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Practicing Mandarin Reading by Broadening Eyes Span

In order to improve the reading efficiency, we need not only master the reading skills, but also train the good reading habits. One of the good habits in reading is to broaden the eyes span because the reading speed will be very slow if the learners read word by word and even character by character. During the reading process, the eyes are in the alternation procedure of moving and pause and you perceive words and sentences only when your eyes pause. When the eyes are fixed, the number of characters you can recognize is called the eyes span. Therefore, the so-called broaden eyes span is to increase the number of words when they eyes pause.

From the beginning of Chinese language learning, teachers should tell the students that the reading in Chinese language is not regard the word as unit, but the sense-group of the sentence. When reading a certain sentence, they should expand the eyes span and get used to read by dividing the sentence into the larger sense-groups. For those who come to China to learn Chinese for a long time, they can read the sentence 1996年4月12日晚,南京扬子江大酒店非常热闹 by dividing it into three sense-groups 1996年4月12日晚, 南京扬子江大酒店 and 非常热闹.

If the eyes movements are less while the words you can recognize are more, the reading speed will greatly improved and will also helpful to understanding. If you divide the sentence above into eight segments, you will read very slowly and feel it is hard to understand the meaning of the sentence. Therefore, the sight should not move following the lines but should jump forward.

One of the characteristics of Chinese materials is the arrangement of characters in the same distance and size. There is no natural boundary between character and word as well as word and word, making it more difficult to expand the eyes span. However, broadening the eyes span when reading is still effective in reading. If you attend to one-on-one Chinese learning programs, teachers will often remind you of practicing reading in this way. However, one thing the learners need pay attention to is the proper segments dividing. If they divide in improper places, it will cause difficulty in reading.

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