Learning how to speak and read a foreign language can both be very exciting and challenging. The good news, though, is that with a good set of resources and a little work, you’ll soon be on your way to fluency. What’s more, you can also apply speed reading techniques to your study even if the language is not native to you.
Reading is the same activity, no matter what language you’re working with. It’s logical then that the concept of speed reading should not be considered as something applicable to the English language only.
The truth is that you can apply certain speed reading techniques in many contexts, even when you’re reading in a foreign language. As Marc Slater of 7 Speed Reading said, “The skill of speed reading is universally important. It doesn’t matter what form the language takes or what media you’re using to read; what’s important is that the material is understood properly.”
Here are some tips you can use to help you apply speed reading techniques to any text, even if it’s in a language that you’re not entirely fluent in.
1. Make note of commonly used words
This is actually a very efficient technique, and one that eliminates a good deal of your reading time. Comprehension of the text as a whole requires you to be aware of and familiar with the meaning of the words. When you’re able to note and skip over common words, you’ll be able to shift your focus and concentrate on other terms that are less familiar to you. This way, you’re expediting the reading process and improving your comprehension by focusing on words that are otherwise unfamiliar to you.
2. Listen to audio books
Some people may find this redundant – or even not related to speed reading at all – but listening to audio books does have its own advantages, especially when you’re trying to improve your fluency and practice your speed reading in a foreign language. What makes this technique important is that reading in any language is based first on phonetics and then on word comprehension.
Studies have found that the very basic foundation of reading is more of an auditory experience than anything else. By becoming familiar with the phonetics of the word and how it sounds to your ear, it becomes easy to identify the word with your eyes in a visual medium. To increase the usefulness of this technique, get a print copy of the book and read along with the narration.
3. Practice speed reading
Of course, there can be no development in any skill without constant and consistent practice. Fortunately, there are a lot of speed reading courses available now, such as the 7 Speed Reading program. The advantage of this software is that you can import texts in your target language and use those for practice and speed reading exercises. There’s still no better way to learn than to put these lessons into good use.