What is Reading Comprehension?
Simply put, Reading Comprehension involves applying meaning and having a solid understanding of what you’ve read. Depending on your reading skills as well as the difficulty and structure of the subject matter however, this can prove challenging at times. But there are ways that you can develop a concrete interpretation of your reading materials, and it’s simply by approaching them differently. Let’s look at a reading some strategies that can help you increase your comprehension.
One of the primary ways to improve reading comprehension involves previewing the text. Material previews illustrate how the reading material is organized and provides an outline of what information is to be gained from reading it. Common ways of previewing or “breaking down” reading materials” include:
- Table of Contents
- Book introduction
- Inside jacket cover
Outlining and Summarizing
Along with previewing, you can also simplify reading comprehension by making an outline and summarizing what you are reading. Creating outlines helps readers break down the key points in a chapter or even an entire book. Highlight the primary actions and most important details in the material. As you construct this synopsis, it is important to use your own words instead of those found in the text to allow for easier referencing.
Another step to improve reading skills involves contextualizing what you are reading. Contextualization simply means putting the text in its proper context. As an individual, you understandably will bring your own life experiences and viewpoints to your reading experience, but it’s imperative to also recognize the values, differences, and attitudes found in the reading material.
Questioning the Material
Increase your reading comprehension by asking or making note of questions as you read. Graduate students and college professors rely greatly on this trick to help them understand and remember the vast amounts of information that they come across in their research. By questioning the material, such as what its purpose is or why characters act in a particular manner, you can understand the text more fully.
While some people avoid reading materials that questions or disputes their own beliefs, you can improve your own comprehension if you take the time to reflect on those challenges. By giving yourself the leeway to consider the arguments in the text, you will gain a better understanding of the author’s viewpoint and also become better acquainted with the actual content of each chapter or page. If you dismiss the ideas, you rob yourself of the understanding you need to fully appreciate the literature.
Understanding what you are reading means that you consider and evaluate the argument found in the text. To evaluate an argument, try considering both the claim and the support.
An argument’s claim can be built on the following:
- Points of view
The author wants you to accept these components and find in his or her favor as you read. However, try considering the support for the argument. The support can be built on reasons that include:
- Shared beliefs
Of course, the evidence for an argument also can convince you to agree or disagree with the author. Evidence found in the text might be:
Try to avoid taking everything at face value-what’s YOUR interpretation? Learning to evaluate arguments before drawing your own conclusion about the information in the text is absolutely essential, especially when reading literature or theoretical materials.
In summary, when you find a practical way to approach reading materials more systematically, increasing your comprehension rate will be a walk in the park!