Ways To Improve Your Reading Comprehension


If you do, then say ‘thank you’ to neuroplasticity that you can read this sentence, this absorbing gorgeous text in particular and other written content in general. Due to neuroplasticity organization of our brain and way of thinking were altered, because reading was not innate humanability, but developed only a few thousand years ago.

Transition from transmitting main idea by means of sketches on cave walls to ultimate comprehension of each sign in detailed written description how to become a superman in just another self-made book was a crucial point in human development. It is still impressive how our brain designed to survive under unfavorable conditions, now is able to digest Shakespeare’s sonnets and Joyce’s stream of consciousness (‘Reading In The Brain’ by Stanislas Dehaene).

Reading comprehension comprises simultaneous symbol recognition, connecting them with sounds and definition of meanings. Taking into consideration that reading is a relatively new acquaintance (‘Proust and the Squid’ by Maryanne Wolf), it still needs to be amended, even if you understand the meaning of these written words. Yes, and these too.

Either at school or while self-education, reading comprehension is a stepping stone for any process of deriving knowledge. That is why we are going to concentrate attention on the question of how to get better at reading comprehension.

Improve Reading Comprehension

Firstly, we have to concentrate on reading skills improvement:

  • Read about things that you are interested in and at appropriate for you level. Keep practicing reading topics which concern your interests, enlarge knowledge about your hobby, do not make yourself read unfamiliar topics. Reading should be a convenient method of deriving desirable information, but not a torture. Also, pick up texts of an adequate vocabulary level, otherwise you will be distracted each time looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary;
  • Concentration and ultimate engagement are also significant for increasing reading comprehension. Learn to read in depth. Switch off all distractions, immerse into reading process and become thoroughly engrossed in it;
  • Listen! In order to improve reading skills listen to audio books that you are reading. Rhythmical reading with correct intonation and articulation are useful for reading comprehension and remembering the proper pronunciation of new words.

    Actually, you can combine reading to oneself and listening to a record of the same text simultaneously. In such a way you will not be stuck with difficult words. It is especially helpful in reading in foreign language when you immediately hear and memorize right pronunciation;

  • As always: Practice makes Perfect. If you read a lot, your reading speed will increase and you will not need to read the whole word, but only its first letters and the last one, but skip over the middle. Also, you will be able to predict what will be written further, thus you will not stumble upon each word.

Note! It is a reciprocal improvement: you improve your reading skills while reading makes your cognitive abilities better. Reading allows your mind to process the events happening in front of you. A research held at Emory University in the USA proved a connection between reading a novel and the parts of the brain that deal with language reception. It means that reading about an action like running or swimming, for example, activates neurons in the left temporal cortex that are associated with receptivity for language, as well as the primary sensory motor region of the brain. It appears that our mined can be tricked, it is called grounded cognition: you are reading about some action (it happens only in your mind), but neurons associated with this action can be activated.

A study conducted in the University of Sussex in 2009 proved that 30 min. of reading per day decreases stress level by up to 68 percent, what is significantly better result than other methods like tea drinking or listening to music achieve. However, if you do not comprehend the sense it will have opposite effect. Obviously, our brain is overloaded with work while reading, so how can we improve this skill in order to read and comprehend better?

  • Jot down unfamiliar vocabulary and look its meaning up later. It not only will increase your reading comprehension, but also your dialect;
  • Take concise and neat notes together so that you can refer to them later. Keep them in one notebook, divide notes from different texts by headlines and sections;
  • Summarize what you have just read. If you get confused, skim a text back and take brief notes.
  • Do not try to gulp the whole article at once. Follow organization of a text, read it piece by piece, do not skip paragraphs and their titles. Also, pay attention to footnotes.
  • Read out loud. It will take more time, thus you will read slower and more attentive. In addition, such technique combines visual and audio learning, so you will be more involved and get material better.

More detailed about fiction literature

Reading comprehension of fiction literature is more complicated process because it involves not only perception of words and their meanings, but also the understanding of ideas behind the text inserted by an author. Thus, look up for additional information about the author and historic period described in the narration in order to get a topic more profound. It happens that lack of background knowledge makes a reader feel uncomfortable and do not allow to comprehend a text to its full extent.

In addition, ask questions about the theme, do not hesitate to discuss it with classmates or teacher. This conversation can lead onto the brand new thoughts for your essay or critical thinking paper, not only just for comprehension. So, both of mentioned above methods will be appropriate literature review help for you.

Forget the time of rereading a paragraph without getting anything from it. Now you know how to read and comprehend better than you have been doing it before. So, you understand that these notions should permanently co-exist. Put this knowledge to use.


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