By Indeed Editorial Team
Comprehension is an important aspect of reading. When you read, strive to understand and extract meaning for better overall awareness of what you are reading. By learning and implementing reading strategies and changing how you read, you can improve your reading comprehension abilities and make reading easier and more enjoyable.
In this article, we will explore what reading comprehension is and the best strategies you can use to advance your reading skills.
What is reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the ability to comprehend or understand, what you are reading. This is an intentional and active part of reading and takes place before, during and after you read something. By being able to comprehend what you are reading, you can extract meaning from the text and better realize what the author is trying to convey.
There are two components of reading comprehension: text comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. Vocabulary knowledge is the ability to understand the language being used, while text comprehension is using this language to develop an awareness of what the meaning is behind the text.
Why are reading comprehension skills important?
Reading comprehension is important for several reasons and can provide many benefits. Being able to effectively read can improve both your personal and professional life and can increase your overall enjoyment of reading. Knowing how to understand a text can help boost your knowledge in certain areas and help you learn new skills and information faster.
Additional benefits of good reading comprehension skills include:
- Being able to understand, analyze and respond to documents and written communication in the workplace
- Improved your ability to write clearly and effectively
- The ability to comprehend and engage in current events that are in written form such as newspapers
- Increased ability to focus on reading for an extended period
- Better enjoyment of and motivation to read
7 strategies to improve your reading comprehension skills
There are several reading strategies that you can begin implementing today to improve your reading comprehension skills. The more you practice, the better you will become at understanding what you are reading. The following are seven simple strategies you can use to work on your comprehension skills:
1. Improve your vocabulary
Knowing what the words you are reading mean can improve your ability to comprehend the meaning of the text. To improve your vocabulary, you can:
- Take an online vocabulary quiz to assess your current level of vocabulary understanding
- Use flashcards to quiz yourself on words you don’t know once or twice a week
- Make a point to use newly learned words in verbal and written communication
- Read as much as possible to improve your ability to guess what a word means in a certain context
- Make a list of unfamiliar words as you read and look them up in the dictionary
2. Come up with questions about the text you are reading
Asking questions about what you are reading can help improve your reading comprehension by allowing you to become invested in the text. It can also broaden your overall understanding of what you are reading by enabling you to explore themes, motifs and other components of text that you otherwise wouldn’t inquire about. The following are examples of questions you could pose as you read:
- Why did the author begin the book at that location?
- What kind of relationship do these two characters share?
- What do we know about the main character up to this point in the book?
- Are there any themes that have consistently come up throughout the book? If so, what do they mean?
The more specific your questions, the more likely you will gain further insight into the text and its meaning.
3. Use context clues
Using context clues is a great way to understand what you are reading even if you don’t know all the vocabulary being used. Context clues can be found in the words and sentences surrounding the word that you aren’t familiar with. To use context clues, you can focus on the key phrases or ideas in a sentence and deduce the main idea of a sentence or paragraph based on this information. You can also look for nearby words that are synonyms or antonyms of the word you don’t know.