Speed reading. In order to complete all three IELTS reading passages, you will need to manage your time well and use good techniques, as well as have a good level of English. One of the most common failures in IELTS reading is when candidates fail to complete their test because of a lack of time. This is why learning how to read at speed is so important.
There are two common reasons why students have difficulty speed reading. First is the habit of reading each word individually, understanding and then moving on to the next word. For example: “Cocker spaniels were originally bred as gun dogs, used when hunting to retrieve birds”. By reading in this manner, not only will it be difficult to complete the reading tasks, you can also have difficulty understanding longer sentences.
When read word by word, a lot of time is wasted backtracking. For example, having read cocker – spaniels – were, your eyes may automatically jump back to the beginning of the sentence and start again. It is much more effective when reading at speed to use a technique known as ‘chunking’. For example: “Cocker spaniels were originally bred as gun dogs, used when hunting to retrieve birds”. Another common error is vocalising – that is, saying the words to yourself as you read. This technique slows down your reading speed but it may take a lot of practice to stop this habit. Remember that in the IELTS test you are reading for mostly general meaning, not to follow every single word. There may be times when you need specific information, but good speed reading skills will help you locate the sections that you should read more carefully.
With practice, the average speed of a native speaker is about 300 words per minute. In this lesson, you will find out what your speed reading ability is and practice improving it.