Improve Reading Comprehension

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are multiple reasons to improve reading comprehension, just as there are numerous ways of doing so. Unfortunately, most people never learn to adapt their reading style to different purposes. As children, we're taught to read and process every word on the page, lest we should miss something important along the way. The problem is, you don't read a magazine article the same way you read a business contract.

Ah, you say, but I want to take my time with that magazine story and really savor it. Fair enough; there are plenty of occasions when reading deliberately and "chewing" over the text is called for. War and Peace was never meant to be skimmed. Neither was your lease agreement. However, think of the time you could save if you tore through that same magazine article you formerly put aside to savor.

Practical Tips To Improve Reading Comprehension

Experts agree that merely reading faster is no way to improve reading comprehension. That only results in understanding even less at a more rapid pace, which gets you nowhere. Instead, you must read with intention; that is, you must set out to read with a clear purpose in mind. If, for example, you're reading for quick information, you must stick to that purpose and not lapse into "pleasure" reading

Are you aiming to cover the broad strokes of a manual or pamphlet? If so, scouring the page for main ideas, which are typically at the beginning of each paragraph, is most useful. The same holds for news articles, which use the famous "inverted triangle" structure that starts with the most important information and gradually narrows from there. Hence, to improve reading comprehension, you must not only know what you want out of your book, magazine, manual, e-mail, or letter, you must also understand the basic structural elements of the type of document you're reading.


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