Reading comprehension is the level on which you understand a text or message. Understanding the coherent meaning of the text comes from understanding the interactive meaning between all the words. This understanding of the interaction between the words leads to final understanding of the whole contextual meaning of the text. People who are skilled readers are that way because of their ability to recognize words independently and quickly gather the meaning of these words put together. To simply put, it is an act of understanding what you are reading. It is an on-going process while reading, wherein you understand the context of the text before, during and after reading it. Reading comprehension is an important process because with its absence the reader would never be able to make the meaning out of the text he is reading. He might aesthetically appreciate the words or might get a meaning of something here and there but he will not truly understand the actual story. It is also important for a person in developing his writing skills. If someone’s reading comprehension is weak then he will never be able to actually understand the meaning of words and sentences, which will directly affect his ability to construct sentences. It is decoding the text and making connections with what you are reading and what is it you already know in the same context. The fluency in reading comprehension depends heavily on vocabulary. If you do not understand the meaning of the word then there is no way you can comprehend what you are reading. That is why it is said that, to understand the language better it is important to have proficiency over the words. If the meaning of words is not known then the whole sentence will not be understood properly, which will eventually lead to non-comprehension of the entire text. Once you understand the meaning of the words and their usage in the story, then only you will be able to think and reason over the meaning of what you have just read. Since it is really important to be a proficient reader, to make sure that it does not affect your education and daily life, you must improvise your reading comprehension skills. Here in this article, we will learn about how to improve reading comprehension.
Improving Reading Comprehension
You will have better understanding of anything if you have the background knowledge on the subject. If the topic is out of your reach or really new to your senses then there are more chances that you will not understand the meaning of the text. For this purpose, you need to keep yourself updated on the current topics. This will familiarize you with the context and the jargons of that particular topic, so that the next time you read about it somewhere your mind will already recognize it and it will be easier for you to comprehend what you are reading.
Put In More Research
When you know your exact task, you know what you are reading; try and research about that topic in depth. This will help you to be more focused on it and it will raise your curiosity about it. For Example, if there is a story on Hitler that you are supposed to read then you can gather more knowledge about Hitler as a person, as a leader, Germany during that time, condition of Jews, World War II, etc. This will make you a mini-expert on the topic already, so that when you are reading the text on it, you would already know what it is referred to and how it makes sense in the bigger picture.
Define The Purpose
Defining the purpose of your reading is a task that may sound simple but sometimes, it is not. Reading aimlessly won’t yield you any significant information and you might fail to summon up the meaning of a text even after reading it thoroughly. In that case you are more likely to ignore the crucial facts or can be snowed under the unimportant information. Defining the purpose will help you distinguish the important word or sentence from the irrelevant one and allocate your concentration accordingly.
As discussed before, to know more words is crucial if your target is to be proficient in reading. Without the knowledge of the meaning of words, reading comprehension is impossible. If you do not understand the meaning of a particular word then look it up in the dictionary and jot it down in a notebook. Writing the meaning down on a piece of paper will help you remember it for future. You can also try and use it in a sentence while speaking or writing next time so that your mind will retain the word.
Understanding Of The Structure
For an easy and quick reading, one should try to understand the structure of the paragraph; for example - beginning, middle, end, and conclusion. It will help you get the general idea of a particular passage in the first glance. While reading, try to anticipate the author and predict the future ideas, it will help you understand the reasoning of the author. If you want to retain the information for longer, highlight, summarize and review the important points.
Whatever it is that you find difficult to understand or retain, make a note of it. And by the end of your reading, read back all of these self taken notes to yourself and see if it makes any sense now. It will for definite make sense because you have broken down the complex language and sentences into the kind of sentences that your mind comprehends. It is always easy to understand and memorize some text when we mould it into the kind of sentence construction that our mind relates to.
While reading the text, make a mental note of the questions and curiosities it arises in you. It is a natural instinct to have more questions about a piece of text we have just read, do not curb that instinct. Try to find out more about that topic, clarify confusions and get answers for your questions. When you will answer these questions for yourself, you will never forget what you have found out and also, all of the text will suddenly make a coherent sense in your mind.
After finishing reading a text, quiz yourself and try to find out how much of it you have actually understood. You can take someone’s help in this task and ask them to prepare a questionnaire for you from the text. According to your performance in the test, you will know how much you have comprehended from the text you have read. You would also know the specific areas of improvement for you.