Friday, October 05, 2012
The JLPT: Newspapers and Speed Reading
I have found that, for the higher levels of the JLPT, newspapers are a great way to boost your speed reading and quick comprehension skills. Newspaper articles tend to not only be the perfect size, but they are also filled with jargon and relatively dense wording. Moreover, in the case of major world events, you can often find corresponding stories in English which allows you to check your total comprehension.
If you work in a school or office there is a fairly good chance that new newspapers get delivered everyday for employee amusement. However, if you are not lucky enough to work some place with a bountiful newspaper collection or if you are just too stingy to pick a newspaper from your local convenience store then chances are you can find one laying around the local train or subway station. Libraries also often carry a large selection of newspaper back numbers if you are looking for a specific publication.
For those of you not in Japan, Yahoo Japan offers a fairly comprehensive headline collection. The Asahi Shinbun also has a very well stocked website with an English version to boot. If you are looking to brush up on your current event reading, I recommend Jiji.com as a good alternative to the big three Japanese newspapers.
In my experience, a great way to practice speed reading is to pick a medium to long article, set a strict countdown and try to get through the article as fast as you can. This forces you to read as fast as possible while searching for the key points. It is also a good idea to jot notes down as you read so you write down main ideas in order to double check your comprehension.
After your time elapses, you can double check your understanding by looking at stories posted a big Japanese wire service like Kyodo News` English website or your local news source of choice. It is here that you can double check to make sure you picked up on the most important points of the story or whether or not you left out any important details.
As you progress in your speed reading, its a good idea to slowly lower your time limit as well as starting to read longer articles.
Do you have any good JLPT speed reading tips? If so, then please let us know in the comments section!