Next, look at the book`s structure and preview these elements. Most books have jackets or covers which point out some of the features of the book. Look over the title page, preface, introduction, or foreword, chapter headings, chapter subheadings, and index. These elements will give you a sense of the subject matter and how it will be presented. If the book includes illustrations, diagrams, charts, graphs, quizzes, practice questions, or a glossary, scan them quickly to get a sense of the information transmitted and clarity of presentation. Now, map out the information you have gathered. You can do this on paper or in your mind, but take a moment to specify the main idea of the book and its supporting arguments or sections. Your map might be in outline form using the contents listing as a start or you might construct a memory tree with the basic idea as the trunk and the subsidiary ideas as branches.
Improve your reading comprehension by developing your ability to define the structure of the material you`re reading. Before you read a book, you have to survey its table of contents and foreword or introduction. Next, proceed to scanning the chapter titles and section headings. That way, you get a clearer idea of what a certain reading material is all about. Have a purpose in mind every time you start to read something. Reading aimlessly will lead you to nowhere. If your purpose for reading is clear, it`s easier for you to focus your mind on the significant ideas and information. This prevents information overload. Also, having a purpose enables you to allocate your time and attention wisely while reading.
Think about this for a moment? How many times has this happened to you in the past? You want to read and learn a complex text. It is overwhelming how much information it contains. You look at the book, and experience an overwhelming feeling of dread as your mind floods with questions. Where do I begin? What am I supposed to learn? How can I learn this? Fortunately there is a simple answer to all of these questions. You can begin to relax as you learn the five things you must always learn to improve your reading comprehension even while speed reading. There is an acronym that makes it easy to remember the five items you must learn. The acronym is ABCOQ. The letter "A" stands for abstract of terms, or the new vocabulary words. "B" represents biography, or the names of the people described in your text. "C" is for chronologies which is short hand for numbers, dates, and statistics. "O" represents creating an outline of all the headers found in your text, and you look for the four key points covered in each section. Finally, "Q" represents all the questions found in your book.
If you thought reading statistics were bad, wait till you look at the math statistics. They are even worst! Did you know that 38% of high school seniors can`t count? That is correct. Even worst, I am not talking about algebra, geometry, or calculus. I am referring to decimals, fractions, and percentages. Isn`t it frightening that 38% of our seniors do not have these elementary math skills? When you consider that in Europe students in the 7th grade are learning Calculus are you still surprised that we are losing jobs? Right now the United States has the lowest science and math scores in the industrialized world. Since science and math drive technology, and technology drives the economy, can you now see why our economic problems are directly linked to these statistics? Yes these are terrible statistics, but it gets even worst in college.
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