I’ve lived in the States for three years and generally satisfied with my English skills. The only thing that frustrates me is my reading speed. Despite reading various things required by the school and on my own over the years, I never find reading in English to be as fast and effortless as in my first language. My natural reading speed is around 250 WPM but it takes a considerable effort for me to decode the text and therefore I couldn’t read as fast or as deep (because my mind is mostly occupied with decoding the meaning) as I would like. To those that overcomed this problem, what helped? Thanks in advance!
Your reading speed in your native language will almost always be higher than your reading speed in a language you learn later in life. If you end up living in an English-speaking country for a long time, and you do a lot of reading during that time, you might get your English reading speed closer to your native-language reading speed, but there is no guarantee they will ever be the same.
I myself am not a native English speaker, but I read pretty quickly. I’ve been in the US for 16 years, and I studied English for 5 years intensively before coming here. My reading speed really started picking up in college, because I simply had to read a lot of stuff. It was frustrating at first and it made my head hurt, but it got better with practice. So my first piece of advice to you is – read a lot. Practice makes perfect.
I didn’t just read stuff for school, though. I always enjoyed reading, so I found the English-language editions of books by my favorite authors, and I used that as an opportunity to put my reading practice in the context of something that I knew would make me feel good. So my second piece of advice is – read stuff that matches your interests. Doesn’t have to be books – there are blogs, newspapers, articles, Wikipedia pages – all of those are fair game for reading practice.
Finally, reading is just another part of using and learning a language. If you strengthen your other language skills – speaking, listening and writing – that will carry over to your reading skills as well. Talk to people, watch English movies or TV series, listen to English music, start a journal or a blog. The more comfortable you are with English overall, the easier it will be for you to read it as well.