Reading has been taught to us at an early age and is an essential skill that is useful in almost anything we do. However, reading comprehension is a whole other topic that is present ever since we have started reading but is a skill that a lot struggle in.
Reding comprehension can be really difficult to grasp and be good at as this requires a good memory and even better speech technique to truly express how they have understood the story. This article will guide you through how you can improve you reading comprehension skills to make sure that you don’t mess up the next time a teacher calls you out to give the class your understanding of the story your teacher assigned as homework.
There are a lot of factors that could lead to an individual’s difficulty to comprehend what they are reading. Here are a few of the most common factors that may be the cause for the difficulties with comprehension you have experienced.
A lack of focus is often the primary cause for having difficulties with the comprehension of a story you have read. This may be caused by external factors such as panic, a noisy environment, or a distracted mind.
The lack of focus will hinder your ability to absorb the contents of the story you are reading as you will be pre-occupied with other things bugging your mind. This will not only make the retrieval of information difficult, but it can sometimes make it impossible as there was never information to retrieve.
One of the most common hurdles an individual will face when reading a story is the amount to new and unfamiliar words they will encounter along the way. This will limit their understanding of the entire story as they are clueless of the definition of a certain word that was used by the antagonist.
Limited vocabulary is not only a problem that is present in reding comprehension, but is also a persistent issue that may cause difficulties in other literature related activities. These include the composition of essays, story-telling, and even spelling quizzes.
Slow memory retrieval can also be a hindrance when trying to comprehend a story you have recently read. Memory retrieval is essential to recall the events that have happened in the story, and if the retrieval of these memories is slow, then it might seriously deduct points from you when you are in a reading comprehension competition. (Yes, these do exist.)
You can always strengthen your memory retrieval by learning and practicing memory techniques to help you lower the latency between requesting information from your brain and the retrieval of these memories.
When you are asked to retell a story in front of your class, there will be a spine tingling and dreadful threat that will slowly creep and take over your body: panic. And unless you are brimming with confidence, you are prone to this natural response as well.
Panic can lead to stiff muscles, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, and a mental block. All of which are bodily reactions which will greatly hinder your ability to retrieve the events of the story and retell them. Panic is a prime suspect as to why you are having difficulties with reading comprehension, and unless you do something about it, it will continue to haunt you every time you recite the events of a story.
The methods you can use in improving reading comprehension will differ from person to personas every individual is unique and requires specific attention to certain parts. However, we have gathered 10 general ways to improve your reading comprehension that anyone can follow along to and see noticeable results when given the time and effort.
This might seem too obvious for most, but understanding what you are reading is an absolute necessity for reading comprehension. Without understanding the plot behind what you are reading or the purpose of the text, you would only be reading a series of characters grouped together to form ideas and thoughts which mean completely nothing to you.
Understanding what you are reading is the first step towards improving your reading comprehension. And don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time, you can always reread a text as many times as you want until you can grasp the general gist of the story or text you are reading.
If you have already reread the text a couple of times and are still clueless or have trouble understanding the plot or message, then you might want to try asking yourself the 5 W’s and 1 H questions. These questions stand for who, where, when, what, why, and how.
The who question answers who the main and supporting characters are in a story, or to whom the text is aimed at. Where and when give light to a setting of a story: where refers to the place where it all happened and when refers to the time in which the story took place.
The what question answers what the main problem or hurdle of the story is. Why is aimed to answer why the problem took place or what caused the crisis that drives a story forward. And finally, how refers to how the problem was resolved.
Visualization is a unique and interesting method which is not used too often by individuals. If you still have trouble understanding the text even when you have asked the 5 W’s and 1 H questions, then you might want to visualize the events stated in the story or text inside your head.
Visualization allows you to clearly see the happenings of the story as if you were an actual spectator of the scene you have read. You can use this recreate the scenario you have read and apply logic as to why they did certain acts. This will also help you remember the events in the story better as you now have a visual representation of the events that took place in the story.
One of the problems with advanced literature or stories aimed at adults is the excessive use of euphemisms and other figures of speech to hide the true purpose of a line or dialogue. This could be tricky for a person still improving their reading comprehension skills. Try to read in between the lines.
A common hurdle one must face to truly improve their reading comprehension is the lackluster amount of active vocabulary one has. This will often halt their progress towards improving their reading comprehension as some words may tend to leave them in a stump.
However, you can easily overcome this by simply improving and expanding your active vocabulary. Read a few new words every day and try to incorporate them in your daily speech. Improving and expanding your vocabulary will not only let you improve your reading comprehension, but will also open up new doors for when you want to create your own literature as well.
Figures of speech can be found in almost every text except for academic papers. It is important to be familiar and understand each figure of speech’s purpose in order for you to improve your reading comprehension.
You can be really good at identifying the characters, setting, and plot of the story you are reading, but still get the rest wrong due to taking a sarcastic line in the story too literally. This could seriously build up confusion once you encounter even more figures of speech you are not familiar with. So, read up on the figures of speech to make sure you don’t get flabbergasted the next time you encounter another figure of speech.
Another easy way to really wrap your head around the plot of a story and improve your reading comprehension skills is to break the story into bite sized sections. even a long story can be broken down into smaller sections in order for you to absorb the events gradually and not run an entire marathon while reading the text.
Breaking the story into sections will allow you to fully understand the story one event after another as you will have more time to recall the events and understand them. You can also take a breather when you feel like you are getting lost to regain your composure and reread the section you are having trouble with instead of having to reread the entire story.
There will be times when a story will be too advanced and difficult for a novice to understand. And it is not your fault that this these texts are too much for you to absorb. Every story has a different degree of difficulty and finesse that should not be overlooked when choosing a story to read.
You can always start up by reading easier novels with simple expositions like the “Goosebumps” series, which is a horror/mystery series that is really beginner friendly. Then you can start to build your way up by reading stories with more complicated worldbuilding and plot which will give you a tour of the wonders of literature, like J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series.
If you have trouble improving by yourself and want external help to make sure you progress and continuously improve your reading comprehensions skills, then you can always hire a tutor to help you. Although tutors are not originally meant to teach you to be better at reading comprehension, they will be able to teach you figures of speech and other important topics in a story that you may have trouble wrapping you head around.
And what better place to look for a tutor than at Singapore’s leading home and online based tutoring agency: FamilyTutor. FamilyTutor hosts thousands of capable and outstanding private tutors in Singapore who will be able to guide you through the hard times of your academic life.
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