Speed Reading — Level 5 — 200 wpm

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Try the same text at a reading speed of 300 words per minute.

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A Syrian refugee who could speak just a word of English two years ago has passed his high school exams in Australia. Saad Al-Kaab, 19, graduated with top marks from one of Australia's biggest schools. His outstanding grades put him in the top 4 per cent of graduates in Melbourne. Saad escaped the civil war in Syria to start a new life. He said that it was "really hard" coming to Australia because he could not understand English. He added: "It really makes me sad to think that I have friends…back in Syria who were as good as me, but who didn't have the opportunity that I've had."

Saad tried to learn English from his cousins in Australia. Then he started to watch a politics show on television. It was a live broadcast of politicians quizzing their prime minister about different issues. He said the show helped his English because: "They use the best, persuasive language in parliament. They speak slowly and you can find the words." He said it was very different to Syria's parliament, where "all they do is clap". Saad is very thankful. He said: "I just want to say thank you so much to Australia for giving me the opportunity. It's revived me and given me a new life."

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