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Top 10 Reading Comprehension Strategies That Work

top-reading-comprehension-strategies-that-work

It is not enough to read through to the end of the document if you do not understand what you have just read. Reading comprehension describes being able to analyze a document and understand what the author was trying to get across. 

If you struggle with this, tasks like speed reading, studying, and researching can be difficult. Try these ten reading comprehension techniques to improve your understanding of the materials that you read.

1. Discuss The Idea with A Friend (Or Yourself)

When you read something, whether you are trying to find information for help with thesis writing or reading for pleasure, you can increase comprehension by trying to explain it. If you have a friend available, call them and try to explain what you have just read. 

If this is not an option, get a pen and paper or open a writing document on your computer. Try to summarize the material that you have finished reading. By trying to explain the idea, you are going to deepen your understanding and find out what it is that you took from the passage. 

2. Read With The Intent To Memorize Information

When you read something absentmindedly, it is much less likely that you will retain the information you have read. One thing that you can do is read with purpose. To do this, you simply set a comprehension goal for yourself. 

Imagine that you are studying for a science test or writing a college paper on a specific subject assigned by your teacher. Read each paragraph with the goal of memorizing the important information, rather than dissecting it word for word. There are other memorization strategies for reading which can improve your comprehension, too.

3. Consider Your Grade Level

Whether you are an adult trying to boost comprehension or a parent trying to help their child, you should gear the strategies toward the grade level. For example, you would not play a childish reading game with a teenager and expect them to benefit the same as a child would. 

If you are a parent looking for help, check out this article. It has individual tips for younger and older students so you can choose the activities best suited to your child’s age.

4. Reword The Sentence

Authors do not always go the simplest way of saying something. This is mainly because of varying word choice and sentence structure that make each book unique. In non-fiction writing, difficult passages may be used because the author has written the material for someone with a higher level of knowledge on the subject. 

This commonly happens with things like term papers, because it is assumed the reader has previous knowledge. One technique that you can use is to try rewriting the sentence, using words that you are familiar with. This can help you understand the material better.

5. Read With The Purpose Of Seeking Inspiration


Instead of reading just to read, look for inspiration in the material. If you are trying to get help paper writing, consider tweaking your topic to include new information that you have learned. Find something that interests and inspires you, and then allow this newfound desire to take you through the document or book from beginning to end. 

If you are reading fiction writing, read as if you are looking for inspiration for a new book. Imagine that you are an author and that what you read can inspire a new book or a poem. By doing this, you will enhance your understanding.

6. Use An Organizer

One of the reasons that some people struggle with understanding is because they learn better visually. This is not necessarily a bad thing since each learning style has its strengths. However, by learning to adapt to your learning style, you may find that you excel better in reading comprehension (and in other areas). 

Visual learners can improve their understanding with an organizer. Like you would use an outline to organize a paper, you would use a graphic organizer to establish ideas and themes in the writing. Venn diagrams, cause-and-effect graphics, story maps, and flow charts can all be used for this. 

7. Ask (and Answer) Questions

If you are reading a well-known document, consider looking up questions online to help guide your reading. When you ask questions, you read with a goal in mind. Additionally, you can understand some of the main points and what you should be taking away from the passage. If you are reading a lesser-known document, ask a family member or classmate to help you generate questions to help. 

8. Slow Down

There are a time and place for speed reading. Unfortunately, while it may be nice to quickly skim through papers as you try to find writing help, it is not the best time to speed read. Slowing down can really improve comprehension. 

Speed reading is an incredibly useful tool, but it is best for someone who has already mastered the art of comprehension. Otherwise, if you read and do not retain any of the information, then it may as well have been as if you did not read at all.

9. Break Down Your Reading

Whether you are trying to understand a single sentence or an entire document, you can simplify the process by breaking it down into parts. Much like the way linguists break apart words to understand their origins, you can break apart sentences, paragraphs, and pages to help yourself understand them better. 

The first step is to identify the areas where you are having trouble with comprehension. Break this down into individual words or sentences and try to understand the meaning of each, before moving on to the next.

10. Skim Important Headings

If you are reading a lengthy document to write a research paper or other writing assignment, it will likely have headings to organize information. Scan these headings before you start reading, so you get an idea of what the major points of the paper are. 

By doing this, you prepare yourself to understand the information ahead. You are also giving yourself a goal. Since you know where the information is leading, you will be able to better understand how the individual points are leading to the overall concept.

Reading comprehension is not something that is important to just students—it can affect you through your entire life. There are many reasons that understanding what you read is important. To be successful, try the strategies above. Whether you are a student or an adult, only benefits and improved understanding of the world can come from learning how to better comprehend what you read.

Amber Wilson is an educator and a content writer currently working for ThesisRush as a digital marketing consultant. Being an avid technophile, she believes that technology is the key to the common welfare. Feel free to contact her at G+.
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