Education and Home

Double your power in reading, writing and arithmetic

A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven - The Philippine Star

(Part II - “Your literacy determines your survival in this super competitive world”)

Let me offer points of awareness in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, at times referred to as the “three R’s.” This analyzes the gradated difficulties of each skill. Note that many of us are “half-doers,” since we were not given the proper learning techniques early in childhood. If you wish to double your power, I shall stress the following three objectives – First, how to flash-read the printed page so well, that you will eventually be able to grasp the core ideas from books in less than an hour. A “tape recorder memory” and building a power-packed vocabulary are reinforcers of this skill; second, How to write simple, clear, compelling English; third, how to double your problem-solving ability in math, business and finance.

Flash-reading newspapers, magazines and books

Good Reading is a search for big ideas. You must be trained not merely to read for words, but for central thoughts. Let me concretize the experiences of reading a newspaper, flash-reading magazines, and reading fiction twice as fast.  First, skim the headline on the front page, or if you read a tabloid, skim the headlines of the first four or five pages. This rapid, overall view of the headlines enables you “to see the world in one piece.” It also enables you to see, if possible, how each event ties in with all the others.

With magazines, your plan of attack is different. For maximum efficiency, start with the table of contents, and check out the articles that most interest you. Read each article’s title and subtitle, the first paragraph, all subheads, and the last paragraph or two. This should give you the main idea, and enough information to tell you whether you want to read further or not. If you go further again, ask questions before you read. Try to read at least two magazines with contrasting viewpoints. Compare their interpretations. See what facts one leaves out, and what the other stresses. Form your own judgments.

Reading fiction twice as fast

Do you remember the book reports required of us in high school? The teachers’ techniques in the fifties are essentially the same today. Describe the character, the setting and summarize the story. But real reading of fiction is more exciting. Remember, all fiction is about people. Your first job is to get acquainted with people in your book. Write the characters’ names and descriptions. Jot down the characters’ traits and desires that will determine their actions throughout the book. Read the first chapter carefully. They set the stage – forecast the outcome. Then read faster as the characters become more familiar and action more predictable. Try to outguess the author. Can you predict the end? If you can, you will not only get a tremendous high out of it, but you will learn how to see into people – predict what they will do under stress. That is the benefit you are seeking from great fiction.

Writing letters to a friend, prospective employer, mayor, and editor

All through our life we shall communicate things, which concern our personal grooming and health, house keeping matters, and human relationships, half the time through written instruction. Thus, one can conclude that writing is essentially speech reduced to a printed message. The gradated difficulties of Writing is similar to Reading from single words to sentences, from single paragraph to an essay of several paragraphs. This is very much related to one’s ability to write letters to a friend, relative, a prospective employer, a shop-by-mail firm or a repair shop or even to one’s local mayor, congressman or editor.

Math deficiency produces business and financial failures

Unfortunately, most adults are simply awed by Mathematics. And yet, its deficiency produces more business and financial failures than any other. People have unpleasant memories of math from their classroom days. But the basic principles of all mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus, are as simple as ABC and as practical as following the numbered instructions of a model toy airplane. Mathematics is the art of solving problems STEP-BY-STEP. Even the most complicated problems can be broken down from one step to another. Learn this secret, and you will like Mathematics. 

No matter how bright you are, there are certain fundamentals that must be memorized. Numeration comes first, then decimal system of organizing whole numbers (not fractioned numbers). Without the concept of units, tens, hundreds and thousands, it will be impossible to calculate or perform the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Fraction, geometry, algebra

Calculation also requires mastery of memorization tables for all four operations.  The Montessori Decimal Golden beads consists of the neat frame of nine unit golden beads, laid out on a flannel rug with nine golden bead bars, nine golden bead squares of 100, and finally a golden bead cube of 1000 from right to left, dramatizing the beauty of the metric system. This complements the four to five memorization charts per arithmetic operation that provides the drills. The exercises develop one’s built-in calculators.

Word problems

Why are word problems so hard for most people? As early as Grade I to III, children may calculate a problem like this: “There are three hens which laid five eggs each. All the eggs except four were hatched into chicks. How many eggs are laid? How many chicks lived? By contrast, an adult problem looks like this: If your company makes a profit of P500 on each ton of paper that it sells, how much profit does it make on an order of 46,000 pounds of paper. There is a “hidden problem” that makes up one of the parts, which is never stated at all. An example of this is in the second problem where one must reduce one ton to 2,000 pounds.

You can turn study into thrilling hours of achievement

As we master these new study habits, your ability to learn and perform will zoom, revealing such a change that your boss or friends may actually ask you what happened. There will be no more forcing yourself to learn. Learning will suddenly become a privilege rather than a punishment, because it s new lesson will give you a new taste of success, a new thrill of understanding, and a stronger realization that you can conquer knowledge and make it your own, day after day.

(For feedback email to [email protected])(For feedback email to [email protected])

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