1.Use titles, pictures, introductions, headings to help situate the context of the reading. Ask yourself what you already know about the text to make predictions about what you might read. Just like with listening, it helps to activate prior knowledge (what do you already know about this topic? What vocabulary or grammar do you know that can help you?)
2.DON’T look up EVERY word you don’t know. You aren't expected to understand every word! (Do you honestly understand every word you read in English? How do you deal with those words?). Try to make an educated guess through the context (the ideas that surround the unfamiliar word and it's relationship grammatically to other words in the sentence—is it a verb? Subject? Adjective? Etc.) Generally you should look up a word if you see it more than once or if it seems to be the key to understanding the sentence. You are NOT expected to understand every single word; therefore, DO NOT attempt to translate word for word. Your goal is to understand the main ideas.
When you look up words, do something with them—write them somewhere (not just on the page where you found the word—keep a vocab notebook. If you don’t use the word, you’ll find you look up the same things again and again.
3.Look for cognates (words that look like English and often have similar meanings—careful, sometimes they trick you!), look for words related to words you know (if you know that “enferma” means “sick”, you can guess that “enfermera” is related to sickness even if you don’t guess that it means “nurse”), use context to guess meanings of words.
4. Start with the VERBS (the action). If you can figure out what they mean and what they are doing in the sentence (who is the subject?--who is doing the action?; is the verb in present? Past? Future? Etc.) you are on your way to getting the main idea. Let word order and grammar cues guide you. It can sometimes be helpful to visually mark particular grammar points (this is true on exams too), such as circling the subject, underlining the verb, drawing arrows to objects, etc.
5. Read each text THREE TIMES.
+First do a quick reading of text (or a section of the text) without looking up
many words (if any) and without doing the questions. You are looking for the basic, main ideas. You might underline key words/phrases and/or write short summaries in the margin or on a separate sheet of paper.
+Second, read more slowly to add details to the main ideas. On this reading, attempt to answer the comprehension questions (the questions can often guide you to the main ideas). Look up words in the glossary or in a dictionary if necessary (again—don’t look up every word!). Add to your short summary of each paragraph in the margin or on a separate sheet of paper.
+Third, read the passage one more time quickly and add details to your understanding and to your answers/summaries.
6. Read actively. Take notes (in either language) as you go and attempt to write a brief summary (a sentence or a few words) for each paragraph to remind you of the main points. Write down questions to ask the teacher about things you don’t understand. Consider dividing your paper into three sections: One for new vocabulary, one for notes/summaries, and one for questions to ask. (or questions you predict might be on the exam!)
7. Practice reading aloud to yourself to practice pronunciation. Remember that it is normal not to comprehend as much when you read aloud because you are concentrating on pronunciation instead of content.
8. Don't let a long text overwhelm you. Divide it into manageable chunks (at heading breaks, paragraph breaks, page breaks, etc.)
9. Especially as you begin working with reading at higher levels, It can help to understand the intent and function of the text. Is it straight forward (reporting facts? Giving a definition? Giving functional information such as schedules?) argumentative/persuasive? literary? (If so, do you need to interpret figurative language?) What is the organization? (Chronological? cause/effect? compare/contrast? problem/solution?) Who is the intended audience? (is this public information? A private correspondence?)
10. You are not alone. Sometimes it can help to discuss readings with classmates, tutors, and/or your professor. HOWEVER, don't depend on someone else to digest material for you! It won't help you in the long run.
SQ3R Reading technique
One on-line source:
LINKS TO STUDY SKILLS AT ALMA
HOW CAN I PRACTICE READING?
Complete all the assignments from class.
Read something you enjoy in Spanish. This can be a magazine, newspaper, short story, poetry, novel, etc. If you are interested in music, look for articles or magazines on that topic in Spanish. If you love Harry Potter, read the Spanish translation (easier after you've read the English). Other popular novels such as the Twilight series have also been translated into Spanish. Often it is easier to start with children's books or fairy tales in Spanish. Read them for content, but also look at how the grammar works in the stories.
BE CAREFUL WITH TRANSLATIONS! Some people like to read bilingual books or read the English and the Spanish versions next to each other. BE CAREFUL. Translation is an art. There are good and bad translations. Never assume that the texts do or even should match word for word. However, it can sometimes help overall comprehension if you read the Spanish and then read through the English to see if you go the main idea (again, do NOT try to compare word for word!).
A Few Links to On-line Reading Sources:
· ABC.es, Madrid, España
· AJR News Link is an academic and professional research and consulting firm studying electronic publishing and visual journalism and offers world wide access to media from around the world.
· Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina
· Dispatch español, Columbus, OH, USA
· Hispanic Business, California, USA
· LANIC (Latin American Network Information Center) from the University of Texas provides one of the most comprehensive information sites available for Latin America.
· Latin Trade magazine focuses on Latin America business and economic news. It is published monthly in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
· El Nuevo Herald, Miami, USA
· La Opinión Digital, Los Angeles, USA
· El País, Madrid, España
· La Raza, Chicago, USA
· El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia
· El Universal, México
· El Universal, Caracas, Venezuela
· Latino Detroit http://www.latinodetroit.com
· La Prensa Toledo (Michigan and Ohio) http://www.laprensatoledo.com/
· La Jornada (Mexico) http://www.jornada.unam.mx
· Fairy tales (Grimm)
· Short Stories
· You can find websites with readings related to chapter topics through the book companion website. Choose the chapter and then “Cibercultura”
· THERE ARE MANY MANY OTHERS!