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Reading Comprehension Strategies
Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension refers to understanding the information that has been read. This involves thinking critically and being able to use context for essay writing clues to understand the text. Comprehension strategies challenge the reader to stop, think and analyze the information that was read. There are several strategies that can improve your reading comprehension skills. This article will highlight the following reading comprehension strategies: making connections, visualizing, asking questions, and inferencing.

Why is it important to make connections?

Making connections while reading allows students to personalize information which in turn builds a connection with the text. It is important to make connections while reading. There are three types of connections that we make when reading: Text-to-Self, Text-to-Text, and Text-to-World. Text-to-Self refers to connections made by the reader to their personal life's experiences. Text-to-Text refers to connections between the current text that you are reading to texts that you have read in the past. Text-to-World refers to connections between the current story and the real world.

Why is it important to visualize?

While reading, good readers create a movie or picture in their heads. This movie or picture that is created is referred to as the visualizing technique. This strategy allows readers to connect with the setting, characters, and events in the story. Visualizing the story enables readers to engage and personalize the text so they can remember and understand what is being read.

Why is it important to ask questions?

Asking questions allows readers to clarify and further deepen their understanding of what is being read. Questioning should occur before, during and after reading. There are a variety of questioning techniques that can be used: questions that can be answered directly within the text, questions that make students think and search for the answers, questions that require both background knowledge and information from the text in order to be answered and questions that can be answered based on student's prior knowledge and experiences. Generating questions before, during and after reading indicate whether the students understand what they are reading.

Why is it important to make inferences?

Inferencing or "reading between the lines" involves making predictions based on context and picture clues. Inferencing includes drawing conclusions and finding meanings of unknown words. Good readers use inferencing strategies before, during, and after reading. Inferencing strategies encourage active reading and keep students involved and interested in the text.

Comprehension is a complicated process. Reading without comprehending is not considered reading. The above reading comprehension strategies encourage students to be purposeful and active readers. These strategies help students personalize information and understand the text. Good readers incorporate comprehension strategies while reading.

Reading Comprehension Checklist: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself While Reading

1. What prior knowledge do I have on the subject?

Think back to your lectures in the classroom. What do you already know about the subject matter? If it is a work of fiction, what do you know about the author's life and the time period he or she grew up in that could have inspired the creation of this work? What do you know about the time period in which the plot takes place? Making connections between new concepts and existing knowledge is a highly effective way of understanding and retaining information - keep this in mind as you continue your readings.

2. What do I need to know?

This is a particularly important question to consider when studying for exams or preparing to write a term paper. However, before you begin your readings for the day (or week), refer back to the notes you took in a lecture or the directions your teacher provided for writing your paper. From there, look for keywords that enable you to connect back to your prior knowledge, and make note of them. For students reading literature for English class, it is important that you pay attention to specific themes your teacher has mentioned in the author's work. This can clue you in to be on the lookout for symbolism, which contains key clues about the work's overall meaning. All in all, pay very close attention to the author's words and link them back to your directions on what you need to know in order to succeed in the course.

3. What is the author's main point?

If you are reading an academic journal as a source for a paper or a class discussion, this is the most crucial question to ask yourself. Understanding the main idea that the author is trying to convey can enable you to better understand what is being taught in your lectures. Thus, it continues the process of connecting and reconnecting concepts, continuously building up an understanding of the course itself. If it is a work of fiction in a literature class, ask yourself about the main events that have occurred in the novel or short story and how they resonate with the overall theme of the author's work.

4. Where is the author coming from?

While reading a work, whether it's a piece of literature or a scholarly article, it is important to know where the author was coming from when he or she was writing. In the case of the academic journal, consider the sources he or she used in the research to justify (or disprove) a point he or she has chosen to identify. In literary works, you should ask yourself about the circumstances surrounding the author's life (as well as significant events that took place in history and current literary trends at the time it was written) that led him or her to produce the text you're studying. While it is not totally necessary to completely agree or disagree with the author, being aware of the circumstances under which the piece was written can be especially crucial in determining how a piece should be read and understood.

5. What have I learned?

Reflecting back on a piece you've just read is an excellent method of testing out your comprehension. Perhaps the best way to do so is to take notes while you read and then read them back to yourself. This way, you can help re-emphasize concepts, as well as pick up on some that you might have missed in your initial reading. Highlighting and marking pages with sticky notes can enable you to go back to a passage that was crucial in your reading to remember it at a later time. Doing so can help you write sharper papers and secure yourself a respected place in class discussions.

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