Many students tell me that TOEFL iBT reading is challenging. Furthermore, since the speaking and writing sections also require you to read, you should treat this challenge seriously. As a result, you will need to practice extensive reading over an extended period of time, and, while doing your reading, you will want to maximize your reading experience. There are some pre-reading activities that you can do, all of which will help you to connect your personal experiences to those ideas in the reading, to get you thinking about existing knowledge and experiences you have that relate to the reading, to share information and vocabulary relating to the reading, and to encourage you to ask questions guessing what the reading is about. It is NOT, however, advised that you practice these pre-reading activities during an actual TOEFL iBT.
Pre-reading improves your overall reading comprehension. Of course, if pre-reading increases your overall comprehension, you will improve in your TOEFL iBT reading score. Additionally, using these effective pre-reading strategies will help you to speak and write more accurately about campus-related and academic reading passages.
Why do some learners have some much difficulty with reading passages. First, they have limited vocabulary. Second, they do not practice or are aware of reading strategies. Third, they have not practiced extensive reading for 45-60 minutes a day for several months. It is because of one of these three reasons that many TOEFL iBT test-takers have low reading scores.
The purpose of this post is you help you improve your reading strategies, one of which is pre-reading.
1. Before a chapter or TOEFL reading passage, spend five minutes writing about what you already know about the topic. For example, before beginning a reading about mountain ranges, spend time writing about what you know about mountains.
2. Survey the reading passage by looking at titles, subtitles, and so on. If you know the author’s name, do an Internet search of him or her. Finally, pay attention to when and where the reading passage was published.
3. Based on steps 1-2, make some predictions (write these in note form) about what the text will be about. The purpose here is think about the writer, the audience, and the purpose of the writing. Here are some specific questions:
- What is the main idea of this text? How do you know?
- What is the purpose of this reading passage? How do you know?
- Who is the intended audience for this text? Again, how do you know?
4. Read the first line of each paragraph and then write a response to the following questions:
- What is the main idea?
- What is the author’s opinion on the topic?
- What does the author want you to believe? How do you know this?
Practicing these pre-reading activities before reading a passage will help you to understand more deeply and more critically. Additionally, it gives you a chance to practice your writing and note-taking skills. And, if you choose to give oral responses to any of the above questions, it will help prepare you for TOEFL iBT speaking. For more information, go here:
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