Do you love to read? Do you sit in school anxiously waiting for the opportunity to dive into a good book as soon as the bell rings? If this does not describe you, then you might benefit from gaining some great reading strategies. Readers who read well often like to read too. And since reading is so important for school, college testing, and many careers, it’s a good idea to develop those skills now. What does a good reader do?
- Location: A good reader picks quiet, well-lit, and semi-comfortable places to read. A struggling reader should reduce distractions as well as the opportunity to fall asleep. A desk or table is a good spot especially for academic reading tasks.
- Predict: Figure out the text features such as headers, maps, charts, paragraph length, etc… to discover what you are about to read. Then for a fiction book predict the plot or character development. For a nonfiction book, such as a history text, guess what the author’s main points and purpose for writing will be. Continue to predict what will come next as you read.
- Read Actively: As you read, mark the text, take notes, or make charts or grids to make better sense of what you are reading. Putting the ideas in a new form or calling attention to key points will help you better remember what you read. Just use a method consistently to make it easier to follow.
- Summarize: Stop frequently as you read and review what you just covered. This helps to solidify your understanding of the text. You can choose to take notes as you summarize if you often lose track of what the text is about. If you have discussion questions along with the reading, preview them before you read and answer them as you go along.
- Ask questions: Great readers ask questions about the text as they read. Ask questions to clarify what you are reading and look for deeper meaning. You can ask, “What is the author trying to say about people, culture, life, peace, conflict, etc…?”
- Discuss the reading: You will probably understand the reading better after you talk about it with your class, teacher, a parent, or a friend. If the person you talk with has not read it, you can summarize what it’s about. Asking open ended questions like “Does this apply to life today?” can stimulate good critical thinking.
- Read: Of course one of the best ways to get better at the skill of reading is to spend time reading. In your free time, pick up a book you’ll really enjoy from a romance, a mystery, to a graphic novel. Find something that you love.
When you consistently practice your reading skills, you get better at each of the above skills. Watch and listen to good readers. Ask for help in improving your reading skills so that it becomes an asset to you. For college admission advice and help, ask Empowerly.