteller, and artist, writes and illustrates
animated children's stories which are available at http://www.babybirdproductions.com
which also has free games and educational activities for
children, teachers and parents. Clothing and gift items
decorated with artwork from the stories are also available.