1. Easy reading books for each child. Anything that is at or below their grade level is fine.
2. A watch with a second hand.
3. A pen to tap with.
1. For about one minute, have the children open any book at their desk and practice seeing all the words as fast as they can. This is not for comprehension, just the ability to SEE words. Once they have seen all the words on the page, ask them to look up so you know they are done.
2. Next, tell them to open a storybook at their desk. (You may want to take a trip to the school library before this lesson and tell the students to check out an easy book to read. Approve the books before they check them out so you know if they are below grade level or not). Tell they the students they have one second to see each line of print. They only get to have two glances to see the whole line. This requires seeing several words at a glance.
Tap your pen every second to make sure they are keeping up with the one line per second rate. Remind them to make two glances per tap, seeing half of the line per glance. Comprehension will be really poor at first. You should focus on speed first and allow the comprehension to naturally set in to the students. Comprehension will occur eventually for most kids.
After about a minute or two, tell the students to go just as fast, but that you will tap once per page instead of once per second. Each tap will be 20 to 30 seconds apart, depending on how many lines of reading material are on each page.
3. Explain how to visualize to your students. Tell them that when you read a good book, you can picture in your mind’s eye what the characters look like and what they are doing. This is visualization. With speed reading, the visualization must be developed to a greater degree. This takes effort. For some people this is difficult, but everyone gets better with practice.
4. Tell the students to pretend that they see the word house on the page. Ask them to picture the house in their heads. What color is that house? Does it have a lawn? Are there any smells? Can you hear any sounds? Explain that the more detail you can imagine, the more alive the real story becomes. As you add more pictures to the story, the picture becomes a movie in your mind. Explain that the ability to visualize determines the speed at which a person reads. Visualization will aid in retention.
5. “Now, let’s give it a try.”
Ask the students to reopen their books and try and visualize the what the book is about.
“Tap, tap, tap…”
After about 2 or 3 minutes, stop and ask how well they are understanding. If comprehension is still poor, it is usually better at the end of the drill than at the beginning.
6. To assess student progress, ask them to read for 5 or more minutes uninterrupted except for the tap every 20 to 30 seconds. A couple of minutes in to the drill, quit doing the taps to see if they maintain the speed without prodding. At the end of the drill, ask the students to talk or write about what they read so you know whether or not they comprehend the stories.
Reference: Stancliffe, George.
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