One of the basic skill crucial to every individual is the ability to read. Reading is a fundamental skill that allows a person to be able to expand knowledge and widen certain topics of interest. We do not just gather information and insights about various things from listening alone. People who lack the ability to read are just but unfortunate to not have this basic skill because it deprives them from getting equipped with apt knowledge and makes them feel mediocre in this ever-competitive world.
Reading also polishes a person’s listening and speaking skills. Silent reading is much like thinking aloud, only that the ideas are fed into the mind. Reading aloud is good practice to improve one’s speaking ability. As a basic language skill, it enhances or builds good vocabulary.
It is said that reading puts meaning on the written words and text. Emotions are conveyed when the written context are read aloud. Also, this basic skill encourages the reader to comprehend what was being read, understanding the thoughts and the message in the mind.
Importance of Reading Skill
There are three major goals every person should know in developing reading skill: independence, comprehension, and fluency. We all start out by reading words for the sake being able to utter them, just as how our parents and educators in school would teach us. Eventually, we learn to read and understand the meaning at the same time on our own. Finally, speed reading will make us fluent enough in acquiring the skill. Then, we become skillful readers.
Proficiency is what we get out of becoming skillful readers. You may not fully realize it, but having a good reading comprehension can be one of your weapons to achieving the career you want. Employers would associate an adept reader with being a critical thinker as well. Whatever we do and wherever we go, there is always something to read. Lack of good comprehension makes reading as a skill useless.
If you are a traveler, you must have the ability to quickly read signs, directions, instructions, and the like. In the office, employees read emails, memos, and directives almost everyday. When one lacks reading skill, it would be difficult to fully understand the information and instructions provided in these office communication tools.
How to Assess Reading Skill
Knowing how to tell if the person is proficient in this skill is fairly easy: having the ability to comprehend. This has been further explained in the former paragraph. Although fluency is a major goal in developing reading ability, comprehension is still the ultimate gauge to proficiency. A person may read fast but not really understand what was being read. Fluency and comprehension must go hand in hand. Now, this is true skill. If you can decipher the words, phrases, and sentences you are uttering from the written text, and paraphrase them based on your own understanding and interpretation, you are considered a skillful reader.
How to Enhance Reading Skill
Certainly, there are ways and techniques to develop the ability to read with proficiency. One method is skimming which is done by running one’s eyes over the written words or text with a purpose of getting the most essential information. Skimming is usually effective when reading newspapers, magazines, and business and travel brochures.
Another method to use is called scanning. Much like skimming, this technique is done by going through the text and spotting only for the needed information or detail. The difference between skimming and the latter is that through skimming, you can read through details after you found a certain heading or title that you want to read, for example. But with scanning, there is no need to read through every statement or the whole content but only makes use of key-wording.
Extensive reading and intensive reading are two other ways you can develop your reading skill. With extensive reading, you get to read longer texts especially when you are reading for pleasure or during your leisure time. Intensive reading is applicable for shorter texts with the goal of digging up only particular details. With this method, it is crucial to understand every word and number in the text.