ESL Speed Reading Techniques | Free Speed Reading

Learning to Speak English

If you don’t speak English ESL Speed Readingas your native language, despair not! It’s not too difficult to learn how to do ESL speed reading even if you’re an intermediate-level reader. Using proven techniques, it is actually possible to learn to speed read with any language, even if you know only a few basic words.


ESL Speed Reading Techniques

The most important thing to do first is to understand and utilize the techniques I mention in my articles on sub-vocalization and speed reading courses. Without the basics, it’s no use trying to speed read a different language at all since you haven’t invested in the primary techniques.

After that, there are two main routes for you to go. ESL speed reading by extraction is the one that I first want to point out. It basically means that you’re reading quickly, but skipping ahead at certain points because there is a lot of “fluff” in the text, perhaps some repetitive examples or case studies which are nice, but not essential to understanding the text. The second method is the method of word relation, which is good for individuals who speak a language that is similar to English, like Spanish, German, French or some other like it, but wouldn’t work so well for someone who spoke Chinese or Russian since those languages are completely different.


Let’s break this down for ESL speed reading:

The main idea with speed reading by extraction is that you’re building a basis of knowledge about what the passage is about as you read. Then, the further along you get, the quicker you’ll be able to go since you probably are expecting that the passage will say some particular thing, or expound upon a theme you’ve already grasped.

Thus, if you understand the topic sentence of a paragraph, and have become good at identifying it, and can understand it the first time you read something, you can often skip the whole rest of the paragraph without losing much in terms of context. In other words, by understanding how the piece is written, you don’t have to read as much to understand the whole work.

The idea behind word relation is simple, though again, it won’t work for all ESL speed readers: if you can relate and identify what words mean based on similar words you know, then you won’t have to think about their meaning since it will become clear. For example, I can’t hardly read Spanish at all, but here are some Spanish words that I would be willing to bet you could identify right away:

  • computador
  • concentracion
  • dirrecion

In case you’re doubting yourself, those mean “computer”, “concentration” and “direction” respectively. In fact, all -tion words in English are basic cognates, so you could look for that and know all kinds of words already. It doesn’t always work, but in general, it is an excellent strategy for comprehension, and will improve your ESL speed reading vocabulary incredibly.

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