Reading comprehension is an important tool not only for getting good grades, but it also appears on most of the professional exams one must take to move forward on a certain career path. The following tips provide methods for honing your skills at reading comprehension.
An important factor in how much you will take in while reading is where exactly you have chosen to read. Even though a library may seem like a logical choice, if you find that your library is usually busy or crowded, this could actually be more detrimental to your reading comprehension than you may think. Pick an open area with few distractions, where you can get lost in whatever you are reading. These may include parks, your backyard, a couch or bed, or the seats of trains or airplanes.
Just like location, the sound in the area in which you have chosen to read is another important determinant in how much of the text you will retain. If you are listening to music with lyrics that tell their own story, you run the risk of letting that story catch your attention, even though the book should be the priority. The same rule applies to conversations, the radio, or other noises that could distract you from what you are reading. Try to pick a silent or mellow area, where the only sounds that can be heard are either naturally occurring or quiet.
3. Read Something That Interests You
When trying to improve your skills at reading comprehension, it is not a good idea to start with something dense or boring. Pick a topic that interests you; you will be more likely to focus this way. Start with a book that features the things you love, whether they include music, history, science, or art – there are books out there on every subject.
4. Put away other devices
Before picking up any text, it is important to rid yourself of distracting devices. Take a break from the cell phone and the ipod. These devices, unlike your book, do not have a definite end, and so it is important not to start using them in the first place if your goal is to better retain what you read. If you find it difficult to avoid distractions, tell yourself you will check into those devices periodically, but not simultaneously as you are reading.
5. State of mind
One of the most important aspects of whether your reading comprehension will improve is what state of mind you are in while reading. If you are thinking about your schoolwork, your friendships, other relationships, or how much you have going on that day, it is unlikely that the book will keep your attention. Try to read when you’re in a relaxed state of mind so the book can consume your thoughts. Or, approach reading as an escape; tell yourself that whatever you are thinking about will always be there later, but for now, you must focus on the text in front of you.
- Lily Faden, Examville Blog Contributor