First, we learn how to read, and then we read in order to learn. The understanding of the written text is of utmost importance in today’s world. Unfortunately, we learned this skill back when we were in school, and most of us don’t remember how we did it. But over time, we have lost the ability to get the most out of a piece of writing. In order to explore the wondrous world of books, we must continue polishing this skill of ours, and one way of doing that is honing some excellent reading strategies.
If you learn a new language and try to read some text in it, you will quickly realize how tough it is to interpret it. As adults, we no longer have a flexible childhood brain, and it can be tricky to understand things now, given that we are always in a hurry to finish a task. And this is not limited to second languages – even in your mother tongue, try to read a research paper and see how much you understand.
However, giving up on reading altogether is not an option, and the only way to boost your comprehension skills is to learn some reading strategies. Fortunately, there are some tricks that can help you tackle an unknown text. People of all ages can use these pointers as they are not very complicated.
Here is a list of the strategies that will improve your understanding of the text:
1. Reading Strategies for Better Comprehension
The process of extracting information from what you read is the goal of reading comprehension strategies. There are several tips and tricks which you can use to do it efficiently. Some of them are using prior knowledge, questioning yourself, identifying the key, visualizing, and summarizing. However, teaching these practices to young children can be complicated.
To ease them into this, you can use graphic organizers. These are visual tools that help kids break down stories and nonfiction texts. They have to fill these organizers while reading comprehension essays, and it will certainly help them keep track of their thoughts. You can download some of these organizers here.
2. Ear Reading Strategies
Ear reading is an elementary and effective program. This method is used by primary-teachers all over the world to help students read, but you can employ it as an adult too.
All you need to do is read a book while listening to the audio. In a couple of weeks, you will see significant improvement in your understanding of the text. Not only will this increase your reading speed, but listening to native speakers speaking their language will also improve your pronunciation. However, for this method to work efficiently, you need to pay attention when you listen. In fact, research has indicated that there are several benefits of listening to audiobooks, compared to traditional reading.
If this approach is entirely new for you, you can start with audiobooks for children. Unlike other books, they will have short stories and comprehensions that are easy to understand and follow. It will help you transition to reading more complex texts over time.
3. Partner Reading
We have all experienced partner reading at some point during our school years. If you are not familiar with this phrase, it merely means taking turns to read a text aloud. It is usually done in small groups by students who are changed from time to time. After the reading session, the students take turns answering questions from their peers, if any.
This technique will help you eliminate the fear of the crowd while also improving your reading capability. There are numerous advantages of reading with a partner.
For this method to work, you should try to find a partner whom you are comfortable reading with. Otherwise, you will be too nervous focusing on the text.
4. Reread and Speak
Rereading is as simple as it sounds; you do not need anything other than your own self. That is perhaps the biggest advantage of this technique – that you can commit to it and practice it by yourself, without the need of another person or any other tools.
If you have ever learned a new language and sat in a language class, you must have noticed that even an instructor of the language will read a text multiple times to understand it completely. The same principle applies to this reading technique which simply involves reading a paragraph multiple times until you understand it. Also, when you read a text for the first time, underline the words which you do not know with a pencil. This way, when you reread the text, you can concentrate more on these keywords.
If you lack concentration, try to speak while you are reading. This will improve your focus as well as pronunciation. This technique is very useful in helping struggling readers become faster at reading. Even if you read correctly, speaking while reading will polish your reading skills.
5. Master the language
This one is a no-brainer. Whatever language you are reading in, master its rules. Once you have a hold on the grammar of a particular language, the next step it to learn the vocabulary. Understanding the sentence structure and common prepositions are also very important. After that, read some idioms and catchphrases of the language to have some additional insight.
Once you have complete mastery over all these topics, start reading some books. You will be amazed at how quickly you grasp things when you know the ins and outs of a language. While reading, you can also have a dictionary by your side for new words and memorize them.
To further improve your reading skills, you can use facial expressions, try to maintain a steady pace, and practice increased emphasis on punctuation, etc.
The importance of learning to read efficiently is immense. It may or may not be useful to you, but might have to teach reading to someone in the future. You will be the first teacher of your kids, so you must master this art.
Language is evolving day by day; new words are being added to the dictionary this very moment, so one can never master a language completely. What we can do is evolve together with the language, and it is very simple to do so – never stop reading. Be curious, and keep looking for solutions for your reading problems.
There is a new possibility in every article, every book, every research paper you read. You will learn something new every day about this world of ours; all you need to do is continue to read!
Namrata Singh is a dentist turned writer and clinical researcher. Eager to learn about anything and everything, she is what you would call a jack of all trades and master of none. With a zeal for reading novels, books and anything she could get her hands on ever since she was little, she embarked into a writing career purely out of luck. After indulging in a freelancing career for nearly two years, she can now write on anything - from dentistry to decor, travel to technology, medicine to management - but psychology remains her first love. Having dealt with mental health issues in the past, she hopes to raise awareness for the same and help people with her work in association with The MindFool team