It is generally found that a majority of students cannot answer reading comprehension questions and are poor at precis writing thanks to their mediocre reading skills. Ever since, the biggest challenge for parents and language instructors over the world is largely concentrated on how to improve reading comprehension in children.
Improving reading ability is not a difficult task – it only requires a deal of practice and certain smart tricks that are detailed below. Read on.
- Skim through questions at the end first.If you come across a reading comprehension passage with questions at the end, make sure that you skim through the questions first. That way, the gist of the passage and the genre would be clear to you. Moreover, in many cases the questions asked are factual and are based on information present in the text. What to do if there is no question available? Make one out of the headline, rephrase it yourself before continuing. Reading the composition with an idea of what you’re asked to find out can be immensely helpful – especially if you’re running short of time.
- Keep an eye on the ‘Trigger Words’.Teachers extensively use the concept of ‘trigger words’, which are essentially, words that signify the direction (or the change of direction) in a passage. For instance, words like ‘moreover’, ‘besides’, ‘likewise’, ‘in addition to’ signify continuity in the thought process – and can thus, be ignored, unless they have something significant to add up. On the other hand, words like ‘although’, ‘unlike’, ‘however’, signify an alteration in the argument presented and must be noted carefully.Words like ‘summarize’, ‘lastly’, ‘conclusion’, ‘thus’ are used to summarize the points in the passage and must be read carefully. If you are asked to write a synopsis, these ‘trigger words’ could be immensely helpful in jotting down important points together.
- Mark important pointsIf you have a paper and pen, underline important facts so that they easily draw your attention when you come back to the comprehension later. Online notes can be highlighted using font and format tools. Do not underline entire sentences; only words and phrases must be marked for future reading. Star marks can be used to highlight complete paragraphs or concepts.
- Pay attention to the graphics too.Do not underestimate the importance of charts, graphs, pictures, diagrams and photos in your excerpt. They can provide you with a lot of extra information that is sometimes not mentioned in the passage. Numerical data must be referred carefully (if provided in the form of bar graphs and pie-diagrams) while answering questions.
- Efficient skimmingWhat do you do if you have less than two minutes to read a two-page extract during your examination? Simple – skim efficiently through the passage! The best way to go through a written material fast is by reading the first and last sentence of every paragraph. This way you will know all the main points that are covered in the passage. You can thus, start writing a precis with ease.
Lastly, write down a summary from your learning, ask yourself honestly than whether you have learned anything, that can help you participate actively during class, or prepare some questions you would like to teacher to explain. Reading is a trait that takes a while to grow on a person – do not expect miracles! With proper practice and by using the strategies mentioned above with caution, you can improve your reading ability too, over a period of time!