Introduction

Daily Departures: Speed Reading Passages for English Language Learners is a collection of twenty 200-225 word reading passages written primarily within the 1,000-word level of the New General Service List and designed to provide fluency support for English language learners at the Waystage level of the Common European Framework Reference (Browne, Culligan, and Phillips 2013; CEFR n.d.).

Daily Departures is modeled after Asian and Pacific Speed Readings for ESL Learners, by E. Quinn, I. S. P. Nation, and S. Millet (2007). The following principles and instructions from that book can also be applied to this one:

  1. The focus is speed. While reading without understanding would be pointless, the goal of speed reading is not to achieve perfect accuracy in answering the questions. The goal is the fastest time with ~70 percent accuracy. A good reading speed to aim for is 300 words per minute.
  2. The method of reading is important. Students should process meaning in chunks. Fast reading encourages guessing from context and ignoring unknown words.
  3. Once a routine is established, the activity should take less than 15 minutes including reading, answering questions, checking answers, and recording progress on the graph. It is recommended to do three passages a week.
  4. Readings should be collected as soon as students have finished the activity. Students may wish to keep the readings to understand them completely. This reduces the value of the activity by placing too much importance on skills other than speed. Moreover, these readings are not necessarily the best texts to use for developing other skills.

Recording the time and the score is a very important part of the exercise since seeing progress is a very effective motivator for students. It is also a good way for the teacher to monitor progress and give feedback.

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