How to develop intuitive reading skills

How exactly can you go from being a knowledge-based reader to an intuition-based reader? It depends on which of the following cases describes you:

  • Case 1:  You have been an avid reader since elementary school.
  • Case 2:  You have never enjoyed reading, but you do the reading you have to do for
  • Case 3:  English is your second language, or you’ve almost never read a book from
    start to finish.

  • Case 1:  You have loved reading since you were young.

Congratulations! Your brain already has strong reading muscles, especially when it comes to your favorite books. Now you simply need to familiarize yourself with nonfiction texts from a wide variety of sources, so that your ability to comprehend informational content is as strong as your ability to devour novels and stories.

  • Case 2:  You don’t read for fun, but you always do the assigned
    reading for your classes.

Your eyes and brain aren’t working together as efficiently as they could, because you haven’t done as much reading in your life as a Case 1 person. Remember, practice makes perfect. Build up those reading muscles by reading each essay or article a minimum of three times, using your lips to mouth the words at least one of those times. (Read the following paragraphs about Case 3 for more help.)

  • Case 3:  You really don’t like reading. In fact, you’ve read hardly
    any books from cover to cover.

Because your brain hasn’t had a lot of practice with reading, it’s not a very pleasant activity for you. It’s very difficult and therefore very frustrating, and that frustration prevents you from getting the practice you need so badly. It’s a tough cycle to break!

What many non-readers never realize is this: language is not simply a collection of definitions and rules that you have to memorize. Of course, if you are at the knowledge-level, all you will see is an ocean of dead, uninteresting words floating on the page – words that you have to struggle and strain to put together before you can extract the meaning.

However, once you have mastered the ability to read intuitively, you’ll see that language is actually a beautiful living fabric made of words and stitched together with feeling, tone, and connotation. It may take a lot of practice to get to this level, but it’ll be worth it.

But what does this practice actually consist of in concrete terms? Basically, it means reading the same passage multiple times. The first time will be slow and hard; the second time will be much faster; the third time even faster, and so on. Rapidly mouthing the words will help, too. As with your muscles, your brain will get stronger and faster as you do more reps of the same exercise, until at a certain point you won’t be laboriously processing the words: you’ll be feeling their meaning as you read.

This is called repeated reading, and studies have shown that it is the fastest, most effective way to develop your reading skills. That is why we include it as part of our program.