When you go to college, you have to spend a lot of time reading and studying on your own. Being able to read effectively is crucial for your independent learning. However, reading effectively is never an easy task for any student, especially if English is not your first language. You need to try hard and learn about some effective ways to help you read better.
In case you want to improve your reading skills, here are a few tips for you to improve your reading skills.
First, here are a few signs to let you know that you need to improve on your reading skills:
- You say the words out loud when you read.
- When you encounter an unfamiliar word, you slow down and find it hard to comprehend the reading materials.
- You tend to read every single word.
- You re-read for a lot of times in order to understand the context.
- You read a lot but you don’t actually understand what you have read.
Now let’s look at some of the tips to help you improve your reading skills
1. Make Sure You Are 100 % Focus On Your Reading
The most important thing you should do in order to enhance your reading skills is to make sure you pay 100 % attention to your reading. Here are a few things that you need to do:
- Make sure that you read in a suitable environment. You should choose a place of which there are a few to none interruptions. There is no TV or laptop. If you can’t focus on your reading at home, you can go to the library instead.
- You don’t need to put your smartphone away but remember to put it on silent mode.
- Make sure there is also no noise as well.
- Where you read needs to have good lighting to prevent putting a lot of pressure on your eyes.
- Get everything ready by your side before you start reading. Prepare some notes, pens, pencils, and a highlighter. Also, prepare a dictionary and a bottle of water. I also prepare some sorts of sweet snacks to reward myself after I finish reading a certain part.
- Decide the best time for reading. If you think that you can be totally focused in the morning, you should choose to read in the morning.
2. Highlight Keywords And Make Notes
When you are reading, have a highlighter to underline all of the keywords and critical information. You should also pay attention to the words which are in bold or italics in the text. If you see some words which are repeated several times in the text, you can conclude that these words are important as well. These words are undoubtedly the most important words to help you understand the meaning of the text.
Making notes while you are reading can help to boost your reading comprehension significantly. Write down all of the things that you remember after reading a few parts of the text. Make a few bullet points or write notes in any note-taking method that you prefer.
It is also helpful for your reading if you spend time after you read to write a critical summary about the information on the text, the target audience of the text and the main points of the text that you have just read.
Not only do these notes help you to understand the text that you have read better, they are the valuable materials for you to use when you review for your exams.
3. Be Critical While And After You Read
While you read, don’t just be passive and read what are on the paper. You need to ask yourself several questions to help you break down the meaning of the text. There are some questions like: “What is the text about”, “Does it contain any surprise or new information” or “Do you agree with the statements in the text”.
Finally, you should spend some time to sum up and think about what you have read. After you read, browse the text you have read (you don’t have to reread it). Then summarize the text into a few sentences and write them down in the note. Write down any question that you have after reading as well.
4. Try To Improve Your Fluency
The fluency refers to how smooth you can read your text. The more fluent you are at reading, the more materials you can read. Here are a few things you can do to improve your fluency:
- Try your best not to reread every single sentence, unless it is necessary.
- Don’t read every single word and say it out loud. You should learn to read the whole phrase.
- In case you stumble upon a word that you don’t know, you can ignore it. In fact, you don’t need to understand all the words in the text to fully understand it. However, if the word is critical for your understanding of the whole text, you can have a quick look at the dictionary.
There are other things you can do to improve your reading skills as well. You should make reading one of your habits that you do every day. Find some topics that you love to read so that you can engage in reading more. In addition, you should try to read different kinds of texts to improve your fluency. Not only should you read the materials from your reading list you should also read other stuff as well. Reading a wide range of topics from many different sources can help you to build up more new words.
Improving your reading skills will surely take you a lot of time and patience. Still, you would be surprised by how much your improved reading skills can help you. You will be able to read more and understand more about what you have read. As a result, your grades will surely be enhanced. I hope that with all the tips above, you would be able to improve your reading skills as well as starting to enjoy reading more.