Tips on Reading Comprehension

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Reading comprehension is a skill learned first in elementary school and is important to master for academic success. Many students have problems understanding the point of a story and remembering what a story is about, the basics of this task. Teachers often test comprehension in children, and the skill continues to come up through the SATs and into college. Luckily, by following some basic tips, you can improve at reading comprehension.

  • Work on your vocabulary. Keep up on vocabulary lessons in school, and look up definitions of words when you read. The better your vocabulary, the easier reading comprehension will be.

  • Read with your mind, eyes and lips. Reading with your eyes and lips helps you remember what you've read. Just reading with your mind could mean you're not paying enough attention. You don't have to read aloud for reading comprehension, but go over each word with your eyes at least.

  • Learn the function of paragraphs. To understand what a paragraph is saying, you can often look in the first sentence. This should tell you the point of the paragraph, and the rest should be supplemental information. Look at the last sentence to wrap up the idea and reiterate the point.

  • Identify the way the story is organized to know what to look for in analyzing it. Some stories are written in chronological order. Others start in the future and backtrack. Still others are about proving the point of a thesis sentence with examples. Figure out what kind of structure you're looking at to understand how the story will play out.

  • Try to predict what's going to happen next. Reading proactively promotes reading comprehension. While reading, guess which way the story is going or how the story will end up. This will help you remember the details after you've finished.

  • Write your own questions after reading the story and answer them yourself. Most reading comprehension assignments ask you questions about plot and other specific details. If you can answer your own questions, you're doing a good job.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you've read a book once, go back and highlight if you need an extra layer of comprehension. Going over the important parts helps reading comprehension considerably.
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