There are many ways of helping students to develop their reading skills in English. A few ideas are listed below:
• Some students are convinced that only test practice will really help them, and want to do test after test. This can be discouraging, as they do not see the rapid progress they would like. Encourage students to read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books, and regularly use materials from these sources in your classroom activities.
• Train students in different reading skills including skim-reading, scanning to locate specific information, understanding detail, opinion, implication and attitude, and also encourage them to read faster by timing them. Discourage them from trying to understand every word and from focusing on unknown words, and also give them plenty of practice in guessing meaning from context. Discourage them from looking up every unknown word in the dictionary.
• Give students practice in recognizing synonyms, key words, etc. to help them locate information. Encourage them to underline key words and phrases when they read, as well as paying attention to key words in the questions. Encourage students to scan for key words, or paraphrases of key words, in the extracts or the reading passage that match the items.
• Give students practice in suggesting different ways of expressing the same ideas or information in a question or in a text.
• Give plenty of practice in looking at coherence and cohesion of texts. Help students to recognize a wide range of linguistic devices which mark the logical and cohesive development of a text – for example, words and phrases indicating time periods, cause and effect, exemplification, contrasting arguments, repetition, concordance of tenses, pronouns, etc.