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Top 5 Tips to Improve Your Reading Comprehension

Strengthen Reading Comprehension with These Easy Tips

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Updated May 16, 2014

The ability to understand and remember reading material is important for success in school and everyday life. This is especially true for students with learning disabilities in reading, and language comprehension. Learn helpful tips to improve your ability and increase your success in reading and learning.

1. Improve Reading Comprehension With Pre-Reading Tasks

Mother reading to daughter.
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Before reading the text, ask yourself what you already know about its topic. Try to recall as much information as you can. Think of related ideas you've learned in the past. Make brief notes about your thoughts or discuss what you remember with others.

2. Improve Your Reading Comprehension by Researching the Topic

Background information may appear on book covers and inner flaps of book jackets. Many books include an introductory section and a mini-biography about the author. Book publisher’s websites may also include background information. Think about the information you read. Ask:
  • What kind of text is this?
  • What new information did I learn, and what do I expect to learn?
  • Is this text informative or entertaining, fact or fiction?
  • What interests me about this book?

3. Learn New Vocabulary Words to Improve Reading Comprehension

As you read, make a list of unfamiliar vocabulary words. Look up the meanings of the words in the dictionary, and jot definitions down by hand. Writing definitions by hand will help you remember the definition much more than by typing or by reading alone.

4. Improve Your Understanding by Reflecting on the Material and Asking Questions

As you read, what questions come to mind? Read on to find the answers. You can think about the questions and answers or jot them down on paper. Research indicates that writing notes by hand can increase comprehension and recall among students who are not learning disabled in writing. For those who have LDs in writing mechanics pair the writing with discussion to improve understanding and recall.

5. Test Yourself to Determine How Well You've Learned the Material

After your reading session, quiz yourself on the main points. What was the main idea? Who are the characters in the story? What information did you learn? Jot down your thoughts in your own words to help you remember them and give you deeper insight into the topic. If expressive writing is difficult for you, jot shorter notes and discuss the reading with a friend or parent.
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