Reading Comprehension

Two of the most common complaints about reading from adult readers are:

1. I don’t read fast enough
2. My reading comprehension and retention are poor.

There are many possible ways of improving the situation. Often though, both of these problems can be attributable to poor fundamental reading skills such as:

weak vocabulary. If you don’t have a strong vocabulary and are having to frequently pause to look up words in the dictionary or to guess at their meaning based on word roots or context, this can both slow your reading speed and distract you from extracting and retaining meaning from your reading. There are many ways to build your vocabulary but using this vocabulary building site is a fun and easy one.

poor reading comprehension skills. While we don’t usually think of reading comprehension as a skill, it is usually a skill that has to be honed and developed. Building reading comprehension skills means shifting from being a passive decoder of text to an active reader who is self-monitoring understadning in an ongoing process by asking a series of questions of oneself as one reads. Skilled readers, for instance, (quoted from Time4Learning’s explanation of the Reading Skills Pyramid):

  1. Predict what will happen next in a story using clues presented in text
  2. Create questions about the main idea, message, or plot of the text
  3. Monitor understanding of the sequence, context, or characters
  4. Clarify parts of the text which have confused them
  5. Connect the events in the text to prior knowledge or experience
  6. There are a great number of other explanations of potential ways to improve speed and comprehension and a number of root causes such as weak phonics skills, poor reading fluency, issues of vision,poor concentration, or different approaches to looking at the page..

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