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While reading academic passages, you want to maximize your comprehension. Additionally, you want to learn how to critically think in English about the main ideas and critical supporting points of those passages. Once you have finished pre-reading, you will need to employ a number of different strategies to help you successfully read the passage.
Practicing effective reading techniques while practicing extensive reading and before taking a TOEFL iBT will help prepare you to be a more critical reader of TOEFL iBT passages. Therefore, when you answer rhetorical, inference, schematic tables, and chart TOEFL iBT questions, you will answer them more accurately.
Unfortunately, many English learners do not practice effective reading techniques, perhaps because they are so concerned with understanding the vocabulary presented in passages that they do not think about the rhetorical issues surrounding reading passages. Other students fail to read critically simply because they do not know what types of activities they should do to help them read more deeply. Finally, a few students are too lazy to use effective reading strategies, for, as you will see, in the next part of this post, reading a passage involves a lot more than just reading the print. The end result for all of these learners: they read and re-read a passages with minimal comprehension. Do not be one of these students!
1. Your first objective when you read is to understand the text by looking closely the language used.
2. Then read to see which of your pre-reading predictions turned out to be true.
3. Working with another English learner, do some think aloud activities as you read the text. For example, while reading the text, vocalize your thoughts about what you read, As you vocalize your thoughts, your partner takes notes about what you say. Then you can reverse roles and repeat the process, this time you being the note-taker and your partner being the vocalizer. Doing this prepares you for TOEFL iBT speaking.
4. After completing steps 1-3, re-read the text, and, during this re-reading, label what the author says in the left hand margin of your text. Here are some questions you can consider: Where does the introduction end? What is the issue or problem about which the author is writing? List some specific examples that help you identify the author’s central argument? Where is the conclusion?
5. After completing steps 1-4, in the right hand margin of the text, write your reactions to what the author is arguing, explaining, comparing, categorizing, and so on.
As you can see, reading a passage involves extensive note-taking. Be very careful as you summarize and examine academic reading passages. You must use your own words and grammar so you do not plagiarize the reading passages. Also, rewriting the main points of reading passages help you to better understand what you read, and it gives you a chance to practice grammar and writing concurrently. You should always keep in mind that, if you copy word for word on TOEFL iBT reading passages, human raters will give you a score of zero on the speaking and writing sections.
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