By absolute standards, people are slow readers. Yet, they differ widely in reading rates. Some gulp books by taking in a hundred words or more within a minute; others plod along through weeks or more. However, there is nothing to prove that slow readers retain and comprehend the reading matter better.
Now, it is a fact that the reading rate can be improved by exercise. A widely held opinion is that when a person reads, his eyes sweep smoothly across the page. Actually, during an hour of continuous reading, his eyes remain fixed for an average of 57 minutes, and only move in the remaining three minutes. The greater the number of words the reader can cover during a stop and the better he comprehends them, the faster the reading. Precisely this goal is sought in training people to read fast. With appropriate techniques and simple gadgets (like a tachistoscope or phase-flasher), your reading rate can be stepped up five to ten times or even more.
It appears that fast reading should be started at school when children have not yet picked up bad reading habits (especially subvocalizing), that is the tendency to form words with their vocal chords. It is a well-known fact that a drawing, a diagram or a photograph will usually carry more information than a printed text taking up the same area. A person grasps this graphic information all at a time. This ability is mainly utilized in technical publications, but not to the full extent yet. In all probability, a happy combination of printed text and graphic matter can be found for each class of information and for each bracket of readers to give a maximum rate of information input to a person’s brain. Coupled with fast reading, this may raise the rate of information input tens or even hundreds of times.
How you can best improve your English depends on where you live and particularly on whether or not you live in an English speaking community. If you hear English spoken every day and mix freely with English speaking people, that is on the whole an advantage. On the other hand, it is often confusing to have the whole language poured over you at once. Ideally, a step-by-step course should accompany or lead up to this experience. It will also help a great deal if you can easily get the sort of English books in which you are interested.
Look upon you and ask yourself how much time you spend reading apart from working time/school time? You can’t answer unless having obsession for reading. The reason behind is the modern generation deviations – mobiles, television (“idiot box”), social networking sites etc. But you can’t blame on this all the way. You are the sole reason for making faults. Seriously, reading refreshes, soothes and relaxes our mind. One can find so much of tranquility here!
To read a lot is essential. It is stupid not to venture outside the examination ‘set books’ or the textbooks you have chosen for intensive study. Read as many books in English as you can, not as a duty but for pleasure. Do not choose the most difficult books you find with the idea of listing and learning as many new words as possible: choose what is likely to interest you and be sure in advance that it is not too hard. You should not have to be constantly looking up new words in the dictionary, for that deadens interest and checks real learning. Look up a word here and there, but as a general policy try to push ahead, guessing what words mean from the context. It is extensive and not intensive reading that normally helps you to get interested in extra reading and thereby improve your English. You should enjoy the feeling which extensive reading gives of having some command of the language. As you read you will become more and more familiar with words and sentence patterns you already know, understanding them better and better as you meet them in more and more contexts, some of which may differ only slightly from others.
Some people say that we cannot learn to speak a language better with the help of a book. To believe this is to believe that the spoken language and the written language are quite different things. This is not so. There is a very great deal in common between the two. In learning the patterns and vocabulary of the written form, we are learning, to a considerable extent, those of the spoken form too. We are, in fact, learning the language and not merely one form of the language.
So for what you are waiting now? Hurry up, pick up a book of your own interest. Need not to be the book, you can even give a start with newspaper or magazines or fantasy world stories. Once you start reading, you will be transformed into that world and you will feel as one of its characters. Cultivating reading habits increases mental strength and ability for thinking more. It will enhance your creativity and the level of imagination. Though it may exaggerate at times, you cannot close it unless knowing the climax. Surely, if you start reading it with interest, you are in a trap!