Any person with top-notch reading-comprehension skills has done quite a bit of reading in their lifetime, which means that they were not simply born an expert reader; instead they were taught at an early age – or learned somewhere along the line – the power of stories, the richness of their own language, and how both add meaning, joy, and purpose to their lives.
Developing, then possessing, this very important skill helps the student excel in school, regardless of their level or grade. (Having superb or even average reading-comprehension skills also benefits the working adult in many ways – from understanding contracts they’re signing, prescriptions of medicines they may be taking, etc.)
Various Strategies to Develop One’s Reading-Comprehension Skills
Comprehension Monitoring. This technique involves pre-reading, then reading, followed by the post-reading of a text. Though it seems a bit of work, this method is quite effective. Students can first skim a text looking for and then defining keywords that may otherwise interrupt the flow of reading. After they read a text, it may help the student to write observations or orally summarize what they have just read.
Diagramming. It may benefit a student to create an outline of the story, passage, chapter or section they have just read when it is the most fresh in their minds. This will help them concentrate on certain transitions, points, arguments and so on that comprises a story or passage of a text; this is also very beneficial to the student because this exercise allows the information to be stored in their long-term memory – instead of directing their focus on another task after the reading of something, allowing the information to be lost in their short-term memory (and possibly lost forever), because it was not immediately recalled.
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Question or prompt answering. Immediately after reading a text, a student can ask themselves questions or touch on certain points to a sort of exercise their reading-comprehension skills. Some could be: Explain briefly what was read. Why was it important to read? What are its implications? What was the meaning or purpose of reading the passage, section, chapter that was assigned?
Read aloud. Some students, those who learn best as auditory learners, may learn and remember best when they hear something read out loud. Even if it themselves reading it aloud.
Discussing the content. Some students who are oral learners may be fully engaged when they can discuss a subject openly with another person after reading something. They may need to verbally process information in order to store it for long-term use.
Think thematically about the text. Too often a student, at any level, may read a text without picking up on key themes that are incorporated into it. They may look or focus on the wrong aspect of the text; in these cases, the student may want to conduct research, (perhaps by reading a simpler text, one that is broader in nature) to learn more about a subject that maybe a more advanced textbook may be overlooking or generalizing.
Read, read, read. The more a student reads, the better they will improve their reading-comprehension skills. It’s very simple. It is a skill they will have to use all throughout their lives, so it’s best to accept this fact of life as early as possible. Reading every day stimulates one’s mental capacity for taking in and making sense of information, as well storing it for comprehension.