So I was reading this book “How to read a book” which made me realize how important it is to improve our reading skills and the various benefits that come along with it. But before we get into how to improve reading skills we must know why is reading important.According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life.”
Reading helps to make your brain smarter and can actually increase your brain power. As we age there is a decline in memory and brain power but regular reading may help slow the process thus keeping your brain active and healthy. It is a very critical skill which many take for granted and suffer later especially in the case of students.Here are tips on how to improve reading skills:
How to improve reading skills
- START EARLY
Students procrastinate on reading just like they procrastinate on exams which only pulls them backward. .Remember the first time you tied your laces? It was difficult, right? But is it now? NO. Consistency is the key. Make sure you set aside some time for reading daily; just half an hour won’t be difficult in the beginning right?
- START WITH EASY ARTICLES AND TAKE YOUR TIME
If you are a beginner begin with easy articles/novels of your area of interest otherwise the chances of getting frustrated and giving up early are very high. Don’t be in a hurry and read with interest. After you develop a good reading habit and interest move to tougher text/books.
- DO ACTIVE READING
Ever found yourself rereading the same Para again and again because you couldn’t concentrate? This is passive reading. Active reading means that you read with full concentration. It’s fine if you find an article boring or difficult but don’t let your mind wander. If you still think it wanders then try the Pomodoro technique. Set the timer for 25 minutes and read then take a 5-minute break and repeat. It will be difficult in the beginning because you are used to getting distracted but with a few days efforts, things will get simpler.
- ASK QUESTIONS TO YOURSELF BEFORE YOU BEGIN AND AFTER YOU END
This is a very important step as it makes sure that you are reading actively and not passively.
Following questions may help:
- What is the passage about?
- What is the author trying to say? OR What is the motive of the author?
- The main idea of the passage?
- What examples support his point of view?
All these questions will help to comprehend the passage better.
- DO NOT LOOK UP MEANINGS OF THE WORDS IMMEDIATELY
If you come across an unknown word, first try to interpret the meaning by rereading the same sentence. This will help you in interpreting the meaning of the word according to the context of the passage. Only after you have tried to interpret the meaning on your own use the dictionary for help.
- KEEP A NOTEBOOK / NOTEPAD
Note down the new words, contextual meaning (which you have interpreted) and meaning from the dictionary. This was advised by one of my seniors who had a very good command of English.
Also, note down the important quotes or famous lines as they will come handy. So note down new words, idioms, proverbs, and quotes.
- READ A LOT
This is one of the most common advice I have heard from everyone who had a good command of English. Their secret: I read a lot / I am a voracious reader / I read all types of articles and books. So no shortcut here.
- USE YOUR IMAGINATION
I remember when I used to read Harry Potter and imagine myself at Hogwarts: D and as Sherlock Holmes while reading Sherlock Holmes. Using your imagination not only helps you to understand things better but also retain things for a longer time. It also makes reading enjoyable.
- IMPORTANCE OF HIGHLIGHTING AND MARKING
Don’t forget to highlight/ mark the important points or paragraph of text which contains information you want to remember for a long time. Write important questions/concepts related to the text in the margin.
- MAKE A SUMMARY
A summary is a brief statement or account of the main points of something .This is the last step to sum up everything you have read so far. It helps you to organize thoughts in your mind which in turn makes you understand things clearly and also helps you to retain them for a longer time. It also demonstrates that you clearly understand a text and can convey your understanding to others.
So these were the most important tips on how to improve reading skills.If you follow the above few points while reading an article or a book you will see improvements in your reading skills over a period of time. Remember consistency is the key so don’t give up in between and be open to all kinds of reading materials if you really want to improve your reading skills. Sticking to one style is fine if you are the beginner but as you get comfortable with reading expand your comfort zone to other areas as well.
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