Reading Lab program furnishes students academic edge

Students seek assistance from the Reading lab to strengthen skills such as comprehension and vocabulary. (Oliver Yu)

Nadia Afredi

Increase vocabulary power, improve spelling skills, acquire first-rate study techniques, and  read better and faster.  The Reading Lab provides all this and more. Every Saddleback student profits from services offered by the lab.

With an instructor and two lab technicians always available, plus 100 computers, students have plenty of tools at their fingertips.

“We see about 700-800 students a semester,” said Denise Green, instructor in the Reading Department.

Nursing students use the lab to brush up on Latin word roots in preparation for the Test of Essential  Academic Skills (TEAS) while future teachers grab hold of advanced comprehension modules to perform better on the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST).

To begin receiving services in the basic skills portion, students must undergo the Matriculation process to determine their level of reading ability.

An individualized program is created with the student’s input.

Most students will test into English 340. The class improves a student’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing ability, and also strengthens their study skills.

“This is the most popular class in the Reading Lab,” Green said.

Advanced students derive benefit from the Critical Reading class (Eng 170). It covers in-depth analysis, argumentative techniques, and is transferable to the university.

“A good skill to have is to be able to read college-level text books at a faster rate,” Green said.

English 180’s purpose is to create faster readers. Initial speed is determined through the Nelson-Denny test. A rate of 200-230 words per minute is common at the beginning of the course.

Most students achieve a speed of 400 words per minute by semester’s end. With a minimum of 300 words per minute as the base line for college success, these students are ahead of the game at 400 words per minute.

The fully transferable Speed Reading class has the added benefit of posting student-written book reviews on the Saddleback College website.

English as Second Language students use the lab to bring their English language skills up to the level of their native language abilities.

A new program debuting this fall is the Basic Skills Initiative.

This program will take a group of students through basic skills courses and assist them in planning career goals.

“Students are going to receive more individual one-on-one attention,” Green said.

The Reading Lab is located in Classroom Cluster CC-6 and can be contacted at (949) 582-4539. 

For more information, visit

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