When you learn to read you will be born again…and you will never be quite so alone again. —Rumer Godden
Reading in itself is a magical word. It opens up a realm of opportunities in front of you. A reader lives not just one but many lives through his books. But sadly nowadays due to their busy schedules and hectic lifestyles people have forgotten about the gem that reading is. Hence it is very important to inculcate and improve the skill of reading comprehension in ourselves and our future generations.
What is reading comprehension?
It is the capacity to peruse a book, process it, and comprehend its importance. The major elements that make up a person’s reading comprehension skills are vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension. To understand what the text is trying to say, you need to understand what the individual words mean, to understand it as a whole.
Also, the person needs to put together everything and develop an overall understanding of the text and that is done through text comprehension.
Why is it important?
Literacy is one of the most powerful tools that mankind has and its absence leads to the downfall of humanity. The downfall in literacy rates leads to an increase in crime rates which is very alarming. Hence it is necessary to embed this skill in children from their early childhood and keep making them practice it, throughout the years. Also reading comprehension is an ability that you are going to need throughout your entire life. You are going to need it in your school, college, working life as well as during your recreational time. If you just keep on reading without understanding you might lose its essence and purity.
It is significant in our daily lives in many aspects such as:
- Reading, understanding, and investigating writing in your English classes
- Reading and understanding writings from your different class subjects, for example, history, math, or science
- Doing admirably on both the composed and math areas of the SAT (or each of the five segments of the ACT)
- Understanding and connecting with recent developments introduced in composed structure, for example, news reports
- Properly understanding and reacting to all other work environment correspondence, for example, papers, reports, notices, and examinations
- Simply enjoying written, composed work on your own relaxation time
So how do develop this skill?
As it is a very complex skill and needs practise throughout the years to refine it more and more, one should always try to start from their childhood and try to develop these skills over the years through constant practice and reinforcement.
Some of the ways through which you can improve your reading comprehension ability are as following:
Read as much as you can. Now we all reading very hectic lives and may not have as much time to relax but taking out a little time from our schedule and reading something every day may not only help with your comprehension skills but also may work as a form of comfort and a way to relax after a long, long day of work. So pick up your favourite book or the book you have been trying to read for days and start reading it. Read books of every type and genre because they will help in expanding your knowledge one way or the other.
Indulge yourself in both structured and pleasure reading
Reading with proper attention and guided practice will lead to more structured learning. Studying new words and testing your knowledge is a part of guided learning. Try to do guided learning for at least three to four hours every week. Pleasure reading, on the other hand, is a relaxed way of practising and learning through reading for pleasure. Try to read with enjoyment and without any pressure for two to five hours a week.
Improve your vocabulary
Vocabulary is one of the key things that we need to improve to enhance this skill better. You need to understand each word to understand the text as a whole. Even though you might be able to understand difficult words through context clues but it is still better to look up the words in a dictionary. Keep these new words written somewhere, maybe on flashcards, and look through them from time till time to expand your vocabulary better.
Improve your text comprehension ability
It is improved by being focused and increasing your attention span. You can expand your attention span by reducing distractions that are always present around you. You can study in a place with minimum noise such as a library while turning off your mobile and various other distracting devices.
Steps for developing text comprehension skills:
- Text cognizance is upgraded by growing your jargon i.e. your vocabulary.
- Give your book or paper a snappy skim through to comprehend the theme. Peruse the list of chapters, the presentation, the parts, and different headings.
- Highlight or record a portion of the fundamental ideas as you read along.
- After you finish the book it’s always good to write your thoughts on a piece of paper and put it in the middle of the pages, with the goal that you can review the data when you return to it later. It’s necessary and beneficial when you are reading similar books as it will help in stimulating and developing your critical thinking and judgment ability.
Read aloud and re-read
Reading aloud a text may give you a better understanding of what you just read. It slows us down and provides us with more time to understand and process the text. Read it aloud in front of people to gain confidence or alone if you are not confident enough. Read using a pen or a finger to trace along to remain focused and avoid distractions. Maybe if you are having difficulty in reading it yourself use narration books that are easily available in the market. Sometimes you might forget what you just read and it’s completely normal. So re-read to refresh your memory and improve your comprehension.
Reading is an important key in our life that opens up the door to opportunities. An avid reader is one who is successful in his/her life endeavours. Reading every day improves your comprehension skills slowly yet steadily, so create a habit of reading frequently to improve your skills.