Increase Your Reading Fluency

Students often complain about how long it takes to read text books, but speed-reading is usually not effective for college reading. Textbooks are dense with information; time and concentration are necessary in order to comprehend the material and make connections between related concepts.

One way to increase reading speed is by improving fluency.

The most common obstacle to fluent reading is regression— or the tendency to have to reread a sentence, phrase, or passage. Regression is often the result of a lack of concentration the first time through the material (Regression, along with other reading associated problems, such as "tired eyes" or headaches while reading, may indicate a vision disorder. Contact an optometrist if you frequently experience these problems while reading.) To control regression, notice when you are re-reading text and make a conscious effort to increase your concentration. Increase awareness of regression by using a note-card to cover what you have read; you will have to move the note-card to re-read, which will bring the regression to your attention.

Another way to improve fluency is to reduce word-by-word reading. Look at phrases instead of at individual words this will  increase reading speed. Reading in phrases also makes it easier to determine the author's meaning.

Understanding key vocabulary is essential to reading fluency. Try to deduce the word's definition from its context first, but if you aren't sure what it means, look it up in a dictionary. Misunderstanding a key word may interfere with understanding an important concept.