A slow comprehension rate is a direct outcome of slow reading. Slow reading causes ineffective reading and failure or poor performance in comprehension and summary examinations. The causes of slow reading are many. Some are discussed below:
Slowness in Word Recognition is caused by
- over inspection of words syllable by syllable or even letter by letter.
- inability to recognize words that are familiar and should easily be recognized.
- inability to guess the meaning of words from their context.
- do not waste too much time on word analysis or word inspection
- increase your word power (vocabulary) by reading extensively outside your classwork and field of interest.
Word by Word Reading
Rapid reading is a phrase by phrase reading; it is a matter of comprehending meaning phrase by phrase rather than word by word.
- Learn to look at and read a group of words at a time, that is, develop a good eye span. This means looking at and picking up enough groups of words at once.
- Derive meaning from phrases as units of thought.
Vocalization and Sub-vocalization
Vocalization is the practice of moving lips as one reads. Sub-vocalization is the practice of sounding words internally as one reads. It is a form of inner speech or articulation. The practice of vocalization and sub-vocalization often results in slow word-by-word reading.
- You should discourage the habit of moving your lips while reading because the habit can ruin your success in reading comprehension and summary. It has an even greater implication for your academic success.
- Although it is difficult and undesirable to completely get rid of sub-vocalization, you should, however, eliminate word-by-word sub-vocalization. You should do visual reading accompanied by the articulation of occasional words and phrases.
Poor Visual Perception
Reading is the combined activity of the eye and mind. This collaboration must take place, otherwise reading will be defective.
The eye must perceive written or printed symbols correctly before the mind can make a meaningful interpretation of what is read. The poor condition of the eyes can contribute to poor visual perception.
When the eye does not collaborate with the mind, comprehension is minimal. Also, the environment should be properly lit.
- Short-sightedness, far-sightedness, and other defects of the eye can be corrected by the use of appropriate recommended glasses and treatment.
Excessive Eye Fixation
It should take a reader 1/25th of a second for the interpretation of what comes within the eye span (the number of words the reader can see in a moment).
However, some readers fixate on a particular point for a much longer time than 1/25th of a second. This is excessive eye fixation. It slows down reading and comprehension rates,
- You should consciously eliminate this by reducing the fixation time when reading. Practice faster reading constantly. Do not let your mind wander away.
This is the practice of going over a word or phrase or sentence that has been read a few seconds before. It is usually associated with a lack of attention or lack of concentration.
When regression becomes habitual and compulsive it slows down the reading rate. It also reduces initial comprehension to the barest minimal rate.
However, occasional regression to pick up a half-comprehended and half-forgotten idea does aid comprehension without necessarily slowing down the reading rate.
- Reading with high concentration: Do not allow your mind to wander about or engage in daydreaming or anything about your friends, parents, wife, husband, or loved ones.
Finger-pointing and head movement
The practices tend to belabor the reader unnecessarily. They are undesirable reading habits and should be discouraged.
Finger-pointing can result in word counting or word-by-word reading. Head movement is very dangerous because it quickly tires out the reader and thereby weakens his power of concentration. However, head movement does not by itself necessarily reduce the rate of reading.
- You should consciously eliminate these bad reading habits of finger-pointing and head movement.
Difficulty with Return Sweep
Sometimes slow reading is caused by the reader’s inability to move his eyes swiftly from the end of one line to the beginning of another.
This may be due to eye muscle difficulty, slow fusion or uncorrected far-sightedness, or lack of concentration.
- Seek medical assistance to check it. Be organized while reading.
Lack of Motivation or Interest
Slow reading for comprehension and summary may be due to a lack of motivation or interest in what is being read.
This may be caused by many factors, especially the experience of failure at previous similar examinations or of repeating the examination many times.
It may even be due to a lack of interest in the material being read, for example, some students do not like to read science or mathematical or literary materials.
This may result in the mind wandering from the reading task at hand to other things. This causes slow reading.
- The reader should be adequately motivated and interested in the material to be able to read fast.
Inflexibility in Reading
This is the habit of reading every passage at the same speed regardless of the textual difficulty.
- Vary your rate of reading according to the textual difficulty of the material being read, the reason for reading, and the level of comprehension desired. For example, reading for leisure is different from studying a passage in preparation for an examination.
Lack of Basic Linguistic Skills
The basic linguistic skills include the mastering grammar and syntax of the language in which you are reading.
Mastering h structural essentials of language as word groups; sentence structure; verbs and their helpers; the system of punctuation; and techniques of word formation, is essential for the long-term development of higher reading comprehension rates.
- Revise your English Language textbooks recommended four your class and seek your teacher’s advice and help. Study basic English Language books.
Lack of comprehension skills
Personality Attributes and Disorders
If the reader is less intelligent, he would have slow reading problems. Also, if the reader is too careful not to make mistakes, the tendency is that he will read word-by-word resulting in slow reading.
On the other hand, so, my readers are highly interested in words and the way words are used, with the result that they spend much time appreciating or romancing words in their minds. This makes them slow readers.
Certain personality disorders such as restlessness or lack of attention, nervousness, inferiority complex, laziness, day-dreaming, acquired neurotic tendencies, and lack of concentration affect the slow reading.
This is so because they affect the reader’s ability to concentrate on the reading task at hand. This shortens his attention span and lowers his initiative.
- Adopt an attitude that is conducive to faster reading with understanding. Be self-motivated by thinking about the joy that success brings with it.